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Striving for independence: One special smile at a time.
Working with special needs children, there is nothing more joyous than seeing them develop into confident adults capable of functioning independently. These moments of triumph of the human spirit and the caring of the community, are what makes it all worthwhile. Take Sanjeev, a charming, handsome young man of 15 from the backcountry in Solan, Himachal Pradesh. Over the 5 years, we have seen him go from a shy young boy dependent on others for his day to day needs to an ever confident, capable young man able to take care of his most basic needs independently. Through the efforts of the Ganpati Educational Society in Solan, he has gradually learnt to sit, walk in right postures as well as travel to and fro from his home to the day care independently.

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The sparkle in his eyes and the gregarious smile with which he now attempts conversations with visitors is the mark of ever growing confidence. He has speech challenges, weak fine motor skills, a very feeble memory, but that has never held him back from being able to participate in sports and other cultural activities. His 1st place finish in the Solan District Special Olympics earned him an entry to the Kulu Regional Special Olympics. Even though he lost there, it was an inspiring achievement.

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Sanjeev is now entering a phase in life where he needs to learn vocational skills to earn livelihood in the future. He has learnt to make paper envelops and is learning how to make candles. Humble skills, but Sanjeev’s journey from severe limitations five years ago to today, where he can dream of becoming a contributing member of society is anything but humble. Your contributions to Smile Donor truly are making a difference in the lives of not just some kids but the whole community around them.

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