It’s whenever you most likely don’t. This was the case for Subhash as well as Komal Udhwani that stumbled across it seven years ago when they visited an artisan selling panipuri outside the house they live located in Navi Mumbai. After noticing that he was taking his son of eight every day The couple became interested.
The vendor stated that he was unable to go to aside from his own place of business. Komal was then able to decide to take the son of the vendor under her wing and instruct his Maths along with English. She soon realized that many people from her community were fascinated.
After taking on just only one kid, the teacher moved into teaching her entire class. They didn’t take long to created Elysium Smiles (an NGO) with a particular specialization in the education of children who come from marginalized and underprivileged background.
Elysium is a term used to describe the state of extreme happiness. Like its name implies, Elysium Smiles Foundation is formed in order to improve the lives of individuals in order to make the world more enjoyable for all. Its goal is to tackle social issues, particularly those affecting those who are the least fortunate in our society.
The eight-year-old Komal took as her student and went on to complete his 9th grade and join Amazon to work as an delivery associate. For Udhwanis the eureka moment occurred in the year 2017. They decided it was the right the right time to take Elysium Smiles out of the boundaries of their community in Navi Mumbai.
To achieve this they heavily relied on word-of-mouth. This helped them connect with a lot of children in need of assistance. For instance, Shilpa Gayekwad. As a student who was bright, Shilpa was surrounded by terror after she was injured in an accident. After falling into a hot oil pan, Shilpa suffered numerous burns. The scars on her skin shook her confidence since she could not go to school without fearing judgment by other students.
Elysium Smiles helped Shilpa regain some confidence. It quickly intervened and put her in contact with a top surgeon who could assist in performing the corrective procedure for the burn marks on her body. Following this, it aided and helped her pass her board exams for 11th grade as well as get into college. It even secured a place to rent in Mumbai.
Shilpa not the only person Elysium Smiles has helped. The foundation is now catering for the requirements of a huge collection of children of various age groups, starting from the third grade through those who are getting ready for college. The foundation is planning to assist nearly 1,000 of these children in the coming two years.
Identifying the needy
Elysium Smiles learned that word of mouth is only the first step. To reach out to more children as Shilpa, Elysium Smiles also uses government colleges and schools. These institutions are able to connect with the foundation for assistance students with their education. After a request has been made, Elysium Smiles selects a student based on their family’s income or the situation at home. A thorough background check is conducted via field investigations and examining their marksheet from the previous year or medical report to determine the student’s eligibility.
“We are specifically looking to pick the children who are being raised in the lowest social strata. The majority of families have less than the Rs 10,000 monthly income and parents may not have a job, working for very little, or physically challenged , or one parents,” says Subhash.
After being chosen, Elysium will support the student’s education. Since the couple started by sponsoring education with a first investment of one lakh, at present, Elysium Smiles has established an annual expenditure of around 18 lakh to support the students under its supervision. To further help with finances, Elysium Smiles is also funded through Elysium Capital – a firm owned and operated by Subhash.
According Subhash Subhash that the foundation will help further children in the near future The foundation is also planning to work with private firms in order to raise money.
“It does not always end with donations,” says Subhash, “These children are asking you on each and every need. Giving time and attention to every single child is equally crucial,” he adds. In addition to the children in the care of Elysium Smiles, Elysium Smiles often find themselves in a position in which they must change the mindset of parents.
“Beyond providing financial support, we needed to encourage parents to ensure continuity in education. It’s an annual exercise that requires personal involvement, frequent meetings with parents, including teachers, and sometimes threats of denial of grants for other children within the same household,” Subhash explains.
Although the work requires a lot of commitment, for Udhwanis this is the only reason to continue. Elysium Smiles also visits students personally. They go to schools and the tuition centers where the students attend to keep updated on their progress in general. Elysium Smiles has also gone beyond supporting the academic needs of the children who are that are under its care. Recently it has also provided assistance in medical emergencies when children may require. Elysium Smiles has sponsored bills and surgeries for more than 10 families who are in need.