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Jobs for a ‘Smile’ on young faces

Jul 11, 2013

Vikram Singh Verma, Chief Operating Officer of Smile Foundation, in an interview to OneWorld South Asia, said that his NGO has helped around 10,000 deprived youth in getting jobs by providing them with placements in various companies.

Smile Foundation

OneWorld South Asia: How does Smile Foundation empower young people?

Vikram Singh Verma: Smile Foundation helps deprived youth of the country in honing their skills for better employment by enhancing their language skills, and helping in their personality development apart from assisting them in brushing up their soft skills.

These basic skills are provided to these students under our livelihood programme, Smile Twin E-learning Programme (STEP) which was started in the year 2006.

Such young people after being equipped with the basic skills are able to earn around Rs 8,000- Rs 15,000 in leading retail and service brands across India including McDonalds, Pizza Hut, and Big Bazar.

OWSA: What kind of initiatives have you taken to address the health needs of children?

Verma: We focus on the health issues of the disadvantaged sections by conducting regular health check-ups and providing them with free medicines through our mobile health service, ‘Smile On Wheels’.

This service is run with the help of mobile hospitals managed by specialists like, doctors, nurses and paramedics.

OWSA: What kind of assistance does your organisation provide to the school drop-outs?

Verma: Our educational initiatives include non formal education for children helps in providing the quality education to poor and underprivileged children.

There is a Bridge Course, which helps to bridge the gap in the education of impoverished children. After addressing these gaps, these students are able to secure admission in mainstream schools using the Right to Education (RTE) act, according to which 25% seats are reserved for poor.

We are carrying these initiatives of educating these children in various states of country including Bihar, Orissa, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand.

OWSA: Do you have any programmes for empowering women?

Verma: We adopt a holistic approach towards women. Therefore, we not only focus on giving jobs to women or on improving the financial situation of young girls, but also work on health related issues, that include, providing them with reproductive and child health services.

OWSA: Tells us about your workshopEmpowering Grassroots’?

Verma: Empowering Grassroots provides training to NGOs for enabling them to be sustainable. It provides them funds till they have funds of their own.

The workshop will also train these NGOs in building capacities to achieve accountability and sustainability. NGOs were also provided tips for improving their communication and branding skills, and on good governance.

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