Home CATEGORIES Business Ethics & Philanthropy Touching Lives: Creating Opportunities for Learning, Healing, and Expression in Slum Communities

Touching Lives: Creating Opportunities for Learning, Healing, and Expression in Slum Communities

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Imagine a student finishing her 6th-grade exam and eagerly returning home, only to find that her house has been demolished and all her belongings, including the books she needs for her next day’s exams, have been taken away. The entire neighbourhood is forced to seek refuge under a bridge with their families – This is the reality for many children living in slum communities in Mumbai. Now, imagine the same student completing her Master Program from Mumbai University after 12 years and working as a Clinical Psychologist in the organization that supported her educational journey. The student, now a professional is a first-generation change maker, helping the entire family out of poverty. She now lives in a rented apartment. Human beings, if given the opportunity to grow and create a stronger foundation, are capable of transforming and leading better lives. Touching Lives has been working as a catalyst (opportunity-provider) for children and communities over the period of last 19 years.
Based in Mumbai, Touching Lives is a non-profit organization that works towards Learning (Education), Healing (Mental Health) and Expression (Art) of children from vulnerable socio-economic backgrounds. Touching Lives provides opportunities for Learning, Healing, Art, Technology and Life-skills for the holistic development and empowerment of children. It envisages the supported children to lead a better quality life with financial independence and conscious relationship with themselves and the world.
Founded in 2003 by Sonia Mackwani with the value – ‘it is our need to serve than saying we are serving the needy’, the team of Touching Lives is guided by the mantras of Self-work, Seva (service) and Sadhna (practice). Touching Lives started as a spiritual journey towards the path self-evolution and self-work.

Touching Lives

Touching Lives offers a range of interconnected programs that provide supplementary education, mentoring, and life-skills training for students aged 6 to 23 years. The organization’s holistic approach includes support for mental well-being, creativity, conscious leadership, and more. In the afterschool project of Touching Lives, students learn not only to improve their academic performance but also to develop their emotional intelligence and resilience. The organization also offers programs for mothers, which focus on healing and self-work.
Education is a long-term process and commitment. Many of Touching Lives’ alumni students have completed their graduation, are currently pursuing degree, moved out of slum communities to rented apartments, working in reputable companies and living a better socio-economic life. Each story of grit, perseverance, success is truly inspirational for fellow children from slum communities and also for the world at large.

Touching Lives

Touching Lives also extends its support to organizations working in rural India by providing teacher training, mentorship to social entrepreneurs, and funding for educational projects. Through its Media & Films project, the organization uses cinema as a therapeutic aid in classrooms and teaches filmmaking as a tool for personal transformation and personality development.
It also runs visual storytelling and healing workshops across the globe, working with diverse groups such as schools, organizations, rehabs, and prisons.
The work of organizations working at the grassroots level is extremely important for communities. When a Touching Lives mentor asked one of the students – ‘What drives you to come to Touching Lives?’, the answer from the student was simple and yet it gives us a deep understanding of their world – ‘Didi, in our community nobody speaks to us with respect the way you do’.
Touching Lives’ work provides safe and compassionate space where every child has an opportunity to express themselves.