Published: 05th February 2020
This Telangana youth is helping stellar Govt School staff to transform their children's lives
Hyderabad-based 100 Smiles Charity Foundation has taken on the mammoth task of lighting up smiles on the faces of rural children across Telangana and Andhra Pradesh
Smiles are hard to come by for government school students sometimes — especially the ones based out of rural areas. That is precisely why 100 Smiles Charity Foundation was started. To spread more smiles by ensuring that rural students study in an ideal environment and have the basic facilities to do so. And as someone who was born in a village called Cherlapalem in Warangal district of Telangana and pursued his primary education there, Manoj Kumar Chittimalla knows the importance of educating children in the rural areas and started working towards this cause when he established the foundation in 2016.
100 Smiles team with their chief advisor Dr Jaya Prakash Narayan | (Pic: 100 Smiles Charity Foundation)
What started as a cafeteria conversation ended up with Manoj roping in his friends to donate just Rs 100 every month to put a smile on the faces of students in government schools. "The action plan was to find faculty who have been awarded by the government, connect with them and start with their school," explains the 25-year-old. The major problem with rural government schools, points out Manoj, is that there is no ownership. "The people just don't question their local representatives about the state of schools," he says.
Jayaprakash Narayan is the Chief Advisor of this NGO and it was upon his insistence that they took on the task of digitising schools
Hence, they take up one school for a few months, upgrade it with all facilities it might need. While most of the work is done from Hyderabad, where the foundation is based out of, Manoj travels to the designated schools every weekend and works with the locals to accomplish their mission. "Earlier, I used to be scared of approaching schools, today, I can even casually converse with them," shares Manoj, who is responsible for monitoring and execution of projects.
I travel every weekend to coordinate with the schools and meet villagers
Manoj Kumar Chittimalla, Founder, 100 Smiles Charity Foundation | (Pic: 100 Smiles Charity Foundation)
Banking on the passion of these award-winning heads and teachers of the school, the first school they selected was the Upper Primary School Chinnanagaram in Nellikudur, Mahabubabad district in August 2016. With an award-winning headmistress at the helm of things, it cost about Rs 2 lakhs to paint the walls of the school, clean the surroundings, set up a clean water facility and digitise it.
JD Lakshmi Narayana is one of their chief patrons
As far as building ownership goes, we feel they are on the right track when Manoj informs us that at the Zilla Parishad High School, Medipally, they took the initiative of upgrading their existing computer lab, but it was the gram panchayat that pooled in money to pay the salary of the instructor who was employed to work in the lab. "They even keep tabs on him and inquire, from time-to-time, if he is doing his job well," shares Manoj who works as a DevOps Engineer at Genesys Telecom Labs.
Students making the best of the lab | (Pic: 100 Smiles Charity Foundation)
Similarly, they have worked with 25 schools till date. And soon, "We want to bridge the gap between government schools, the government and CSR. While many projects are being funded in the city, the grassroots need it too," he asserts and adds that, "The government, public, public figures — everyone knows education is important, but no one really cares. We want to focus on strengthening the education sector."
Some of the schools they have taken up:
- Upper Primary School, Haripirala: They provided an RO water purifier, set up digital classrooms and provided sports equipment
- Zilla Parishad High School, Parvathagiri: They set up a computer lab, library and a Science lab
- Zilla Parishad High School, Cherlapalem: They distributed shoes and provided unlimited internet connection
- Mandal Parishad Primary School, Malkizguda: Conducted campaigns on the importance of education in the village. Supplied school bags, racks and set up a digital classroom
Their work through pictures
Dr Jaya Prakash Narayan interacting with students at Government High School, Kantayapalem | (Pic: 100 Smiles Charity Foundation)
Students in the digital classroom | (Pic: 100 Smiles Charity Foundation)
The 24th Project Zilla Parishad High School, Medipally's computer lab being inaugurated by class X | (Pic: 100 Smiles Charity Foundation)
Manoj interacting with students | (Pic: 100 Smiles Charity Foundation)
To find out more about them, check out 100smiles.org