Adding colour to their school, and our lives!

The subject of the mail “Inviting Artists” was so overwhelmingly enticing to the people like us who spend our whole time in the workspace, sadly parted from our colourful hobbies. The thought of painting came off as very refreshing to our minds. There was also this feeling of excitement when we got to know that the tiny tots of BBMP Chinnayanpalya were the targeted audience.

 As the schoolchildren were enjoying their summer vacation, TMF in association with volunteers from Tech Mahindra thought of giving them a warm welcome on the school re-opening day by adding an essence of freshness. As a part of that, we initiated a plan to white wash the walls and give the school a brand new look. The activity of cleaning the walls of the classrooms and getting it ready for the white wash lasted around two weekends. We could have hired an external vendor and got the things done in a regular manner, but we did not opt that way though it was easy. Instead, we all assembled and started working on it in spite of the hurdles we came across in accomplishing our plan. 

 

Scrapping the remains on the walls, dusting the rooms and cleaning was a tedious task. Nevertheless, the teamwork paid off well and we could successfully wind up the task over a weekend. Accomplishing the other pending activities such as painting the black boards, white wash of the entire school was the target for the next weekend. It was a challenging task for all the volunteers as no one was aware of white washing and painting the walls. However, the volunteers were so stubborn and never gave up until we got everything done. A strong feeling of inner joy kept us motivated and that is how we achieved our targeted milestone.

 

Our next mission was to paint the educational aids in the classrooms, make specific pictures related to library area, idea zone etc. For adding a touch of beauty to the freshly painted school walls, there was an invite for artistic volunteers. When the interested parties gathered, we held a short meeting to discuss and materialize the third weekend activity. Different themes and educational/informative images aimed at changing the look of classroom walls and the common area, were brought up and listed down. We finally geared up for the planned activity.

 

We distributed the task among all our members and started working on it. It is a wonderful feeling to do paintings on walls. We, who were used to paint on chart papers and canvas boards were immensely happy painting a big picture on the walls. The colorful outcomes depicted cravings of the artists hidden in us and our passion towards these artistic hobbies. Smears of colorful paints on our hands served as a pleasant reminder of the fun we had in this process of decorating the classrooms. 

 

Finally, I would like to thank TMF for giving us this wonderful opportunity, yanking us out of our monotonous routine and awakening our inner artist. Wish to see more of such assignments from TMF and all the very best to the lovely and energetic volunteers who contributed for the event’s success. It leaves us in a great contentment when our efforts contribute in making someone smile.

                                                                                                                                               

           Farheen Khan

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Talking about Menstruation

Talking about Menstruation: No longer taboo! /Rise for Good series/ Volume 5 Issue 2

 

Dear friends,

May 28th is World Menstrual Hygiene Day. The date 28/05 was chosen for its symbolism because the average woman’s cycle takes 28 days and includes 5 days of menstruation. This day, and the week around it in fact, are used globally as a platform to discuss women’s access to menstrual hygiene and create awareness around menstrual health.

At the Tech Mahindra SMART Academy for Healthcare, we invited Dr. Nidhi Sareen, Medical Superintendent of Parmanand Hospital, to talk to our girls about menstrual health. These young women are training to work as allied health professionals, and Dr. Sareen and our team were highly impressed by how open they were to discussing menstrual health practices and social taboos surrounding this issue. Some common myths that were debunked in this session include not allowing women into the kitchen when during menstruation, telling them not to touch achaar, asking them not to exercise and forbidding them from entering the pooja room.

This session has really opened our eyes to this new generation’s willingness to talk about topics that have been shrouded in silence until recently, specially given the milieu many of them come from. While the girls’ frankness has been very encouraging, it is also heartening to note that the young men at the Academy were also keen to learn more about these issues, and it is also important for them to have a clear understanding. We plan to address the gaps in their knowledge as well.

The Academy is a space where our young women can be empowered not just on menstrual health but also onsexual health and reproductive rights. These girls are going to be our ambassadors for health and our ambassadors for change – do watch one of our students, Ritu, speak about gender equality and menstrual hygiene. We are eager to see the changes they will bring about in their homes and future jobs!

Warm regards

Loveleen Kacker

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Kudos to Volunteers

Kudos to our volunteers/ RISE FOR GOOD SERIES/ Volume 5 Issue 1, May 2017

Dear friends,

It’s been a busy time for all of us at Tech Mahindra Foundation. Many of you have joined us across our locations for our 10 Years – 100 Centres celebrations and I would like to thank you all for supporting us.

