Vishal Mimani-Flying High
“I always loved how the kids at the orphanage welcomed me by yelling, “Vishal Bhaiya!”, even before they saw the candies I’d bought. And it was during one of my many visits to the orphanage when I realized – ‘The kids will gulp down these candies in a minute. Tomorrow someone may get them something even better, maybe a cake! They’ll munch on that for a day or so, but what after that?
What’s the guarantee that some of the other visitors will come by and treat them every day? It then occurred to me, ‘What if I can enable them to buy their own candies?’ And that’s how FHI (Fly Higher) began. So, the next time I visited the orphanage, I planned a fun interactive session for them.
The lives of these children revolve around the 4 walls of their orphanage. So, when I told them about the fun activity; the grinning excitement in their voices was even beyond the exhilaration with which they’d greet me. But, among those cheers was a silent little girl, Simran.
I’d never seen her before. She had recently lost both her parents and it was her second day there. She didn’t talk to anyone and stayed aloof. But, once we started with the games and activities she walked towards me. And, pulled down my sleeve indicating that she wanted to be a part of it as well!
Every kid at the orphanage has a different story behind ending up there. Some like Simran lose their parents, while others are abandoned. However, there is one thing they have in common that is the trauma they’ve been through. The orphanage provides them with everything from food to clothing and education. But, what happens once these children grow up? Their skillset is not at par with the outside world. So, they are pushed into the red light areas like trafficking and drug dealing. They slip back into the trauma.
And the main driving force for us at FHI is to prevent this. ‘Skill for all and All for Skill’ is our motto. We instill the communication skills that can fetch these children a dignified recognition in the outside world. All of them may not become top-class doctors or engineers. But even if they make up for a mediocre employee and stand up on their feet, our purpose shall be served.”
FHI comes up with National projects for underprivileged children. Their projects are a perfect balance of fun and development. So far they’ve joined forces with 100 NGOs across 31 Indian cities touching the lives of 6500 children through 1700 volunteers.