According to a study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health, Salaam Bombay children are less likely to use tobacco than their peers. More significantly, they are far more ambitious than their peers and over 90% of them are determined to stay in school. The Salaam Bombay programs motivate resource-poor children to succeed and inspire them to work towards better futures. The study also concluded that the Salaam Bombay model represents an effective model of school-based tobacco use prevention that low-income schools in India and other low- and middle-income countries can replicate. In order to combat 1 million tobacco deaths in India every year, the Foundation will focus on broadening its geographical reach in the coming years. With a belief that a child in school has a future, the Arts, Sports and skills program will increase reach to help children stay in school for a brighter future developing skills that enhance their future employability.
543,521 children transformed into empowered leaders, confident about the future
2,014 children have developed goal-setting, teamwork and stress management skills through the Sports Academy
2,265 children have found expression in the Arts and Media Academies leading to improved communication skills
756 have enhanced life and vocational skills due to the skills@school initiative
Over 95% of Salaam Bombay youth succeed in school and advance in our Academies and Programs (Impact Study, 2016) compared to fewer than 10% of those outside the purview of the program.
Skills for youth feature prominently in the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. SBFC Programs positively impact 17 out of 20 of the sustainable development goals (SDGs) specified by the UN.
15 year old Komal is the youngest of 4 girls. Her family occupies a space not bigger than a typical bathroom in the US. Water for washing, cooking and cleaning is available only at 6 am and Komal must carry water from the squatter dwelling pump to their makeshift home before making breakfast and lunch for school. School starts at 7:30 am and runs to 12:30pm for the first shift of students. A later group studies from 1pm to 6 pm. At 1 pm Komal joins a skill building class provided by Salaam Bombay Foundation. She is the only girl to enroll in the Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Appliance Repair Course. In her small, overcrowded home, the only light available had been broken for a long time. With her new skills, Komal repaired the fluorescent fixture and brought light into the home at night. She can now study for competitive exams that will determine whether she can proceed to the tenth grade and dream of attending college. Komal said that the best thing about the Salaam Bombay Foundation Skills@School was that she could show her father that girls are as capable as boys, that she could master a skill reserved for boys and show her parents that she could accomplish anything she desired. She chooses to be an asset to her family and not the traditional source of debt that a daughter’s dowry demands of poor fathers. Her older sister recently married in the village of their ancestors. The parents went into great debt with loans for the wedding and dowry. Komal has convinced her father that girls can contribute to the family and do what boys do. She feels her greatest accomplishment is changing her father's view about girls.
Priyanka is 16 years old. Her parents and five siblings live in the slums of Kala Chowki, Abhyudaya Nagar in Mumbai. The seven members of her family crowd a small ten foot square space. Her father works as a delivery man for a pharmacy. Her mother works at home. Their combined household income for seven people is INR 10000/ (about US$ 154).
When introduced to Salaam Bombay in 2012, Priyanka did not know Kathak existed as a dance form. Classical dance was new to her. In no time at all, dance became her passion. From the start, Priyanka demonstrated natural talent, as if she were born to embody the dance form. Initially, her parents were opposed to the Academy and totally against her “wasting” time on dancing. Her joy as a dancer is contagious.
Her parents are the happiest for her and love to watch her perform. She is the lead in most performances. She has developed strong leadership skills and impressive interpersonal qualities. It is Priyanka who trains new recruits to the Academy. It is she who instructs young dancers in the basic steps of Kathak. Priyanka is so famous now for her talent that she is called upon by the local dancers to choreograph their dance numbers. Her choreography has won her fame and her dances are much appreciated, well beyond the slum neighborhood of her childhood.
Priyanka has many public performances to her credit. Priyanka is grace personified.
The story of Afsar is the kind that touches your heart and makes you count your blessings… A first year student of the Salaam Bombay Cricket Academy, Afsar had a long way to go to fulfill his dream of becoming a skilled player. He would do anything to achieve his dream and his coach knew that. Every day he showed up for an extra hour of practice and the results began to pay off, just as his award winning coach had expected. What Coach did not expect was to become Afsar’s confidant and mentor.
Afsar recounted his life story to his coach: He is one of 5 siblings who lives in a graveyard with his family. His father tends the graves by day. Afsar’s home is a tin shack with no concrete walls or floor or roof. He had no wall to play against, no wall to practice his pitching arm. More than that, he did not want to disturb the dead. He had no interest in academics and always, every day, arrived at school hungry and unkempt. With fear and shame about his environment and where he lived, he had no friends. All he knew was hunger, exposure to the elements, loneliness and pervasive hopelessness. Afsar fell into bad company and petty theft to help his father make ends meet. All this changed when he enrolled in the Salaam Bombay Cricket Academy. Today Afsar wakes up with a sense of purpose. He has found his calling in the game. It has become so much more than just a sport. The cricket ground was where he had his first real conversation – with his coach. It is where he found himself – Afsar, the petty thief, became Afsar, the sportsman, the athlete.
It taught him the value of a healthy lifestyle. He made friends – he realized each one had a story to tell. Afsar learned discipline, he learned to respect authority, he learned the value of teamwork. Afsar has just finished the 10th grade. He plans to complete secondary school and go to University. He knows education is the only way to a bright future. Afsar stands tall among his peers. His grit and determination have earned him the respect of his toughest critics. Afsar is now an Assistant Coach in a local cricket club where he coaches younger players. He is saving up for his college tuition fees, knowing full well his parents can’t afford to pay his way through college. Afsar has never committed any crime ever again. Today he is an upright citizen, respects the law, and looks forward to a bright future.
When Jillani’s friend Nitin enrolled his name for a jewelry designing course under Salaam Bombay Foundation’s Skill@School initiative, he was wary. This was because he was afraid of ridicule from other boys who believed that jewelry designing is a feminist pursuit. Even his parents refused to support the enterprise.
Jillani took an introductory 10-day design workshop. Today he is proud to say that it not only changed his beliefs about rigid gender roles but opened up a new life too. At the course, Jillani was trained in making wire wrapped and sculpted jewelry, a unique creative design form. With Salaam Bombay Foundation’s support, he completed an additional 30 hours of training with IIJ (Indian Institute of Jewelery) and the Indian Chamber of Commerce last November. More recently, Jillani participated at an exhibition held at the Colaba Municipal School where he studies. It was the first time in his life that he had an opportunity to be in the spotlight and showcase his skills in front of his parents, neighbors and friends. His joy knew no bounds when he received an order for his jewelry from the staff at Salaam Bombay Foundation. Jillani’s mother, a home-maker, found it hard to believe that her son designed such captivating jewelry. Jillani earned about INR 3000 (US$ 50) from his first exhibition. It was a day of great celebration when he offered his mother his first designs and his first earnings. She was so proud and so pleased that she said, “No, buy yourself a mobile phone with your first pay check!” His parents and elder sister are a lot more supportive now. His parents’ eyes were opened to a new view of Jillani’s future.
Perhaps more significantly, it is the Master Teachers who mentor him and encourage him to continue to design and create inventive jewelry. His dream is to make jewelry for children who live in the slums, for those who cannot afford accessories and expensive adornments. Today, he works after school at a fashion design house. He never imagined a career in design but now he sees university admission in his future. All the while, he stays in school, contributes support to his family, spreads his confidence to friends and neighbors, and grows his winning personality.