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Rakesh Soni
CEO, Tech Mahindra Foundation

“When the COVID-19 pandemic first broke out, it disrupted the socio-economic balance of the world in a way we had never witnessed before. It devastated not just the way we work but the way we live. For us at The Tech Mahindra Foundation, overcoming this was not just our corporate social responsibility (CSR). It was a call of duty for swift action on the ground to help our most vulnerable communities. We knew we needed to step up not just as individuals but as the collective Mahindra Group firmly.”

Tech Mahindra Social Programs

Central to the Mahindra Group philosophy of #RiseForGood, the CSR arm of Tech Mahindra essentially works with children and youth from urban & disadvantaged communities in India. The Foundation is running more than 150+ projects with the help of 90+ partners across 11 locations of India. Over the years, the Foundation has impacted 3,32,732 direct beneficiaries across all the programs (as of 31 March 2022). In FY 2021-22, we impacted 41,374 direct beneficiaries through all our programs. In addition, over 2.5 million lives were impacted through our 582 COVID Relief Projects across 17 states in India (as of 31 March 2022).

To know more, please visit

TECHMAHINDRAFOUNDATION.ORG

Tech Mahindra Foundation Programs

Founded in the year 2006, the Tech Mahindra Foundation works extensively on the vision of ‘Empowerment through Education’ and trying to bring a social change by touching lives through its programs.

  • Education
  • Employability
  • Disability
  • Mobile Science Lab
  • COVID Program

Promoting Education

The Foundation’s work in primary education focuses upon three thematic areas: school improvement, teacher empowerment, and learning enrichment. The programs are run in two modes- directly implemented through the Foundation and with partner organizations.

Through the ARISE (All Round Improvement in School Education) program, the Foundation works in government schools with the objective of holistic development of children in these schools. The ARISE program builds upon four dimensions that include academic, social, organizational, and infrastructural to help schools turn into models of excellence. Since FY 2015-16, around 1,50,922 children have been supported through our education programs. In FY 2021-22, the Foundation was able to reach out to 13,409 children (including 3,792 children with disabilities) in various primary government schools across India were benefitted.

Additionally, the Foundation started the Mobile Science Lab, an innovative initiative in the area of education. It is a well-equipped bus providing a learning environment that visits the primary government schools in Delhi as a travelling laboratory for EVS (Science) hands-on activities and facilitates the learning of students from Classes 3 to 5. Since its launch in 2019, it has benefitted over 6,233 students in 19 government schools.

Tech Mahindra Foundation is committed to teacher empowerment, enrichment of learning opportunities for children, effective school governance, and enhancing parental involvement in school education. In the domain of education, Shikshaantar is the Foundation’s training program for teachers. The Foundation runs premier in-service teacher capacity-building institute called In-Service Teacher Education Institute (ITEI) situated at Dilshad Garden and Shakti Nagar. Since FY 2015-16, a total of 46,355 teachers benefitted from capacity-building workshops at ITEI. In FY 2020-21, the Foundation trained 6, 378 teachers to improve teaching-learning experiences, whereas this number increased to 9,573 in FY 2021-22.

Training for Employment

Launched in the year 2012, SMART has the vision of creating a model for the vocational training program of international standards in the country. SMART (Skills for Market Training) is Tech Mahindra Foundation’s flagship employability program to empower youth from economically backward urban communities. It provides them with the requisite employability skills through structured training programs, ensuring that they are placed in suitable dignified jobs. In SMART training centres, there are a total of 15 domains and 50 courses are being offered to students/youth through SMART, SMART+ (for Persons with Disabilities), and SMART-T (Technical) Centres located across India.

Following the success of the SMART Centres, the Foundation initiated the SMART Academies which offer specialized, longer duration courses at our directly implemented academies. The first Tech Mahindra SMART Academy for Healthcare, New Delhi started operations in May 2016 in collaboration with Harijan Sevak Sangh (a social development organisation, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1932). The goal of setting up these academies was twofold — create, build, and nurture skilled paramedical and allied healthcare workforce for the healthcare sector along with uplifting country's youth and transforming them into world-class healthcare professionals.

Today, the Foundation runs four Tech Mahindra SMART Academies in Healthcare, three SMART Academies for Digital Technologies and one SMART Academy for Logistics. It directly implemented programs within employability. The academies are state-of-the-art centres imparting high-quality training, with a blend of classroom, practical, and on-the-job training. The academies closely engage with the industry for constant curriculum up-gradation and placements.

Since FY 2012-13, a total of 1,35,455 young men and women have been trained in SMART Centres and Academies. In FY 2021-22, under the SMART umbrella, the Foundation trained 18,392 youth (including 1,526 Persons with Disabilities) across the nation. More than 75% of the trained youth are placed in jobs upon successful completion of the training, across multiple industries.

Enabling the Specially-abled

Disability is the third major area of intervention for Tech Mahindra Foundation. The Foundation has been working towards the welfare of people with disabilities with a firm belief that education and skilling are the keys to a future that creates opportunities transcending physical limitations. Our endeavour at the Foundation is to recognize & respect disability and support people with disabilities, empowering them to join the mainstream in the long run. The initiatives are carried out by our ARISE+ (All Round Improvement in Special Education) and SMART+ (Skills-for Market Training for people with disabilities) programs.