Last year, we called out to our TML associates and asked them to spend a little time volunteering with us. Our associates responded to our call and how! In one year, we have almost doubled the number of associates who’ve chosen to volunteer with us, going from 7200 individuals in FY15-16 to 14,370 unique volunteers in FY16-17.

Our amazing volunteers have come out en masse to donate blood, plant trees, mentor school children, conduct mock interviews with SMART students, play matches with children and young people with disabilities, carry out a drive for digital literacy and online security, even make a ‘human’ TMF and more.

We couldn’t have asked for more from our hard-working associates, who continue to make time to rise for good with us!
Warm regards,
Loveleen Kacker

       FY 14-15    FY 15-16   FY 16-17

      7200      14370      5600

          Unique          Unique         Unique

      Volunteers    Volunteers   Volunteers

      49132     70620     43993

   Volunteering     Volunteering     Volunteering

        Hours                    Hours                 Hours

 

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ITEI – Five Years of Creating Happier Classrooms

Rise for Good series/ Volume 6 Issue 2/ ITEI / Five years of creating happier classrooms!

Dear Friends,

Government schools come under a lot of flak for underperforming, and in most cases, rightfully so. Some time ago, I’d spoken about how government school teachers are not under-qualified, but what is missing is a ‘tadka’ of motivation, pushing them to transact better in the classroom.

One project shattering the stereotype of the disinterested teacher is the In-Service Teacher Education Institute (ITEI), the result of a successful public private partnership between Tech Mahindra Foundation and the East Delhi Municipal Corporation (EDMC). EDMC directly runs 365 primary schools. It employs nearly 5,500 teachers to teach 2.15 lakh children. That many of these children come from poor, marginalised families and some are migrants and refugees, pose additional challenges in the classrooms. This year, ITEI will complete five years. From starting out in two rooms, it now has a dedicated building, with training rooms, a conference room and crucially, a Teacher Resource Centre, from where teachers can borrow not only books but also teaching aids. Perhaps one of the most significant changes we have managed to bring about has been in the attitude of the teachers – where they now look forward to workshops with our trainers, rather than viewing it as yet another duty to discharge. Here’s a short video on what ITEI has accomplished over the past few years.

 

 

 

 

I am pleased to share that EDMC is keen to extend this partnership beyond the original five years, and other municipal corporations have expressed interest in a similar programme being created for their schools.

We hope that in the coming years, ITEI will show that government schools can deliver value to their students.
Warm regards,
Loveleen Kacker

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Fauzia’s Story

Fauzia’s story /Rise for Good series/ Volume 5 Issue 3

Dear Friends,

When our Mumbai team met with Mr. Keshub Mahindra a few months ago, we were delighted to hear that he wanted to have a personal interaction with some of our SMART students. And so, a few of our team members and a group of students trooped along to the Gateway Building for a meeting of their lifetimes. While we ourselves had a rough idea of the kind of experiences the students would share, one student, Fauzia Sayeed stood out for the remarkable story she shared with Keshub and the group.

 

Fauzia fell seriously ill when she was in her 12th standard. So ill, that she could not continue her studies and her father had to take out a loan of more than 3 lakhs to look after her. Her family struggled to put food on the table and Fauzia herself was burdened by the guilt of the strain her illness had placed on the family. As Fauzia recovered from her illness, and as she met others suffering from even worse problems in the hospital, she developed a new perspective. As Fauzia said, “Talking to others made my problems seem smaller, more petty and theirs bigger. I started to wonder about how I could help, and then I came across the NGO Sneha that runs a SMART center.”

 

 

 

 

The rest, as they say, is history. Fauzia trained as a General Duty Assistant, basically a nurse’saide, and got a job in a hospital. From starting with a stipend of Rs 5000/-, two years on, she earns Rs 17,000/- a month and is helping her father pay back his loans. She has a new drive to succeed and in fact, hopes to reappear for her 12th standard exams and clear the medical entrance exam to become a doctor. It is girls like Fauzia who are going to be the change we want to see in society, and from the Foundation, we promise that we will try to support Fauzia to further her dreams.

Click here to watch Fauzia tell Keshub Mahindra her story!

Warm regards,
Loveleen Kacker

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Jaspreet

 Rise for Good series/ Volume 5 Issue 5/Spotlight on the SMART Academy, Delhi

Jaspreet: Hospital Front Office & Billing Executive, Moolchand Hospital

 

 

Dear Friends,

We’ve been running the first Tech Mahindra SMART Academy for Healthcare for the past year. A little more than a year down the line, we’re delighted to share some success stories from the Academy. This is the first of a three part series.

