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IMPULSA - Fòrum Fundació Príncep de Girona

''What have we done today to make the world we live in a better place?''

Jaume Sanllorente, journalist, writer and the Director of Mumbai Smiles

  • Jaume Sanllorente

Seven years ago I went on a journey of tourism to India and it ended up being a vital adventure. I had previously worked as an economic journalist in Barcelona. The reality I saw in Bombay had a big impact on me. There are 20 million inhabitants living below the threshold of poverty. And the poverty continues to grow because every day 900 people arrive in Bombay from the surrounding areas. The financial, splendid India paradoxically accumulates poverty day by day.

In the face of any social reality we don’t like, we must fight to change it. We are accustomed to complaining about the world, criticizing it, and if we think we want to change it, we must start with ourselves.

 With this impact and this feeling, I got in contact with an orphanage where there were 40 children with terrible pasts and which had financial management difficulties, which means that many of these centers have to close down.

When I set up the organization Bombay Smiles I didn’t think I was a hero, only that I was exercising humanity, which is what must bring justice to the world.

 It was enthusiasm that gave me the energy at that moment to transform the social reality I didn’t like. I didn’t come from the nonprofit sector or the sector of cooperation development, nor did I have knowledge of human resources or economic management, etc. and I’ve been educating myself with courses and masters. Because enthusiasm is the soul that pushes us to give a more educated and professional shape to ourselves.

 So far Bombay Smiles has provided help to more than 6,000 beneficiaries, and a strategic plan for 2015 is being implemented. We have helped 50 people in the childcare centers we manage to have more self-esteem and to play a leading role in the community. Enthusiasm has also motivated family members to get involved in the educational process. A series of cooperatives have been created among women from the community, so that they can become self-sufficient, without intervention from the organization. We have got civil servants and women who work in 900 municipal schools involved to optimize the educational system. We have also been the driving force in getting the first beneficiaries of seven years ago to continue their studies, including university, making it possible for them to break out of the circle of poverty that marked their destiny.

What have we done today to make the world we live in a better place? In the same way I think that the world of NGOs should be more business oriented, the business sector should also become more social, and the crisis is a good opportunity to think about this mission.

The world is still a garden, and so if we want a beautiful garden, we are the ones who must plant the flowers.

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