Our StoryWho we are & What we do
Mission & Vision
Mother Miracle is a registered non-profit in the United States and India dedicated to empowering children from the slums of Rishikesh, India to reach their highest potential. Upon graduating from our K-12 school, we provide University scholarships & job placement assistance to enable students to give back to their community by helping their families, and by sponsoring a new child in our school; thus breaking the cycle of poverty. We further serve the community by providing free computer courses for young adults & vocational trainings for women.
What We Do
We address social issues in the Rishikesh community from multiple angles, creating a unified force against poverty, disease, & illiteracy. Our primary focus is running a K-12 school, offering the highest quality education, nutrition, & healthcare for exceptionally intelligent children from the slums. Because our student’s families cannot afford to send them to University, we also provide scholarships to all students who choose to continue their education. Upon graduation, we help students to find a job using our community network. This allows them to financially assist their families, which is a cultural norm in India. And most importantly, it enables them to give back to the school by sponsoring a new kindergarten child at Mother Miracle. This lifetime bond with the school helps to break the cycle of poverty.
In addition to the K-12 school, we support members of the Rishikesh community, by providing a free government-certified Vocational Training & Computer Institute for young adults, as well as a Women’s Empowerment Program to teach knitting, tailoring, and other practical skills to uneducated women in the community. There is also an on-site Mother Miracle Bakery which is open to the public.100% of the profits from the bakery support the K-12 school programs. Additionally, the bakery bakes a nutritious afternoon meal for all of the school’s students and staff. For many of them, this will be their last meal of the day.
Who is Mother Miracle?
The story of a woman from San Francisco who gave up everything to serve.
During a visit to India in 1995, Shahla Ettefagh was so moved by seeing children living in extreme poverty that she vowed to come back to India to dedicate her life to helping poor children and families, especially women. In 2002, she fearlessly sold her house, business and personal belongings. She said goodbye to her family, friends and the love of her life. She ripped up all her photo albums to avoid the temptation of returning, and she moved to India to start a new life without ever looking back.
Our Team of Miracle Workers
Leadership & Trustees
Mrs. Shahla Ettefagh
President & Founder
Mrs. Ettefagh is the President and Founder of Mother Miracle. Shahla holds a Master’s degree in Architecture, and a Bachelor’s degree in Sociology and Child Psychology from the University of San Francisco. In 1984, she started a successful commercial interior art design firm and an adult community art school in the Bay Area of San Francisco. She moved to India in 2002 with the mission of providing opportunity for extremely impoverished children through education, empowerment and unconditional love.
How did she get the name Mother Miracle? Through founding Mother Miracle School she took on the role of a mother for hundreds of Indian children born into the slums. As a foreigner, she was told India would “eat her up” and she faced many challenges, but her belief in miracles and the grace of God allowed her to perservere.
In 2016, Shahla was awarded a ‘Certificate for Outstanding Achievements’ by the International Business Council in Delhi, and the ‘Jewel of India Award’ by the Indian Solidarity Council in 2015.
Mr. Yogesh Uniyal
Trust Secretary, Computer Institute & School Director
Mr. Uniyal is the Director of the Youth Vocational Center at Mother Miracle and also assists in managing the K-12 School. He has fourteen years’ experience in computer education. He holds a Master’s in American Literature from Garhwal University and a Master’s of Computer Application from Sikkim Manipal University. Mr. Yogesh is famous in Mother Miracle for going above and beyond. He attends examinations with his adult students, joins the primary students in their games, and generously shares his warmth and positive energy with everyone at Mother Miracle.
Mr. Dwayne Smallen
Mr. Vishal Bindal
Ms. Maryam Ettefagh
Mr. Smallen has been one of Mother Miracle’s earliest sponsors and long time supporters. He joined our Board of Trustees in 2009. He has a technical degree from the Phoenix Institute of Technology and currently works as a software engineer in the San Francisco Bay Area. He has been instrumental in helping to spread the word about Mother Miracle in the United States and in helping to find sponsors for our children.
Mr. Bindal was raised in Rishikesh, India. In 1995 he earned his degree in Architecture from Guru Nanak Dev University in Amritsar. While studying he began designing buildings for an architecture firm. After graduation, he started Aakar Architects in Rishikesh. His successful firm designs government and private structures such as luxury apartments, hospitals, and colleges throughout North India. In 2002, Mr. Bindal began offering his generous support to Mother Miracle. He has helped to design our buildings, and his firm has donated our architectural designs. Mr. Bindal and his wife live in Rishikesh with their cute little girl, Aadya.
Ms. Ettefagh is the sister of Mother Miracle Director, Shahla Ettefagh. She holds a bachelor’s degree in Interior Design from California College of the Arts. She owns and manages residential and commercial properties in the San Francisco Bay Area. Since the beginning of the project she has been volunteering with Mother Miracle, managing our home office and accounting in the United States. She visits our project in India every two years to offer her ideas and insights. Her daughter, Jasmine, is a graduate of the University of California, Sacramento. She has also visited the project and helps us in any way she can.
Teachers & Staff
Mrs. Suman Painuly
School Principal & Physical Teacher
Mr. Sohan Rana
School Vice Principal & Math Teacher
Mr. Prateek Rastogi
School Coordinator & Computer Teacher
Mr. Rajni Bisht
The Mother Miracle Trust is a 501(c)(3) Nonprofit Organization in the United States, and an 80G Registered Trust with the Indian government. We have 36 paid staff members and our Founder & President, Shahla Ettefagh volunteers her time to Mother Miracle and abstains from receiving a salary. On our lean annual budget, we maximize the impact of every dollar — annually, we impact the lives of 300 kids through our K-12 school and since founding, we’ve supported nearly 2,000 community members through our vocational programs.
Since our founding in 2005, we have relied almost exclusively on the generosity of individual sponsors and donors, who collectively make up 89% of our nonprofit income. We recognize that the strength of a nonprofit requires diversified funding streams, and we are actively working on improvements in this area. Most notably, in 2016 we built a for-profit bakery connected to Mother Miracle School, and partnered with one of the top Executive Chefs in the state to run it. 70% of future profits from the bakery will help fund our non-profit programming. Further, we are ramping up our development efforts with the help of committed volunteers and plan to apply for several grants in 2017.
School – India
School Address: Near Pranav Niketan Ashram, Shisham Jhari, Muni ki Reti, Rishikesh, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand 249137, India
Office – India
India Mailing Address: Shahla Ettefagh, A1 2nd Floor, Ganga Sthal Apartment, Muni ki Reti, Rishikesh, Tehri Garhwal, Uttarakhand 249137, India
Bakery – India
Bakery Address: Shisham jhari,Gali No. 40, Next to Indira Nikunj, Muni ki Reti, Rishikesh, Uttarakhand 249137, India
USA – Contact
+1 (415) 259-5702 – Rings in India (Call between 8:00am – 10:00am & 8:00pm – 10:00pm)
United States Mailing Address: 8 Mariners Circle, San Rafael CA 94903, USA