Socially Minded Indian Leadership-building Education program (SMILE)

International Partner: 

National Partner: Make a Difference, Fr. Agnel High School (Goa)

Year of initiation: 2022

Area of work: Education, Child Development, Leadership, Exposure, Scholarship

Donors: Athena Fund, Mithu Malaney Trust

Fundraising target: (for 2023) 10 lakh INR

Total Funds raised: (2022 to 2023) 3 lakh INR

This project looks to create a group of Young, Socially Minded Leaders who can enable transformation in Communities, Corporates, Governments, and NGOs.

In a recent study of leadership development in Indian nonprofits, 97 per cent of the 203 nonprofit respondents said that leadership development is vital to their organisations’ success. Yet, in comparison to the mushrooming of MBA, Engineering and Medical Institutions (which provide a lucrative income for businesses), investment in Socially Minded Leadership programs remains low.

Both wealthy and middle-class families are happy to pay admission-linked donations,

large fees, and take loans for their children to attend such Professional courses; however, they generally do not encourage them to study and build careers related to social impact.

Developing such leaders will require exposing youth to careers that are alternatives to the conventional and setting up specialised Adult Leadership Training Centres (ALTC) for promising young graduates (>12th standard) from poor (especially rural) backgrounds whose costs are covered through Scholarships.

Key areas of work - 3 programs for impact

  1. Exposure Program

  2. Scholarship Program

  3. Adult Leadership Training Program (ALTP)

Exposure Program

Giving children a chance to make informed decisions

The main objective of the exposure program is to build awareness among children about the varied career opportunities that exist outside of the conventional. Children are also greatly influenced by teachers, and hence, this program will also work towards training the trainer programs that will eventually make it self-sustaining.

We envision this program reaching children in schools across the country. This will allow children to make informed decisions about their higher education.

Scholarship Program

Supporting youth to follow a chosen career

This program would be focused on supporting the student from 11th up to the completion of the Diploma/Bachelors program. As the student is busy with their main studies, this program would augment their education with online support and short programs during vacations. Students will be encouraged to participate in various college and extracurricular activities and will be provided mentorship in leadership roles. Students falling under the category of below poverty will be supported during this program with a special focus on women, SC and ST.

Adult Leadership Training Program

Building Leaders of the Future

As more CSR/Social Investing capital becomes available to the NGO sector, expectations of measurable results and efficient use of resources are putting increased pressure on NGO leadership to up their game. Adapting successful approaches from the for-profit sector can make a big difference. This requires a specialised program to build tomorrow's leaders who can play key roles in NGOs and for-profit social ventures. The proposed 12-month Diploma will be focused on providing both theoretical and mostly practical knowledge in the following areas.


Children in need of care and protection

We have partnered with the Make a Difference (MAD) Foundation. MAD works with 3500 children in need of care and protection (CNCP) in Child Care Institutes in 23 cities. They have designed an engagement program that ensures these children come out of poverty and into the middle class within one generation. This partnership gives us access to a pool of children that will become part of the SMILE program.

(Please request for this program deck if you are interested in further details)

The main goals of this project are:

1) Build Socially minded leaders of the future

2) Provide education to all children/youth

3) Allowing youth the privilege of informed decision-making 

Key Achievements

  • MoU signed with MAD.

  • Scholarship batch of 2022-23 funded.

  • Developing the exposure program and beginning the pilot in schools in Goa.

  • Setting up our internship program, which will be the pilot program for the diploma.

Current status: In Phase I of design and execution