PT: How did ‘Light of Life’ come into being?
Villy: ‘Light of Life Trust’ (LOLT) was established in 2002. The thought was to work with poor children and destitute women on two fronts – education and health and help them break the cycle of illiteracy and poverty.
PT: Which are the projects undertaken by ‘Light of Life’?
Villy: The organization focuses on education, livelihood and health care through our various projects predominantly implemented in rural areas like Raigad, Jalna, Washim, Nandurbarand Mumbai, as well as one district of Madhya Pradesh- Seoni. LOLT believes in a holistic approach, which includes home visits, counselling and community participation, effective monitoring and evaluation systems.
- 40,000 children across 426 villages benefit via Project Anando.
- Distributed 39,170 fruit-bearing saplings to 590 farmers across 28 villages and 2 schools in Karjat and Uran Talukas via the Environment Conservation Programme.
- 10,000 beneficiaries across M’tra and Madhya Pradesh.
- 7,000 villagers and tribals benefit via Medical Mobile Unit (MMU) Project.
- 500 peoples trained under Project Jagruti.
- 100 LOLT skilled social workers and teachers.
Project ‘Anando’ ensures that rural school children are encouraged and supported in completing their secondary education, and enhances the quality of education at schools by training teachers and ensuring regularity in children’s attendance. Project ‘Anant- The Music Programme’ provides a platform to develop skills in performing arts. Professionals guide youngsters into overcoming their challenges through dance and music. Recently in April, some of our ‘Anant’ beneficiaries performed an extravaganza- ‘Kalpataru– a musical’ in Mumbai and Pune. Under Project ‘Jagruti’, livelihood training programmes are offered to rural youth, women and unemployed individuals in fields like computer literacy, sewing and tailoring, beauty care, nursing, electrician, security guard and agriculture. For some trainings, we have even collaborated under the ‘Prime Minister Kaushal Vikas Yojana’. Our ‘Medical Mobile Unit’ (MMU) functions in Karjat, benefits women, children and senior citizens through health check up camps, awareness sessions at the school and village levels, special camps for vision testing, dental treatment and cardiac care. Our Environment Conservation Programme provides plants saplings to farmers and monitors their growth over the next two years to ensure the farmers have a reliable source of income.
PT: What are your bigger achievements ?
Villy: LOLT greatest rewards are witnessing beneficiaries emerge as young, capable and successful individuals. We have particularly noticed changes in the way parents and community members perceive a girl child. LOLT’s awareness programmes have helped increase the average marriage age of a girl from seventeen years in 2009 to twenty-two in 2016. LOLT was awarded the Global CSR Excellence and Leadership Award in NGO Category and are empanelled with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences National CSR Hub.
PT: How do you plan to realize a long term vision?
Villy: Our long term vision is to ensure all children get the opportunity to complete their basic education through various collaborations and partnerships and extend healthcare services to remote villages pan India.