Nineteen year old vivacious Jaspreet has not let her difficult life get her down. One of a family of four, she was studying in grade eleven in the government secondary school, Adarsh Nagar when her father (who owns a TV repair shop) met with an accident, and suffered a spinal injury that left him bedridden. The family found itself faced with an extended sickness and hospitalization in a major hospital.

“Surgery cost… huge… We are financially backward and my brother earns Rs 17,000… Family is first..” says an ever smiling Jaspreet.

She always wanted to be in the medical field and when her mother heard about the Tech Mahindra SMART Academy for Healthcare,she visited it, and immediately loved the greenery, the infrastructure and the teachers she met.

“Medical space fascinates me,” Jaspreet says. “I go home and look after my father who I am very emotionally connected to. On Sundays I like going to the Sisgunj Gurdwara and listening to the Gurbani.”

 

 

 

Jaspreet’s self confidence and fluency in English helped her ace two intense interviews taken by Moolchand Hospital, and receive an offer of Rs 1,68,000 per year as a CTC. She is the very first student from our first ever Hospital Front Office & Billing Executive batch from the SMART Academy, Delhi to be recruited. We are proud to see Jaspreet at the helm in
Moolchand Hospital!

Warm regards,

Loveleen Kacker

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Sanjay

Rise for Good series/ Volume 5 Issue 6/Spotlight on the SMART Academy, Delhi

Sanjay: Emergency Medical Technician

 

 

Dear Friends,

This is the second of our three stories of our Tech Mahindra SMART Academy students making their way in the competitive healthcare sector in New Delhi.

 

Sanjay, the eldest of seven children, could not study beyond the first year of college because he had to earn money to help his father who was a rickshaw driver. Sanjay’s father drove his e-rickshaw in the daytime and Sanjay drove it at night. Between the two of them, they just about managed to earn Rs 10,000 a month, and sometimes, not even that much.

“I used to work all night and spend the day thinking about how I can earn more money,” says Sanjay. “Then a friend who was doing the GDA course told me about the SMART Academy.”

 

“It was like the sun had come out,” says Sanjay. “Suddenly, I knew this was what I wanted to do.” He enrolled in a nine month long course to become an Emergency Medical Technician, and his mother had to borrow money to pay the fees. He successfully completed the course and had the opportunity to be at Sir Gangaram Hospital for his month long on-job-training.

 

 

 

 

 

“I was terrified when I went for the interview,” says a beaming Sanjay, who in fact cleared his interview and landed a job at Moolchand Hospital with a monthly salary of Rs 14,000. We are very proud of Sanjay, and we are sure that any patient he looks after is in safe hands!

Best of luck Sanjay!

Warm regards,

Loveleen Kacker

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10 Years-100 Centres

Dear colleagues,

Today Tech Mahindra Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Tech Mahindra Ltd. reaches two important milestones.

The first milestone is that April 2017 marks ten years since the establishment of the Foundation. Since 2007, we have been diligently working in the areas of education, employability and inclusivity for persons with disabilities.

What I would like to say here is that it is not the mere fact of completing 10 years that is noteworthy, but the journey the Foundation has taken over the past decade.

Mr. Anand Mahindra said to us once, “Education is the single most powerful intervention for transforming lives.” India is a young country compared to many developed nations. The median age is 29 years, and a majority of the population is below the age of 35. There has been a lot of buzz around India’s ‘demographic dividend’ waiting to be tapped, and an equal amount of concern about the same young people whose progress in life might be obstructed by a lack of access to education and skills at the right time. We hope to make sure the ‘demographic dividend’ pays off by living our motto of ‘Empowering through Education’.

A SMART Solution

With this in mind, in addition to our school support programmes ARISE (All-Round Improvement in School Education) and Shikshaantar (where we train teachers from government schools), we began to work in the area of skill development 5 years ago. In 2012-13, we opened three SMART (Skills for Market Training) centres to skill young people in urban areas, most of whom were school drop-outs or unable to continue to higher education. We taught them English, computer skills and crucially, coached them in ‘workplace readiness’ so that our SMART trainees could walk into a new job prepared for what would be expected of them. Two years ago, KPMG assessed SMART and concluded that there is a social return on investment (SROI) of Rs 13.29 for every rupee invested. When the most vulnerable in society are empowered, everybody benefits.

In five years, we have grown from 3 to 99 centres and have imparted skills to 50,000 young people. Under the banner of SMART, we created SMART+ which skills persons with disabilities and SMART-T which imparts technical training. Last year, we raised the bar for our SMART programme by establishing the Tech Mahindra SMART Academy for Healthcare in New Delhi, which has the capacity to train up to 2000 allied health professionals in a year.

