And this time the SEED women sure shared happiness through their flowers!

St. Jordi is Barcelona’s and Catalonia’s version of Valentine’s Day and is a one day festival of romance, roses and books, all inspired by the legend of Saint George on 23rd April every year. On Saint Jordi’s Day the men in Barcelona and Catalonia give their partners a red rose, and in recent years a new Saint Jordi tradition is that the ladies give their men a book.  There are bookstalls and book markets all over Barcelona on Saint Jordi’s day. It is a very traditional festivity that combines culture and romanticism. Book and flower stalls are set up along the streets of Barcelona. This curious festival comes from a mixture of traditions from different periods. It coincides, on one hand, with the fact that Saint Jordi has been the patron saint of Catalonia since the 15th century; on the other hand, it comes from the famous legend of St George and the dragon and the old medieval tradition of visiting the Chapel of Saint Jordi in the Government Palace, where a rose fair used to take place. The legend of Saint George is that Saint Jordi slew a dragon to save a princess and then plucked a red rose for the princess from a rose bush, which had sprouted on the exact spot, where the dragon’s red blood had spilled.

SEED women making the roses in India
SEED women making the roses in India

At Mumbai Smiles, a huge order of 1845 roses (400 white and 1445 red) was received from Barcelona for Saint Jordi’s day. The order was received in mid-January and the roses were to be dispatched by 26th-27th of March. The task was to be completed by members of the SEED team.  SEED, a skills development program of Mumbai Smiles, aims to equip women and girls from low-income backgrounds with tangible, marketable skills that can help them earn a proper livelihood. For this purpose, women from nearby areas of Andheri (Mumbai) were enrolled and trained. In all, 14 beneficiaries were trained, of which 5 were our existing SEED beneficiaries and the rest 9 were newly enrolled into the process. It was heartening to see the beneficiaries work day and night to complete the order. The sale proceeds of the roses shall be distributed among the beneficiaries.


Jaume's books for sale
Jaume’s books for sale


Such training to the SEED beneficiaries ensures their socio economic sustainability and independence. In fact, Pravina Mohite, one of the beneficiaries, gave the following feedback after the training:

“I have undertaken the handicraft training in Mumbai Smiles. Now I get orders for craft flowers. Thanks to the SEED team of Mumbai Smiles for this training!!”

While the flowers were ready to be dispatched to Spain from the Mumbai Office, a whole range of activities was organized by their team members in Spain to sell these roses.

Sonrisas de Bombay volunteers in Spain
Sonrisas de Bombay volunteers in Spain

Some of them were:

  • Preparing stands and stalls at Barcelona and Tarragona where the Spain team members and volunteers sold these solidarity roses made by the beneficiaries of the SEED Project.
  • Jaume Sanllorente (Founder of Mumbai Smiles, and also a writer) was personally present at the stand in Barcelona to sign his latest book-The power of smiles for his fans. His books talk about his experience of starting this organization as also its various Projects.
  • Their new campaign ‘They smile, you can make it happen’ was also launched on the same day of Sant Jordi, the 23rd of April.


 Mumbai Smiles founder, Jaume with his fans on Sant Jordi

Mumbai Smiles founder, Jaume with his fans on Sant Jordi


The day came to an end with a huge success where about 1300 of those handmade roses were sold!

Mumbai Smiles continue to embark their journey towards creating a model of a just society, which is free of poverty and where people live with equal rights and opportunities.


The roses
The roses

Text and photos belong to Mumbai Smiles. 

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