- Help A Child Smile
Two girls, their grandmother, and The Neelok Foundation
Updated: Mar 27, 2019
The inspiration for The Neelok Foundation and Project "Help A Child Smile" came from my grandmother, a pediatrician who worked tirelessly for children in the slum districts of Delhi in India. In a culture that often devalues the girl child, she believed strongly in the empowerment of girls through education. She died of oral cancer in 2015. A relatively early diagnosis in 2003 helped give her added years but there is no doubt that had she had regular oral cancer screenings and dental care (which was uncommon in India), she would have lived much longer.
As her two granddaughters, she saw us from the delivery room through many happy summers spent with her in Delhi - mornings practicing yoga, evenings enjoying Bollywood dancing, and delicious home-cooked Indian meals and favorite snacks (panipuri) peppered throughout the day.
Neelok Medical Center was the name of her practice, a combination of the names of her two children - Neelu and Alok, my mother and uncle. We often watched her interacting with her little patients, seeing her kindness, compassion, and selflessness at close quarters.
After her death, my sister and I created our non-profit, naming it "The Neelok Foundation" in her honor and memory. It supports two causes - to raise awareness of oral cancer and dental disease and to support the upliftment of the girl child through education and gendercide prevention. Causes that tie directly back to her.....
Projects "Help A Child Smile" and "Save The Girl Child" began....
Two sisters, two causes...... honoring their grandmother through The Neelok Foundation.