At Rituals we feel honored to help people find happiness in the smallest of things. But happiness and success are even better when they are shared, which is why we wholeheartedly believe in giving back to those less privileged. Rituals has been involved with the Tiny Miracles Foundation since 2011.
We are all about lighting a fire within them! – Laurien Meuter, founder, Tiny Miracles
Tiny Miracles in Mumbai, India
Tiny Miracles founder Laurien Meuter has made it her mission to enable one small community in the slums of Mumbai, India, to break out of the poverty cycle and become self-supporting middle-class citizens by 2020. This will not only affect the people living in the community now but future generations as well. With a firm background in economics and corporate finance, Laurien is now following her heart – giving to a community so that they can help themselves. With this in mind, Tiny Miracles has outlined five steps that are essential in the creation of this city of miracles: educate the parents, educate the children, provide income-generating projects, improve living conditions, and have fun! Laurien strongly believes that if you tackle all these areas at once, in the end you create real, sustainable change. ‘It’s all about giving the community opportunities, knowledge and tools to change the course of their own lives,’ she says.
We work in a community of 700 people who live in an extremely densely populated and dangerous red light district,’ says Laurien. ‘With the funding we receive from Rituals we’ve been able to open the Rituals Health Care Clinic. Proper healthcare and healthcare education is a basic but very important need for a healthy life, and this affects the entire community.’
Rituals’ continuous support allows Tiny Miracles to maintain a healthcare program. ‘Once a week a (female) doctor from a nearby hospital comes for the day. People queue up, and one by one they go in for their consultation,’ says Laurien. ‘We recently started charging 10 rupees (about 15 cents) per consultation, as part of our larger scheme to make them self-supporting. I strongly believe that if you pay for something, it’s worth something, no matter how small the payment.’
The healthcare program at the Rituals Health Care Clinic includes activities such as children’s weight and length measurements (‘We track this data, and if the child is severely malnourished we supply them with food until they are healthy again,’ says Laurien); cooking classes for mothers; dental clinics; breast-cancer check-ups; and special check-ups and nutrition sessions for pregnant women.
The clinic also hosts one-day sessions on topics such as family planning, domestic violence, malaria, tuberculosis prevention, and treatment for addiction, among other topics, often bringing in external experts. Participation in these sessions is mandatory for the (currently 110) women who work with Tiny Miracles, ensuring that they are fully armed with knowledge.
‘Something that started as a dream in 2011 has now become a real philosophy for eliminating poverty,’ says Laurien. ‘What we do is provide opportunities, which changes people’s way of thinking – we increase their self-confidence so that they really believe in creating their own destinies. We are all about lighting a fire within them!’ (www.tinymiracles.nl)