Glander International Bunkering is uniting with Vivekananda Youth Forum (VYF) for a ninth year to support the needs of nearly 100 children from poverty-stricken communities across Mumbai.
VYF provides daily essentials and social development activities to underprivileged children of all ages by eliminating barriers to learning, such as challenges with food, shelter, clothing, and school supplies.
In the following interview, Smita Patil, Project Head at VYF, shares how VYF’s key projects are providing life essentials to underprivileged children and what it plans to achieve long-term.
Q: What is VYF’s mission in helping children in need?
A: Since 1987, VYF has been empowering underprivileged kids in the slums and streets of Mumbai. We have been focused on the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals related to poverty, hunger, health, quality education, gender equality and clean water and sanitation.
Q: How does the Soup Kitchen and Project Little Lamps help children in need?
A: The Soup Kitchen provides education and nutrition to families living on the streets of Andheri, a suburb in Mumbai city. Children have access to a nutritious meal daily, combined with one-to-one support from a mentor. Project Little Lamps helps educate children between the ages of 2 and 5 years. The purpose of this program is to close the gap in the quality of pre-schooling education offered to poor and low-income families.
Q: How do donations help VYF accomplish its goals?
A: The funding has helped in providing salaries to teachers and procuring the necessary educational equipment for the school, such as nutrition, stationery, books, bags, and uniforms.
Q: How has Covid-19 impacted VYF and the children it helps?
A:. We have created new learning solutions to highlight the importance of social distancing and sanitation methods to protect our students from the disease. It has been a challenge for us to adapt to digital learning as the majority of the children do not have internet or smart devices. We are concerned about what the future holds for the cash flow of our organisation, but with support from businesses such as Glander International Bunkering, we have been able to continue our mission of helping vulnerable children.
Q: What does VYF aim to achieve in the near future?
A: Every day, we are inspired by the words of our founder, Swami Vivekananda: « If the poor boy cannot come to education, education must go to him. » Currently, classes are limited due to space and resource constraints. There is a need to reach out to more children as they wait in the wings to be included. More families will benefit from quality education if we have a new space that allows them to grow and learn in an open environment.
Click here to learn more about the achievements and efforts of Vivekananda Youth Forum.