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The Bhadke family.

In Mumbai Smiles family we have a couple who are contributing through their different skills in different areas of interests. Today, we are going to meet Rupali and Bapu Bhadke.

Rupali is one of our livelihood preschool teachers working with Mumbai Smiles since the last two years and her husband Bapu has been working with us for almost 10 years as a field coordinator.

Rupali was born and raised in the village of Beed district in the state of Maharashtra with her 6 siblings. Apart from being a daily wagers her parents always supported their dreams. She is the only one in their family who completed her graduation in her small village and she came to Mumbai after getting married to Bapu.

Bapu some weeks ago, during the emergency actions.

Bapu, who was born and raised in the Mumbai city could complete his graduation with the support of his joint family but could not secure a promising job before joining Mumbai Smiles. However, he always wanted to work for his society and had also been hoping to find a life partner like Rupali who had the desire to not only develop herself but also contribute towards the betterment of her community.

As a life partner, Rupali adjusted herself very well with Bapu’s joint family and Bapu always encouraged Rupali to complete her education and work as per her interest. During his difficult times Bapu’s family supported him and Rupali never felt injustice being a part of a joint family or an only working woman in her family. It’s now been 19 years that they are successfully married and Bapu is thankful for his wife for always being with him and supporting his family even in the face of adversity.

Rupali’s first introduction to NGO work was in 2006. However, the NGO ran into challenges and had to shut their preschools. Along the same time, Rupali had been thinking of focussing more on the upbringing of their son. So she devoted the next few years to her family till 2018, putting her jobs and desire on the back burner. Later, when their son was big enough to make his own decisions Rupali decided to join Mumbai Smiles. After a series of interviews she joined a preschool teacher in her area.

While talking to her she said, when she was working as a teacher she started getting more respect as an individual. Both Bapu and Rupali are always interested in making good changes in surroundings and therefore they decided to grab the opportunity of participating in ward level elections with the sole aim to better help the community with the additional rights of an elected member. Although she was not elected from her ward, during the Covid-19 lock down, Rupali and Bapu both were taking initiative to get information of government facilities for the needy and used to convey the same to people. They used to visit personally to the shopkeepers to understand government schemes during pandemic and used to see whether the needy have received their entitled benefits.

Rupali is also currently studying in the second year of Law and she wants to use her knowledge for the betterment of the people who have to face injustice.

Rupali with one of her pre-school groups.

Both Rupali and Bapu are thankful to Mumbai Smiles Foundation for their work and they both want to continue working for the underprivileged people. They believe that education and health are the basic areas which need improvement and they also believe that if one wants to change the world he or she should begin it with themselves.

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