With the onset of the new year, we are proud to launch our new Strategic Plan, for the years 2016-2020. It is already in implementation stage and today we would like to present it to you, our dear readers. For this purpose, today we have a special letter for you, from our Founder and President, Mr. Jaume Sanllorente:
Although we have been working on it for some months now, we are delighted today to present the Strategic Plan 2016-2020 of Mumbai Smiles.
I look back and realise that without all your support in joining my path, the many dreams of a boy who came to Mumbai by chance, would never have been possible. Having served more than ten years after the creation of this entity, and having completed the implementation of the first Strategic Plan Mumbai Smiles is now focused on planning its next five years of intervention in the slum communities where it works. This is the second strategic plan of the organization. A start of renewed enthusiasm and the desire to continue innovating in reaching our mission to transform the social reality of Mumbai ensuring Human Rights and promising a decent life for the slum communities, the most disadvantaged in this city. Our vision is to see, one day, a Mumbai free from poverty and social injustice, where all its citizens are alike and have their Rights guaranteed.
Bombay, a huge city and the financial hub of India, today faces challenges of grave inequalities and injustices. Many of its citizens live exposed to poverty, insecurity, lack of education, breach of the most basic Human Rights, inadequate housing and essential supplies, devoid of decent living opportunities, thereby unable to break the vicious circle of poverty in the fate of their families. Many children are exploited by mafias for all kinds of illegal work, ranging from begging to prostitution; and millions of people are exposed to the tremendous consequences of this scourge called poverty. Your tremendous support, enthusiasm and hope that we keep moving, together with the strength and conviction to see that these challenges are met with, during recent years is what drives us to continue our work in the communities. Thanks to you, we have developed several projects in the areas of education, health and socio-economic development. We have seen, with great joy, as children who were living on the streets of Mumbai or were victims of some form of exploitation, are now happy graduate and undergraduate students, many of them already with jobs and promising careers. We are happy to see that the women in communities, some of whom were previously subjected to isolation and violence, have been liberated and have given themselves the vent to their great talents, opening small businesses or getting a decent job, allowing their families to come out of poverty. Together, we have happily witnessed the fortunate healing of many children with cancer, patients with leprosy completely rehabilitated, successful cataract operations enabling improved eye sight and thousands of people reached out to for various infectious diseases.
While we continue our journey, witnessing positive changes, certainly because of your support, we wish to continue to achieve, together with you, so that every day, more and more citizens of Mumbai can manage to escape their destiny without hope and move on to live a dignified life with a promising future.
When I look ahead, I see many more children in school, teenagers coming back to their higher studies, empowered women who are confident enough to take ownership of community projects and many patients having access to treatments for all kinds of diseases. I see a community excited, empowered, and aware of the Rights that belong to them. I see a better Mumbai, where many of the dreams can become realities and I feel privileged to have you to continue along with us on this path!
We started the process of creating this Strategic Plan almost a year ago, involving all the citizens of the communities (we work with them not for them), our team, partners, associated corporates and members of the governing bodies. We are convinced to have created a need based Strategic Plan that still has the same spirit with which this entity was born. You will see, in this Strategic Plan that we present today, and you can read in the following link on our website (Strategic Plan 2016-2020) how, while continuing with much of the currently existing projects, we have added two new goals that fill us with hope. The first, “Jump2Justice” project, which focuses on reminding citizens of Mumbai with whom we work, have rights that the Indian Government should fulfill. Not surprisingly, India has ratified many international treaties which should guarantee its citizens Rights which, in practice and in many cases, are non-existent. Nothing better than to bring to them the knowledge of “what”, by law, which is made for them. The second, the socioeconomic development projects that are being developed into sustainable social enterprises so that communities can be fully self-sufficient, creating value as human capital. I wish I could divulge more details about this project now, but I reserve the surprise for another occasion, in which you will be the first to know. Because this is happening, all thanks to you and your support, which you offer every day and walk along with us on this path, which is not always easy, but which leads to a better world.
We have seen together as many dreams were fulfilled and became palpable and hopeful realities. We invite you to keep dreaming with us. Because among all, through perseverance and action, we will achieve wonderful realities in this city of India from which I write.
Mumbai, December 2016
Founder & President, Jaume Sanllorente with Executive Director India, Alpa Chauhan, launching the Strategic Plan