I am Smita Ajay Shivtarkar. For the last three years, I have been working as a teacher at Balwadi No. 07, Marol Pipeline, Andheri (East). I live in the same area along with my husband, two daughters and a son.
I have always been interested in social work. I thank Mumbai Smiles that as they have helped me join the Balwadi as a teacher. At the beginning, the Balwadi was run from my house. Later, it was shifted to a separate room.
Mumbai Smiles organizes regular workshops, training sessions and excursions for the teaching staff. During these, we have learned to handle children, their health, vaccinations, counseling parents about the importance of education, how to reduce the rate of dropouts and more. There have also been English-speaking courses for the teachers.
I feel really proud and happy when people address me as ‘Teacher’ whenever I walk on the streets.
In the first two years, we had to make a lot of effort to get students for the Balwadis. We used to visit all the houses and request parents to send their children to school. But nowadays Mumbai Smiles’ Balwadis are so popular that parents automatically register their children’s name for the forthcoming academic year.
Only after becoming a teacher did I realize the value of education. I am very happy to say that my daughter appeared for Std. X exam last year while I passed my Std. XII exams at this age. I have to thank Mumbai Smiles for my progress and success as a Balwadi teacher.