The SMART+ program focuses on providing employable market-related entrepreneurial skills, and opportunities to youth with disabilities. Specially designed curriculum and well-equipped classrooms in the centres allow young people with disabilities to obtain different Foundation skills like basic IT and computers, spoken English, and workplace readiness. Since FY 2013-14, around 12,211 Persons with Disabilities benefitted from skill development training under SMART+ program. In the FY 2021-22, SMART+ trained a total of 1,526 Persons with Disabilities and 1,701 during the FY 2020-21.

ARISE+ is a special program that encourages children with disabilities such as visual impairment, hearing impairment, and intellectual disability to become a part of mainstream education with an emphasis on various educational & curriculum-based learnings and initiatives to support them in their primary school education. Since FY 2013-14, 43,601 Children with Disabilities have been supported with inclusive education as part of ARISE+ program. In FY 2021-22, ARISE+ program reached and benefitted, 3,792 Children with Disabilities by providing chronic therapy as well as special education, to help them lead fulfilling lives.

Also, the Foundation mandates that 10% of all its beneficiaries are people with disabilities. To know more, please visit

techmahindraFoundation.org

Mobile Science Lab

Tech Mahindra Foundation launched Mobile Science Lab- a bus equipped with hands-on activities of EVS (Sciences). The Mobile Science Lab aims to provide a well-equipped learning and creative environment to enhance the curiosity level of the budding scientists and environmentalists. Since the launch of the Mobile Science Lab in 2019, the lab on wheels was able to facilitate the scientific learning experience by providing adequate infrastructure in over 19 government schools, benefitting over 6,233 students.

Mobile Science Lab focuses on gaining knowledge through activity-based learning and innovative thinking among government school students. The monthly outcomes include:

  • Reaches students in 19 schools every month where the student interaction is at multiple frequencies.
  • Touching 57 classrooms of Grades 3 to 5
  • Aims at conducting 200 experiments
  • Trained and facilitated 57 government school teachers

Mobile Science Lab is equipped with inquiry-based curricular materials and equipment that are engaging, substantive and thought-provoking for effective teaching-learning processes. The bus was procured from Mahindra Trucks and Buses Limited, while the lab has been developed by My Stem Lab. The Mobile Science Lab was launched on World Children's Day (20 November) with the aim to create happier classrooms and focus on creating innovative teaching-learning process of EVS.

Salient Features of the bus:

  • Capacity to conduct classes for 45 learners at a time
  • 43 Inch Smart LCD screen with smart board features
  • Multiple posters as per concepts being taught
  • Folding tables as per the height of primary grade students
  • Air condition
  • Generator backup

Safety Features:

  • GPS tracking
  • CCTV enabled live streaming
  • First Aid Kit
  • Fire Extinguisher
  • Provision for Oxygen Cylinder

COVID Relief & Rehabilitation Program

Tech Mahindra Foundation sensed the severity of the situation since the COVID-19 hit the nation and focused on implementing the COVID Relief Program that intends to direct the support towards the most vulnerable population segments in the quickest possible time. As a matter of fact, within the first two weeks of the pandemic led lockdown across the country made the social disparities more evident as people from the vulnerable communities suffered from hunger and little access to safety gear. This situation was staring right into the eyes and directed us to identify the five crucial challenges we need to focus on while strategizing an effective and sustainable relief program.

Challenges addressed through our COVID program

  • Food Security and Immediate relief
  • Urgent need of the Allied Healthcare Professionals
  • Frontline Workers not trained to deal with situation and extend the relief work
  • Schools and Colleges shut down and the Gap in Digital Skills & Technology access
  • Side effects of 100% online teaching-learning; Increase in Mental Health and Child Abuse cases

COVID Relief Interventions

Considering the challenges and their suitable solutions during the pandemic, the foundation enunciated the goal for COVID Relief with the following statement:

“To direct the support towards the most vulnerable population segments in the quickest possible time.”

This statement has guided us towards taking quick decisions and staying focused during these wickedly unpredictable times. To combat the consequences of the pandemic, we worked relentlessly to direct the support towards the most vulnerable population including Healthcare workers, Security Personnel, Sanitation Workers, Migrant Workers, Farmers, Transgender Community and more. We focused on implementing this COVID Relief Program that intends to direct the support towards the most vulnerable population segments in the quickest possible time. Our COVID Relief Work is continuing through 582 COVID Relief Projects across 17 states in the country (as of 31 March 2022).

Just when we thought that the end of the COVID pandemic was on the horizon, the second wave came upon us stronger than ever. In the Second Wave of the Pandemic, focus has shifted to supporting hospitals with critical medical infrastructure, including oxygen cylinders, concentrators, beds, cardiac monitors and other supplies. We ramped up our training programs to upskill healthcare professionals and frontline workers.

COVID Rehabilitation Interventions

Tech Mahindra Foundation was sensitive to the idea of our programs getting affected due to the pandemic. Hence, there were initiatives and interventions introduced to strengthen our programs while maintaining long-term solutions to the challenges that arose during the pandemic. Resilience in human beings is defined as ‘the strength in people to recover quickly or fight back’ and the pandemic has certainly shaped the way for us as an organisation to adapt to significant changes. We have learned the importance of adapting to change, giving mental health the spotlight, reaching out and supporting every section of society during these tough times, and making sure that learning never stops.

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