Her smile, her dreams – something that even a cyclone couldn’t shake - ActionAid India
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Her smile, her dreams – something that even a cyclone couldn’t shake

Published on: Wednesday, 3rd July 2019

Author: Priyanka Khullar

Photo: Srikanth Kolari/ActionAid Association

Meet Sandhya Rani Sahoo (right). Living with her parents and younger sister, Jyoti, in Mandap Slum in Bhubaneswar, Odisha, this 12-year-old is multi-talented! A Class VI student, Sandhya is not just good in studies but in extra-curricular activities too, such as poetry, singing, dancing, acting and debates. Well, that’s not all! She is also the leader of Mandap Slum’s child club.

When Cyclone Fani came, the power in our building went off. Our books and other belongings also got damaged. We feared that our building might collapse too,” says Sandhya, recounting the day the cyclone made landfall in Odisha (i.e. on May 3, 2019).

Following Cyclone Fani, ActionAid India, with support from Inkfest, provided educational kits to 500 children of affected slum-dwellers in Bhubaneswar, including to Sandhya and Jyoti; the kit comprised three notebooks, a pen, a pencil, an eraser, a sharpener and a scale. “This kit has been very helpful for us. It enabled us to continue our studies despite our study material getting damaged because of the cyclone,” says Sandhya.

Sandhya’s parents run a tailoring shop in Bhubaneswar; they want to educate both their daughters to the maximum and want them to be successful in life. And their eyes shine with hope and pride when Sandhya says, “I want to become a doctor when I grow up”.

Well, here’s a lesser-known fact – Sandhya likes cooking too. And when asked what she enjoys cooking most, another round of smile comes up on her face as she says, “Maggi!

Recognizing that emergency situations affect vulnerable communities disproportionately, ActionAid focuses on people living in poverty and exclusion, and amongst them women, children, the elderly and persons with disability. ActionAid works with proven processes of accountability and transparency to all stakeholders, including the communities it serves.