This brings us to our second milestone.

Today we will inaugurate the 100th SMART centre in Mumbai, in association with the Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deaf-blind. This centre is the first of its kind as it will tailor elements of SMART-T and SMART+ to provide technical training to persons with disabilities.

Where we are now

The TMF team has grown to over 50 people in 12 cities across India. We have been fortunate to see our programmes deliver value to our beneficiaries and also to society in general. It’s been a joy to see more and more of you join us in volunteering every year. 2016-17 saw the largest rise in both how many of you volunteered and how many hours you spent volunteering with us.

Here’s where we will stand by the end of today:

12000+ Volunteers

100 SMART Centres

67 Education and Disability Projects

50,000 young people skilled

Over 2,50,000 beneficiaries across programmes

Going forward

As the world progresses, it is all the more imperative that we ensure that our young people at the bottom of the pyramid are not left in the past by what the future holds. We do not hold the answers to all the problems society faces, and we know that our work touches a fraction of the total number of people who need interventions like SMART to be able to take charge of their lives.

The road so far has neither been easy nor perfect. We have struggled against the challenges of India’s huge young population, made mistakes and come away wiser for them. Through all these years, what has ensured that we persisted, even when we worried about the impact we were making, has been the unstinting support the Tech Mahindra family has given us.

We now have a decade of learning and growth behind us, and are earning the trust of the communities we work with. We are quietly confident about taking on the challenges of the next 10 years.

A small note:

Going beyond numbers, it is absolutely crucial to understand what it really means to ‘impact’ someone’s life. On the occasion of 10 Years – 100 Centres of Tech Mahindra Foundation, we’ve created a short video called ‘Do Gullak’ (Two Piggybanks) loosely inspired by a true story to showcase what ‘empowering through education’ really means.

And to all of you at Tech M, please know that all your efforts, and our efforts are together making someone’s life – and nearly 2,50,000 other lives – change for the better!

Warm regards,

Loveleen Kacker

CEO

Tech Mahindra Foundation

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Saba Khan

Rise for Good series/ Volume 5 Issue 7/Spotlight on the SMART Academy, Delhi

Saba Khan: General Duty Assistant, Rotary Blood Bank, Noida

 

 

Dear Friends,

Married at 17, mother at 18 and widowed at 19, and today Saba Khan is a 20 year old General Duty Assistant at the Rotary Blood Bank, Noida. In today’s Rise for Good newsletter, we’re sharing the last of a three part series from the Tech Mahindra SMART Academy for Healthcare, New Delhi.

Born in a port family with three brothers, a mother and no father, Saba was married off at the tender age of 17 years to Riaz Khan who worked in an export house. Within a year, the young couple was blessed with a baby girl. Just when Saba felt that she could consider going back to school, fate struck a blow and Riaz Khan passed away in an accident.

 

 

Saba’s in-laws refused to take care of either Saba or her infant daughter. She went back to her mother’s house, where the burden of looking after her own daughter, her mother and two younger brothers fell squarely on Saba’s shoulders. Fortunately, Saba heard about the SMART Academy from one of the mobilisers.

 

“The happiest day of my life was when I was appointed as a General Duty Assistant with the Rotary Blood Bank. I will educate my daughter and I will not marry her before she is 21 years,” says a determined Saba. “Thank you Tech Mahindra for helping me.”

 

 

With a role model like Saba before her, we’re confident that Saba’s little daughter has a brighter future ahead of her thanks to her mother.

Best of luck Saba

Warm regards,

Loveleen Kacker

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Seeds of Innovation

Seeds of innovation/ Rise for Good series/ Volume 5 Issue 4

 

Dear Friends,

“If you studied a textbook on driving, how well would you be able to drive a car?”

This question, raised at the inauguration of the science teacher training institute in Hyderabad, drives home the strong need for practical experience in addition to theory in the Indian education system.

Tech Mahindra Foundation and the Sahayata Trust have together set up the training programme centred around the idea that science teachers should ‘Do – Learn – Teach’ i.e. that a teacher should ‘Do’ in order to ‘Learn’ and only then ‘Teach’.

 

 

Within the old city limits of Hyderabad, not very far from the Char Minar, is a densely populated conservative neighborhood. And it is right here that seeds of innovation are being sown thanks to the recently-launched teacher training programmer.

The Academy itself is full of quirky surprises, like the test-tube chandelier shown here. We’ve also created ‘science kits’ that teachers can take back to their schools to use in classrooms.

Here’s a short video to give you a glimpse of the purpose and passion that drives this mission!

 

 

 

Warm regards,

Loveleen Kacker

 

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