Schools Into Smiles

CLIENT Rotary Club
CAMPAIGN/ PROJECT A Coffee Table Book (CTB) that covers the Schools Into Smiles project from concept to completion
Problem/ Opportunity 1. Exhaustive research was needed before work on the CTB could commence. 2. Since the CTB was initiated towards the closing stages of the Schools Into Smiles project, a lot of information on the state of schools before renovation was not recorded.

3. The schools were adopted by different RI Districts and hence, collating records and experiences from varied sources proved to be a challenge.

4. The CTB had to work along multiple layers, as a documented analysis of Schools Into Smiles, as an inspirational ode to a milestone project and as a ‘reference manual’ that could be instructive to other Rotary Districts across the world.

Key Insight The most tangible outcome of the project was that it helped put a smile on the faces of thousands of children who otherwise faced a bleak future.
Creative Idea/ Strategy A school that had become mere drudgery was now an inviting place for study, fun and games. In other words, what was once just a school was now a smile-inducing proposition.

This was the key thought behind the coinage of Schools Into Smiles.

The CTB would serve to highlight the power of these smiles, by narrating the tale of how the transformation took place.

Execution 1.       Various meetings and questionnaires were instituted to gather information from diverse sources, some of them having relocated to other countries.

2.       The structure of the CTB was kept linear, using a chronological pattern to the story.

3.       The visual impact of the ‘before’ and ‘after’ conditions of the schools would form the mainstay of the CTB.

4.       A horizontal hard-bound album-styled layout was chosen to facilitate images of the school premises.

Challenges faced 1. Unearthing past records, numbers, estimates and photographs was a major challenge as there was no formal database created to store these.

2. The CTB had to be completed on a stringent timeline as it had to coincide with the inauguration of the 100th school that was transformed under this programme.

3. Most of the images were not of professional or of print quality and a lot of work had to go into treating them and rendering them fit for the CTB.

4. Exhaustive teamwork with the art department, the Rotary committee and Rotarians from other locations was absolutely essential, but was a challenge because of the impending deadline and conflicting schedules of the people involved.

Result   Copies of the Power of Smiles were gifted to several key Rotarians and to the present and past Presidents of India, Shri Pranab Mukherjee and Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam.

The CTB was much appreciated by Rotary Clubs in other countries – the Schools Into Smiles project was implemented in various schools in Kenya by the Rotary

The project continued to transform schools even after the landmark of 100 schools was reached. Over 130 schools came into the Schools Into Smiles fold.

The CTB became a guide to transforming schools in several backward areas in the developing countries.

My role As the writer, I created the concept and structure for the CTB.

I spent months processing the information collected and worked out a flow that would keep the story interesting and informative.

Other projects A similar CTB was created for the Rotary’s relief and rehabilitation operations following the tsunami that struck the shores of South India. The challenges faced and my role in the project were similar to the one in the Schools Into Smiles project.