Sonali – One more reason to be proud of!

 In COVID-19, Life Skills Empowerment, Mumbai Smiles

Sonali was born in Mumbai 25 years ago, and until her second birthday she lived with her parents and her two brothers. But they were in a very precarious situation, and with the objective that their children would get the best possible care, Sonali’s parents made the difficult decision to send her to live with her aunt, who had not had children.

Therefore, Sonali started a new life in Chiplun, away from her family. She had a fairly happy childhood, her aunt took care of her and was able to study until high school, but before she turned 18, her aunt fell ill and hence, Sonali had to drop out of school to be with her. A few months later and after the demise of the person who had cared for her for so many years, Sonali returned with her parents and her brothers to Mumbai.

Sonali with her LSE Batch

It was a very tough time for Sonali. She was very sad, she was always looking for solitude and did not want to talk to anyone. Our colleague Prafullata, incharge of the “Life Skills Empowerment” (LSE) project for young people, which offers them the maximum tools and knowledge to live a full life and with opportunities for the future, met her family in one of the days dedicated to visit the areas where we work, to monitor the situation of the families, and to establish new relationships. After learning about Sonali’s situation, Prafullata explained to her and her mother the type of activities that we carried out at LSE. And a few days later, her mother decided to enrol her.

In the beginning she was a very quiet and introvert young girl. But after several sessions she began to open up. She participated in sports and activities. And slowly the results of the personality development sessions were seen, and the work to strengthen trust and communication. After a few weeks, Sonali expressed her feelings to Prafullata and told her that she was angry with her parents for sending her to her aunt when she was little and not to her brother. Despite having a good relation with her aunt, it caused her a lot of pain. From that moment on, Prafullata organized several sessions with Sonali and her family, and eventually all the problems and miscommunication were resolved and finally, she felt comfortable with her family.

In LSE, other types of activities were also organized: visits to institutions such as the police, the bank, the post office, or hospitals so that the boys and girls know the resources available to them. During one of the visits to hospital Sonali decided that she would be a nurse. In June 2016, she began taking nursing and computer science courses. She completed her studies at the “Expert Institute of Andheri” and did her internship at the Rachna Hospital of Andheri and began working at the Rubi Hospital of Bhandup. This is how Sonali made her professional dream come true, and she began to help her family financially.

Sonali at Sion Hospital

In these years, she met her true love. In 2020 Sonali got married, and continued working with her husband. Together they have managed to buy a small apartment, which they love. For their housewarming celebration she invited Prafullata because it was indeed a very special day for her!

In 2020 the COVID-19 pandemic also arrived, and at this difficult time for everyone, Sonali got a job at Sion Hospital, one of the hospitals with whom Mumbai Smiles is collaborated, for purchasing essential materials to be able to attend those people who are admitted during the second wave of the pandemic, which is affecting the country so hard, and to save life. We feel so proud, knowing that the team has this wonderful person, a brave young woman who has not given up at any time and who has managed to get ahead, and for being confident to spread this energy to all the people she is attending during these very hard times.

Thank you Sonali, you are purely an inspiration!


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