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Making People Smile Through Bring A Smile Initiative Archana Suresh

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Archana Suresh is a social activist who has been trying for the betterment of lives of underprivileged people through her initiative Bring a Smile. She started this  initiative in 2012 at a very small scale which has now transformed into a mission. Through Bring a Smile Archana collects daily use items from middle class families and donates them to poor people who need them. Thus even a small contribution by common public reaches the targeted  section of society. Story behind the starting of this initiative is very fascinating.

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“It was 2012, when my mother and I talked about how if the haves just rounded up the things they don’t use and dispense it among the ones in need – that would help uplift so many lives. She always wanted to do something like Bring A Smile (BAS) but could not because of the lack of means in their generation. I realised how we have it so much easier with technology and social media, and support streams in from all and sundry,” Archana Suresh
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Archana Suresh printed pamphlets asking residents of her society to donate whatever   daily need articles they were willing to give away. To her surprise the response was overwhelming. Forty families came forward and donated old clothes, toys, footwear, utensils and other articles of daily use. Archana and her friends then distributed these things  to the underprivileged people. “Everybody was on board. When I told them I could handle the content, another man came forward stating he owned a printing press and would print a thousand pamphlets. The newspaper man said he would distribute it for free in the locality. This whole thing was set in motion by one message,” Archana recalls. These 40 households collected items that were donated in a span of one year.

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Bring a Smile continued to work in this way till 2013. The incident which changed Archana’s life was losing her mom to cancer this year. “She was a very kind soul, and to honour her wishes, I decided to go full steam ahead with Bring A Smile,” Archana says.

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Throughout the day, Archana is a corporate communications professional. She has been working for 12 years for companies like Yahoo, HSBC and Microsoft in the IT hub. In 2012, she started giving more attention to her initiative Bring A Smile to make it more successful.

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Archana’s Bring a Smile initiative has grown so big that more than 200 people have come forward and helped over 6500 underprivileged people. Archana Suresh also spoke on a TED X platform. She makes a good use of social media as she believes that it’s a powerful tool to bring people together. In December 2016,  Bring a Smile was able to collect Rs. 40,000 through a Facebook post that went viral. This money was used to buy blankets for the homeless who slept on footpaths in Hyderabad, Belgaum and Delhi in the chilling winter.
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Archana Suresh says that social media and WhatsApp have helped her a great deal. “There have been friends from school and college who do not live in Hyderabad anymore, but are still keen on offering financial aid. Initially, I was reluctant about taking money from them, but thought of how much they could help organisations in need. So, I urged donors to make direct contributions to the organisations I have worked with, and, in turn, I would send them receipts as far as possible so that they could see where their money was deployed,” says she.
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As more people are joining in the effort, they want to show nothing is impossible. Archana Suresh and her team are consistently reaching out to all those in need. Archana is enthusiastic to make a difference in people’s life. She views the world with love and compassion. WonderfulWomen salutes her and hopes to see her team spread more smiles in future.

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