"Whether we give with our heads or our hearts, I believe that, one drop at a time, we can all make a difference."
Trustee 2010 - present
Seema volunteered on the dumping grounds in Mumbai for the making of "Slumdog Secret Millionaire", and established Child Action (formerly The Sharma Foundation) with her husband Sanjay Sharma and co-trustee Suzi Freeman in 2010. Their aim was to support underprivileged slum and street children in India by partnering with local grassroots charities - Doorstep School, Toybank and Apnalaya.
1.2 billion people live in India – that’s 20x the UK’s population
More than half live on less than £1/day – that’s 10x the UK’s population
Seema was flooded with enquiries from students, teachers and schools across the UK, as well as from Australia and Barbados when the Channel 4 programme aired. The idea of seeking to instil a sense of philanthropy and social responsibility in young people was born after Seema’s visit to her old school Roedean, in 2011; she was invited to run a workshop about a day in the life of a slum child, and asked to produce a more edgy and current resource about India than the ones that were available at the time.
Seema's team worked with teachers and the British Asian Trust (one of the Prince's Trust Charities) to create an online resource to develop global awareness and social entrepreurship skills in children across the UK through Enterprise 4 Change. This set of interactive learning resources brings alive the grit, determination and support required to find a way out of informal settlements (slums) using stories, immersive classroom activites and drama.
The entrepreneurship of street children sparks entrepreneurship in children across UK schools, many of whom have gone on to channel their own resourcefulness to fundraise for their underprivileged Indian peers, demonstrating visible leadership skills from a young age. These skills will hold them in good stead in their own lives.
The programme has been replicated in other schools and has proved to be highly successful in engaging children in projects to raise awareness and funds for their peers, and in helping them to develop leadership qualities and skills.
Child Action's awareness raising efforts are directed at children helping children, so if you are a parent or a school looking to foster and facilate leadership, critical thinking, independent enquiry and social entrepreneurship skills in your own children, please do get in touch!