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The Life Skills Empowerment module developed by Mumbai Smiles is a bridge between what we consider formal education and the skills needed to survive in the real world. While both should ideally be imparted within the school curriculum itself, the exciting aspect of the LSE module is that it can reach out and make a difference even to beneficiaries who have completed their schooling.

Sonali Chawan, now 23 years old, completed her schooling up to the 12th standard while living with her aunt in Chiplun. After her aunt passed away, she came to Mumbai where she started living with her parents and two brothers. The change of setting was probably what pushed Sonali into her shell—she was low on confidence and did not interact much with anybody. After our field coordinator reached out to her, Sonali joined the LSE programme in 2015. At first, she was quiet and withdrawn. However, with the passage of time she came out of her shell and began participating in the sessions. Eventually, she even performed in a street play and took part in a dance programme. The LSE programme empowered Sonali with self-confidence—that shy, withdrawn girl now works as a nurse at Rachana Hospital and is helping her family with her earnings. We loved watching Sonali blossom into a confident young woman—we wish her all the best for her future!

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