Social Startups

MumbaiSmiles : A Fresh Approach to Addressing Urban Poverty

Mumbai Smiles is a non-profit organization based out of India, Spain and Mexico, focused on providing quality education, health services and livelihood opportunities for families living in the slums of Mumbai.

The non-profit was born in 2005 when Spanish journalist and writer Jaume Sanllorente was on a holiday to Mumbai, India. His experience with the under-privileged inspired him to quit his job as a journalist, go back to university, and kick start Mumbai Smiles, in order to improve the living conditions of slum dwellers in the city of Mumbai.

Why Mumbai Smiles are Unique

Mumbai Smiles operates out of several of Mumbai’s lesser known slums in the suburb of Andheri. All their current efforts are focused around developing these few communities, so that children, as well as adults are benefited. In all activities, the community always provides input and feedback. This ensures that programs are successful at meeting the needs of the community.

For example, the children of slum dwellers attend state of the art pre-schools. The teachers at these pre-schools are from the same community. Other women organize mid-day meals for pre-school children. Older kids go to after-school workshops where they are mentored throughout their school going years. Teenagers on the verge of graduating are benefited by career counseling sessions with coaches.

Mumbai Smiles conducts health camps in partnership with local and international agencies within the community, so that children and their parents have access to specialist medical services (such as eye checkups) that are otherwise not accessible, or too expensive.

Finally, Mumbai Smiles in co-operation with Creative Handicrafts promotes the talent and craft of underprivileged women. They also support several for-profit self-women’s help groups within the community.

Joint efforts to Fight Poverty

Mumbai Smiles in collaboration with Creative Handicrafts, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) and Fair Trade Forum – India, are organizing the Poverty Conference 2011.

This conference brings together experts from all over the world to discuss market based approaches to fighting poverty, and will be held on 7th and 8th February 2011 in Mumbai.

To view the full agenda and register for the conference, please visit:

Note: Dutiee will be covering the Poverty Conference live via Twitter. Follow our tweets (@DutieeTweets) via Hashtag #POVCONF