Ahmedabad: SMILE (Student Mediated Initiative for Learning to Excel), an IIMA community outreach project supported by WaghBakri Group and AMC, was inaugurated today, in the space under the GyanshaktiMarg flyover.
The Center was inaugurated by Mr. Piyush Desai, Chairman, WaghBakri Group in presence ofProfessor Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA; Professor RakeshBasant, Dean (A&ER) and Faculty coordinator, SMILE; Prof. Anil Gupta, Professor, IIMA; SMILE children, SMILE teachers, distinguished guests from a WaghBakri, IIMA faculty members, and IIMA students were present at the event.
Professor Ashish Nanda observed, “SMILE is a partnership in which AMC has contributed this space, IIMA students and faculty are giving their time, and WaghBakri Group has provided financial support and guidance for the project. All the partners are enthusiastic, because we all believe we will benefit from this shared engagement. We hope the community will benefit from the initiative as well.”
ShriPiyush Desai, Chairman, WaghBakri Group added, “We, at WaghBakri Group, thought of paying quick attention to this basic need that 100% children should at least read and write so those who are deprived of basic education make their own future with their common sense and entrepreneurial nature. With this vision, I suggested to board members of WaghBakri group to gift the SMILE project and partner with IIM-A as part of our Corporate Social Responsibility. We are grateful to AMC for making available municipal property for use of this school. Though a year ago, it was very difficult for the underprivileged children to join, as parents were reluctant to send them. Now, we are happy to share that more than 60 students have started coming and the project is on track. I believe, with the active support and inputs by professors of IIM- A and their staff and students, SMILE has come into existence in a very short span of time.,” said Mr. Piyush Desai, Chairman, WaghBakri Tea Group.
The initiative provides education to underprivileged children. As of now, 89 students of class 8th, 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th (Commerce and Arts) from urban slums of Ranujanagar, Ramdevnagar, Jodhpur Gam,Thaltej, and Vastrapur Gam are enrolled for the academic year 2016-17. The class strength consists of 54 boys and 35 girls, who engage in academic learning for three sessions in a day. The initiative expects significantly larger of students at the center as enrolments pick up.
Professor RakeshBasant, Dean (Alumni & External Relations) and Faculty coordinator, SMILE project said, “We are excited about SMILE and hope that it will provide a window to significant community outreach by IIMA students and other constituents on the IIMA campus”.
Seven faculty members, three research associates, and 38 students of IIMA,along with one full time teacher and part time teacher, are actively involved with the SMILE initiative.
At the Smile Center Inaugural Prof. RakeshBasant, Dean, A&ER, IIMA; ShriPiyush Desai, Chairperson, WaghBakri Tea Group; Prof. Ashish Nanda, Director, IIMA and Prof. Anil Gupta, Professor, IIMA.