It’s always a lovely feeling when people from different countries and cultures show an interest in the work of Mumbai Smiles. Their enthusiasm and dedication is contagious and forever welcomed. One such visit took place on the 11th and 12th of August. Rosa Balanzo, an extremely dedicated volunteer in Spain for the past few years decided to visit the projects of Mumbai Smiles with her four very close friends—Maria Josefa, Maria Jose, Maria Querol and Elena de la Puente.
Rosa, who is now almost 70 years of age started her volunteering work post her retirement at Sonrisas de Bombay, Spain. Apart from being a donor herself, she’s also zealous in convincing others to become donors for the organization. With devotion unmatched, Rosa works closely with the Membership and Volunteer Department in Spain. With this visit to Mumbai Smiles she aimed to gain a better understanding of the projects which would in turn help her in her volunteer work in Spain.
So off they were, these five charming ladies, to get firsthand information about the projects. Over a period of two days, they visited the Balwadis, HOPE, SEED and Future Smiles projects. It was very important for Rosa to know the workings of the organization and how the projects run on the field because of her association with the organization in Spain.
On the 11th the group visited the Blawadis followed by a visit to the Holy Spirit Hospital to acknowledge the project HOPE. Post this; they visited the SEED Tailoring and Crafts Center to witness the women working on the products for the online shop. The next day, 12th, off they were to Yashodhan School where they interacted with children, teachers and the principal of the school. This allowed them to understand the work that was carried out in the school for the past few years by Mumbai Smiles. The discipline among the children, the values inculcated in them from an early age which reflected in their behavior and desire among the students to learn and participate left them enchanted.
Each project gave them a memory and they had a very special time. For instance, at the Balwadis they saw the kids learn and were left highly impressed with the Balwadis level of framework. Joining in the fervor and excitement around, they also sang Spanish nursery rhymes for the kids. In the HOPE project, they learned how the project was holistic and impactful in nature.
The outcome of this visit proved extremely fruitful—they were impressed by the impact of the projects in the lives of many, those who weren’t volunteers or members became one and lastly, this rendezvous left a passion in their hearts in wanting to spread the word about Mumbai Smiles wherever they go.
Here’s a beautiful message they shared with us before departing, “We would like to thank everyone who works in this wonderful project which reaches out to all those who really need it. Education and values are the pillars of coexistence. Congratulations for your work and thank you very much.”