We Care For Everyone
There is no exercise better for the heart than reaching down and lifting people up. So said a wise man! And many across the world have worked for a cause with this thought guiding them all along. While many of us often complain about the lack of opportunities to help others, quite a few go out of their way and find one! Mrs. Vandana Otle is one such individual who created an opportunity to help those around her through Bright Star Charitable Trust. In 2013, it was on just an ordinary day when Mrs. Vandana saw her household help - Sarita struggling to raise funds to buy a room in the nearby slums of Dahisar area of Mumbai. Though Mrs. Vandana helped her with the funds but in the process, realized that there are many others like Sarita, or maybe even worse, who struggle to secure the basic necessities of life. This gets even more difficult for women who work with multiple familial and social constraints. Thus, began the noble quest called Bright Star Charitable Trust (BSCT).
What started initially as a means to raise awareness about health & hygiene in the nearby slums of Dahisar by Mrs.Vandana, soon took the shape of a Trust. Over repeatedly visiting these slums and interacting with the women there, Mrs.Vandana realized that the women and children in the slums needed more than a just an awareness on health and hygiene. The enabling factors such as education, a secure livelihood, and financial autonomy, for maintain health and hygiene were missing amongst this population. Empowerment of women by providing a secure livelihood and thus enhancing their participation in decision making process was the key to solving multiple problems. Effort at an individual level would not be enough to address this socio-economic problem that cuts across this population. Thus, to scale up the efforts Vandana decided to turn her efforts into an NGO.
Bright Star Charitable Trust was registered under the Indian Trust Act, 1882, in the year 2014 and has been operational across Western Mumbai. While the Trust started with the aim to empower women through skill development and access to markets, it has expanded its strong hold to other thematic areas. It now operates across a number of themes, most important of which are
a. Women Empowerment
b. Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan
c. Education of Women, Children, and Youth
d. Public Health; and
e. Care for the elderly
The Journey So far…
What began five years back as a small attempt to educate women in the neighbouring slums of Dahisar, today reaches pan-Maharashtra. We have reached out to more than 2000 women across Maharashtra through our 23 skill development centres spread across the state and the numbers are on the rise. We have also been successful in imparting skills in English language to students of Pre and primary schools situated across Western Mumbai and look forward to expand to other areas of Mumbai in the coming years. The campaigns run under Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan and for the promotion of public health, especially amongst women and young girls, have also been received with great enthusiasm. However, to scale up our efforts and the spread the light of our work, we are open to collaborate with other NGO partners or, with Corporates through their CSR initiatives.