|Corporate Social Responsibility|
EDISPHERE Software Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) Group.
Origin of The CSR Group:
EDISPHERE Software's CSR program was initiated on Jan 14, 2007 during inauguration of it's Nagpur office, wherein the Company's managing director, Ajay Sanghi, announced the vision of the CSR program. The Company's CSR group is headed by it's Director (Human Resources), Aneeta Vijayakar, and comprises of Executive Board Members, Advisory Board members who are eminent social workers, and EDISPHERE staff who along with trained facilitators and associates are executing the social responsibility. The group has appointed a full time CSR coordinator for carrying out the CSR activities.
The 'SWADESHI' CSR Model:
The CSR group has established a social responsibility model, based on Mahatma Gandhi's "Swadeshi" principles, which suggests that the social responsibility be first extended to the nearest deprived neighborhood; and hence the Company has taken up the responsibility of making a socio-economic difference in "Takiya", a slum comprising of about 5000 households. The group envisions that this model can be easily replicated by both large and small companies across the nation in their neighborhood to make an organized difference, which otherwise is 'random' by way of 'donations'.
"If every one of us performed his duty to his neighbor, no one in the world who needed assistance would be left unattended to" -Mahatma Gandhi
Gandhiji defined Swadeshi as "that spirit in us which restricts us to the use and service of our immediate surroundings to the exclusion of the more remote." In the context of the CSR, Swadeshi is that spirit in us which requires us to serve our immediate neighbors before others.
The group envisioned that by carrying out social responsibility activities in the neighborhood, it would enable the company to utilize it's resources (financial, equipments, human resources) better, monitor the success of their CSR program better, and also experience the joy of making the social difference on a day to day basis.
As envisioned, EDISPHERE staff members actively and regularly participate in the company's CSR activities, which is often the topic of discussion during lunch breaks. This has immensely helped the company's CSR program since our staff members feel a huge sense of purpose and bonding in what they are doing as part of their normal working; and this has in turn made the company a better place to work.
The CSR group is getting excellent cooperation from Nagpur Municipal Corporation, local corporator, NGOs, social organization such as Rotary International, and local partners such as Pandhripande Computer Institute. The CSR group is overwhelmed with the response from local well-to-do individuals who after learning about the CSR program voluntarily come to assist in the group's activities from time to time.
The CSR Activities.
The CSR group has identified the following activities for execution in a phased manner:
The CSR group carried out a survey/research to identify the cause of dropouts in Takiya children. The group has identified that dropouts in children are maximum between 8th to 10th standard mainly due to poor command of English language (spoken and written) and Mathematics, which inhibits further studies and employment. The group has therefore appointed an English and Math teacher for 1st to 10th standard Takiya children, in Takiya library (located in the heart of Takiya), graciously provided by Nagpur Municipal Corporation, who are key associate in the group's activities.
After having worked in Takiya for over 5 years, the Group has identified lack of Internet facility as the major reason for their poor performance and inferiority complex. Further, their creativity skills are hugely suppressed. The Group has therefore started an Innovation Centre in Takiya, which is equipped with high speed internet connection, laptops and programs to flourish creativity in the children. The Innovation Centre is housed in Takiya library (located in the heart of Takiya), graciously provided by Nagpur Municipal Corporation, who are key associate in the Group’s CSR activities.
The group had earlier appointed a full time English and Math teacher for 1st to 10th standard Takiya children, which it has discontinued from April 2012, as the belief now is that simply empower the children with Internet facility, motivate them, make them inquisitive/creative; and they will do wonders. Besides, with high speed internet connectivity at Takiya and websites like www.khanacademy.com, www.ixl.com, www.freevideolectures.com, etc., the children can learn from the best of the teachers on demand!
Striking Note - It is very heartening to see 100s of Takiya children coming to study in Takiya library; caring for their career. The CSR group is overwhelmed with the response of Takiya children and their parents; and it envisions that in next couple of years, a critical mass of children will be at par with the mainstream with similar examination scores in the competitive exams, which will help transform Takiya even more rapidly.
b. Health and Hygiene
The CSR group carries out health and hygiene programs from time to time by way of educational documentary films, lectures, notices/posters, anemia detection and eradication camps for teenaged girls, preventing water contamination, etc., in cooperation with Nagpur Municipal Corporation and NGOs.
In the scorching heat of Nagpur summer, every year it results in several residents of "Takiya" suffering from diarrhea, sun stroke, etc. In post rainy season, water accumulation results in diseases related to mosquito bites, contaminated water, etc. The group is formulating a low cost workable plan, in co-operation with the Municipal Corporation to ensure that the residents of "Takiya" do not suffer in summer and post rainy seasons. Women in Takiya will be provided social training to ensure that their household do not suffer.
c. Skills Development for Employment
The CSR group carries out personality development programs, skills in driving, typing, tailoring, beauty parlor, craft, electrician, plumbing, etc. with the help of ITI and local NGOs for self-development and better job-prospects among the youth so that they can earn decent living. For last three years, the Takiya girls have started participating in the ladies Vidarbha Industries Association (VIA) annual fair, where a stall is provided to them for free in which they sell professionally finished craft and have been doing good business.
The CSR group has recognized that women in the slums be empowered by way of employment and education as it benefits the entire household.
d. Social Integration
The CSR group carries out cultural activities such as folk dances by Takiya boys and girls in EDISPHERE's corporate functions, holding cultural evenings in Takiya during festival seasons, etc.; in order to showcase their talent and also to mingle them with the mainstream. Such occasions also provide an opportunity to distribute EDISPEHRE CSR certificates to those who stand out in completions such as drawing competition, essay competition, elocution, etc., which are held from time to time to encourage and also to remove the fear of competition in Takiya children.
The CSR group has recognized that it is important for the Takiya residents to socially mingle with the mainstream to remove inferiority complex and feeling of 'alienation'. Being in the same environment shoulder-to-shoulder would help removing psychological barriers.
Miscellaneous - The lessons learnt, Observations, Suggestions
The CSR group is grateful to all those without whose help the CSR activities would not have been so successful. The group would like to extend their sincere thanks to :