May 26, 2015

The Power of Play!

Smiles on hearing Toybank is coming to town
Smiles on hearing Toybank is coming to town

When our Snehalaya English Medium School formed in 2010 to get our slum children and children from our long term care centre simply into ANY form of primary education, we didn't know how things would shape up, we didn't even have a school building or more then one teacher.  

Now four years on we are redefiining our goals and believe The Power of Play is vital to our children’s development harnessing their resiliance into empowerment and allowing their potential to be leaders for social change to emerge.  

We are so grateful to be connected to four amazing educational institutions here in Maharashtra and in the UK and partnered with two great charities.  We also have numerous kind benefactors offering donations in kind to build our resource library.  We have not only proved we just may be able to offer a brighter future for our children, but that this is something we could even strive at.  Thank you for staying with us in these formative years.


This year a great many partnerships were formed:

 -Over 3500 books were added to our library from Cathedral & John Connon Infant School, Mumbai & Give A Little Shop, UK and The Idea Foundation, Pune.

  -Wellandpark Academy, UK secured a third year of British Council ‘Connecting Classrooms’ funding allowing both UK and our our teachers to run exchange programmes with great opportunities for our teachers & children to learn about their cultural, economic differences along with realizing the similarities children share. 

-Toybank is an amazing charity in Mumbai that believes play can give back the right to childhood and we are thrilled to be involved in implementing a toy library for our 6 slum districts and at our school. In our communities were possession discipline is low and toys are in their scarcity this invigilated toy library is such an egalitarian and sustainable approach to gifting children what we all remember most from our own. The abandonment and exploration of play!

 -Leeds Rag (Raise & Give Society) not only raised a substantial donation to be used across our education projects, their group of 12 volunteers who visited for 2 weeks in March ran excellent workshops with our school creating beautiful solar system posters titled ‘You Are A Child of The Universe’ a thing of powerful resonance and beauty making our children feel included and counted.


Thank you for your on going support.  We hope you feel it is being spent well and we welcome your comments and suggestions.  Please feel free to Kathleen Smith:

Please think about making a regular donation to this or one of our other 3 other projects.  Even a small regular donation of just £5 a month means over the year you will cover a qualified teachers salary for an entire month.



Apr 16, 2015

A very special boy!

Big smiles from the kids at our daycare centres
Big smiles from the kids at our daycare centres

"I have a gift for you!" exclaimed Habib when on my last day in India I was on a stage infront of all his contemporaries (300 children live at our shelter and know it as home).  As I handed him his much deserved Certificate he flashed his usual confident cheeky smile, head ever so slightly wobbling with excitement.  

Habib aged 15 back then had just completed a film making workshop and was a vocal and passionate pupil during our 4 week course.  He had come to the centre aged 6 from Mumbai where we had been living and begging on a train station.  He pressed a lovingly made hand written document into my hand and held onto it tightly as he passed it over.  'From my heart, Meera Didi' he said.  

If you promise not to cry you can read the words he gave me at the end of this report.

2 years on and Habib is now living independantly in regular contact and full of skills and working in an Interior Design Office.  He is a smart dresser and proudly returns to the centre for offical ceremonies where he is our voluntary offical photographer (he participated in our 6 week photography workshop in 2009 and has the certificate to proove it).

Snehalaya works with Childline to rescue so many children and people at risk and gives them a real chance of leading a life full of self worth, pride and ambition.  Habib speaks volumes for the benefit of continuing this work.  

Our rehab centre is the heart of our organisation and our flagship project.  We run over 15 projects in rural India working with the countries hidden population that go uncounted and uncared for.  We are changing that.

We have 350 children in our care and 50 women.  We offer dorm living, food, shelter, education, medication, and a family.  We run as a family and it's in our name 'Snehalaya' means 'Home of Love'.  To sponsor a child like Habib costs $800/year.  We feed our beneficaries from our own farm and many of our house mothers came to us themselves as beneficaries.  

So far we have raised over $40,000 in under 11 months on globalgiving for this project.  This is remarkable and forms about 50% of our annual running costs for this project so thank you.  Without supporters like you we simply could not help all that need us.  Often how a child comes to us is a traumatic event and with intervention, how they leave is a whole other story and often on their own two feet knowing we are always here for them forever.

Thank you! 

Habib has a few words to say too, his gift to us all.  Warning, these made me cry:

“My Feelings about Snehalaya” Habib, 17

Who is a mother? She is the person who gives us birth & shows us the world. She also is responsible for our present care and future struggles in many ways. God’s beautiful creation in this world is mother. But it’s my bad luck that I neither was unable to see the face of my mother nor could I sit on her lap. I am Habib Sheik, I am 17 years old and I have called Snehalaya my home and my family since I was 6 years old.

I was born in the Mumbai city by the mot her whose face I haven’t seen. From a very early age I had to face life without parents, but today, whatever I am is only because of my lovely home “Snehalaya”. Snehalaya took the role of my parents and also made my career. If Snehalaya didn’t come in my life I would have got the life of beggar on Mumbai railway platforms. I am thankful to god that my mother handed me over to Snehalaya my home of love.

I consider Dr. Girish Kulkarni Sir as my Godfather having been brought up here since my childhood. He is not a Godfather for me alone but also several kids like me. He isn’t just a father in title alone as we can ask for each and every thing to him as we would to our own parent. I also have to mention our great personality Ambadas Chauhan Sir who is lovingly called Ba not only as a name’s sake either for he truly devotes his life for kids like me too. Due to this to great people in Snehalaya we don’t feel we are without parents.

Snehalaya has not only given me a sustainable life, but also taught me to be a great person in life. Snehalaya motivated my life, taught me to see the dreams and also gave strength in my wings to fly freely in the sky. Snehalaya shaped me in the way as the potter does with the clay. It has brought real meaning to my life. Snehalaya has really given an unexpected path and values in my life that I can never forget forever. Really the day’s I spent with Snehalaya will always be unforgettable for me. I want to do some thing outstanding with my life and I want to help Snehalaya in my future. Once again I really thank Snehalaya for making my career & my life.

                                                                                                                                             Lots of thanks! Habib




Habib loves to pose!
Habib loves to pose!
Miranda (trustee) & Habib (beneficary)
Miranda (trustee) & Habib (beneficary)


Feb 26, 2015

Wow! Your Support Knows No Bounds

Dear Snehalaya Home of Love Supporters,

  • Since launching this project in 2014 we have been astounded by the clear passion our donors feel for this cause
  • Our ground staff running the project in conjunction with our clients would like to thank you sincerely for your support. 
  • We we hope to keep this appeal active until enough funding is raised to build more poly tunnels, add more fruit trees and buy more dairy cows.
  • Farming is a great healer for our clients who have often times felt to ill and rejected to fell they can contribute.  Working the land is great excercise and nuturing the land to yield a harvest is hugely satisfying at the most primal level.  It is creating life!
  • Deepa came to our shelter with a very poorly infant she named Sarah.  She had been raped and forced to work in a brothel and sold into the profession by a family member.  Sadly Sarah died but Deepa has found great support and purpose at our farm.

Do you know about our other project appeals?

  • A Rescue appeal to get women like Deepa and children off the streets and out of sex work
  • An Educational appeal for funding to educate 30 slum children for 1

Thanks for your support. Without you these essential projects would not be possible.  Our charity relies on the kindness of our donors and we value your ongoing passion for these causes. We welcome you to visit our website at read and if you want to meet Deepa please look at our documentary here 

Miranda Hudson

Snehalaya UK Secretary


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