Mumbai: Every monsoon in Mumbai, over 36,000 street children brave the harsh rains and many fall prey to diseases. But the lucky among them have rainwear, for which they have Dr Hetal Turakhia and her husband, Pranay, to thank. The couple has made it their mission to help those in need.
Dr Hetal, a dentist, founded Beyond Smiles in March 2010. Along with her husband and a friend, Shwetha, she started the initiative 'RAIN - Reaching All In Need' last month.
Every week, the trio walks the narrow lanes of Mumbai's Grant Road, purchasing colourful raincoats, slippers and tiny shoes for the children, all from the money collected by the NGO, although not before bargaining a bit.
"My husband, an amazing proper Gujarati businessman, is the one who actually taught me the rules of bargaining," she says.
After stacking their car with all the goodies, the trio hits the streets along with other friends to distribute the stuff among children and the elderly. They make it a point to get the children to put on their rainwear.
Says Pranay, "It's a great feeling. Before this we have done drives at Churchgate, VT, Colaba and you see these small children wearing their raincoats, dancing around. So they are really happy with it, and seeing that smile on their faces, I don't think it costs too much."
They don't leave before playing a little with the children and clicking their customary pictures.
Says Dr Hetal, "I think I can sleep well at night. The best peaceful sleep I have got in the last one month, because you see the smiles, the amount of happiness around is nothing the words can describe."