I have been fortunate to be associated with AEA – Aid Et Action. I am Director on India Board of this Geneva Based international NGO. It’s Indian Headquarter is at Chennai. The South-Asia region is headed by Ravi Pratap Singh, highly diligent worker and task master.
AEA works for ‘Bringing Change Through Education’. They work with Corporate, Government and other liked minded organisation across India. Hence with this thought, they have various projects, including education of migrant workers, empowering of Girl Child.
One of their hugely successful ‘livelihood intervention Initiative’ is iLEAD; Livelihood Education and Development (iLEAD) initiative. It has just completed 11 years and in this short period in terms of developmental projects, it has touched the lives of more than 200000 youth.
Trainee and students in iLEAD come from families, where education is a dream and earning to survive a necessity. They have dreams, and they want to be independent. Every single student is a case study and a story of inspiration. Post iLEAD intervention and training, many have turned entrepreneur and more than 80% have been placed in decently paying jobs.
Such milestones need celebration. And even the passionate team members who have been relentlessly working in the area need to be felicitated for their achievements and efforts. An event ‘A Celebration of ONE MILLION SMILES’ to celebrate the 11th anniversary was held at Birla Auditorium; Jaipur on 31st Jan 2017.
It was iLEAD way to say thanks to all the stakeholders, supporting, encouraging, facilitating and guiding the journey.
As an ex-corporate person who has created and managed many events, what surprised me was the smooth execution of the whole program. All of it, was conceptualized and produced In-House, by the team members, trainees, trainers and alumni of iLEAD. It is something an event company would have been proud of.
The opening number, a rap song by Ankur Mathur set the tone of the evening. It was off course an Inhouse production. The male voice on the iLEAD anthem was by Ravindra Upadhaya (Chanel V Super Singer and a well-known name in Bollywood) and Shikha Mathur (Colors TV Show Rising Star Contestant and Emerging Bollywood Singer ). A documentary ( produced internally) brought alive these case studies and the work that iLEAD has done. A CD with the documentary on process and success of the program was unveiled at the start of the show.
The initial presentation also thanked partners like Accenture, Cognizant, HCL, Microsoft, Tata Trusts and Government Partners Like BRLPS, RSLDC, Himayat, DSAG, GUDM.
The fashion show by iCREATION was an inspiring experience. It is a fashion brand in its evolving stage. iLEAD trainer designers, Deepali, (Jamnagar), Dress Merlin (Shilong) Parita, (Baroda), Pooja (Jaipur), Rekha (Udaipur), Vidhya, (Banglore) and Rapborlang( Shilong) worked relentlessly for the past one month to create fabulous design sequences dipped in local culture and ethos. iLEAD Beauty Therapy trainers Anita (Jaipur), Indira ( Jaipur ), Jyoti (Jalandhar), Rajshree, (Mumbai), Vandana (Jamnagar) and Wansukh (Shillong) working back stage did the makeup of the models on the ramp.
To encourage the iLEAD trainer designers, professionals like Savita – Sriya Miss India finalist, Jyoti Saini- Miss Rajwada, Anu Sharma – Face of Jaipur 2016 & Jaipur Ikon 2015 walked the ramp. With them on the ramp were first-time models, Aparna, Bhawna, Chetna, Dharmishtha, Dimple, Kalpana, Mona, Meera, Neeta, Nisha, Pinky, Radhika and Reena, who have been skill-empowered under the iLEAD. If one was not informed of it, an untrained eye would have not been able to gauge it.
The event featured special dance performance by “Dance Mania,” a group formed by iLEAD Volunteers and Alumni. Keeping the spirit of accountability and professional performance measurement, winner iLEAD centres were felicitated. The DIGITAL LITERACY MODULE developed by iLEAD in multiple languages was launched at the event.
I congratulate the iLEAD team working under the leadership of Dr Aishwariya Mahajan. It is the team’s hard work across the nation contributing in their own way and areas, have made the program highly successful.
This was a real celebration of One Million Smiles…….. of which I am but an insignificant part.