Local News

Service with a smile

December 2 - 8, 2020

Gulf Weekly Mai Al Khatib-Camille
By Mai Al Khatib-Camille

Gulf Weekly Service with a smile

A caring couple have spent the past four years bringing smiles to the faces of children across India with the aim of helping them to build a better tomorrow by supporting their education.

Food blogger Sukanya Saha aka @entreetodessert.bh and her husband Satyajit Mishra started their own, personal initiative called Spreading Smiles in 2016 to support NGOs in India with whatever they needed.

“Spreading Smiles started by raising funds through crowd-funding to arrange gift bags filled with stationery, snacks, juices and toys for underprivileged children,” said Sukanya, 26, a senior consultant in transactions and strategy, who lives in Juffair.

“As we gained knowledge and expertise from our respective careers and professions, we wanted to do more.”

The dynamic duo decided to offer their consulting services for free to help support children being cared for by different NGOs.

“We believe that education must be an equal opportunity for all and education is the best way out of poverty,” explained Satyajit, 27, a research manager.

“We started working with different NGOs in India that focus on education of underprivileged children.

“They have an incredible vision and mission but often fall short of the expertise and necessary skills to run day-to-day operations and achieve scalability.

“Our aim is to help these NGOs reach their full potential by providing them with our consulting services, pro-bono.”

The help they extend includes mentorship, assisting in fundraising, developing awareness campaigns and creating long-term strategic plans for their sustainability.

They are currently working with Fulora Foundation, which is one of Mumbai’s largest private relief and development organisations, founded in 1984 and registered as a Public Charitable Trust in 1996. 

It was established by Arun Sabnis, the chairman and managing director of an advertising agency, along with eminent educationist and former vice-chancellor of Mumbai University, the late professor Ram Joshi.

The foundation has become a leader in sustainable development and emergency aid, reaching tens of millions of people each year in more than 60 places in Maharashtra. For more than seven years now, it has been a vehicle of Mumbai’s generosity towards society.

“We support them because we are incredibly proud of the work that they do and the efforts that they put in,” added Sukanya.

“Fulora Foundation educates 5,000 homeless children in Mumbai across 151 traffic junctions. The NGO has vehicles equipped with computers. They stop at each traffic signal and around 30 to 35 children gather around the vehicle to learn English, mathematics and computer skills.

“In addition to this, they hold arts and crafts as well as musical activities for the children to be engaged in.

“We are working with them on a long-term basis to help develop their awareness campaigns, a fundraising strategy and develop sustainable education programmes to educate the homeless children.”

The pair also hope that others in Bahrain will be encouraged to follow in the footsteps. “The Covid-19 pandemic has affected NGOs globally,” said Satyajit. “Many are not receiving the same amount of corporate and individual donations as they used to before.

“If you know any NGO in Bahrain or elsewhere that needs support, we request you to support them in whatever way that you can. A lot of times we think that our donation is ‘too little’ to donate, but honestly, every small contribution goes a very long way for those in need.

“Also, we want Spreading Smiles to evolve with more volunteers extending support to our cause.

“We also want to extend our reach from India to Bahrain. If there is any NGO in Bahrain who would like to get in touch with us for our help or to be added to our mailing list, please feel free to email us.

“We circulate different NGO fundraiser details where you can directly contribute to the NGO. Please note, we do not collect any money on behalf of any NGO.”

To be added to the mailing list or request support, email spreadingsmilestrust@gmail.com.

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