Ahmedabad is among the fastest-growing cities in India. It has been emerging as an important economic and industrial hub in India. It is the second-largest producer of cotton in India. The people of Ahmedabad are known for their smartness, wit and business acumen. They are also known for being proactive in helping others. In this manner, the quotient of social responsibility is significantly high in the citizens as well as the businesses in Ahmedabad.
In FY2020-21, Ahmedabad was the highest recipient of CSR funds in Gujarat. The district received Rs. Cr. through various CSR initiatives from 587 companies in the last financial year. The top three areas of focus for the CSR programs were: health, education and environment, with an expenditure of Rs. 110.62 Cr., Rs. 76.55 Cr., and Rs. 8.6 Cr. respectively in them. The top three spenders in the district included Gujarat State Financial Services Limited (Rs. 16.5 Cr.), Intas Pharmaceuticals Limited (Rs. 13.64 Cr.), and Gujarat State Petronet Limited (Rs. 11.21 Cr.).
In this context, let us look at the top CSR initiatives in Ahmedabad.
Wagbakri Tea’s ‘SMILE’ Initiative
Waghbakri Tea – the famous tea company – in collaboration with IIM Ahmedabad launched the project SMILE. SMILE stands for Student Mediated Initiative for Learning to Excel. It is a project aimed to promote education among underprivileged students. In the program, the children are imparted basic education in specially constructed classrooms below ‘Gyanshakti Marg Flyover’ beside IIM Campus in Ahmedabad.
In the program, volunteers from within the student community at IIM Ahmedabad or other colleges along with hired teachers teach and mentor underprivileged or drop-out students, primarily hailing from the urban slum areas of Jodhpur Gam and Vastrapur Gam in Ahmedabad. The project envisages vocational training, counselling, entrepreneurship development and other activities for the empowerment of children and youth.
SMILE School comprises two classrooms adequate to accommodate about 60 students at a time, with all the necessary infrastructure required to facilitate learning.
Project by KHS Group for Deaf-Blind and MSIs
Deaf-blindness is identified as a different disability with varying degrees of hearing and visual impairment. Individuals with deaf-blindness and MSIs (multi-sensory impairments) also suffer from additional physical and medical conditions and hence experience extreme challenges in performing day-to-day activities. KHS Group worked with Sense India for the CSR programme being implemented in Ahmedabad. It aims to enable people with deaf-blindness and MSIs to reach and maintain their optimal (physical, sensory, intellectual, psychological and social) functional levels. Through the plan, KHS provides educational and rehabilitation services for the PwDs and engages in capacity building of parents, family members and special educators through training. The project also sensitises the government scheme Samagra Shiksha’s teachers and NGO members working in the field of disability in Gujarat. KHS collaborates with Deaf-blind Regional Centres (DbRC), to strengthen, expand and develop opportunities to ensure that a higher number of people with deaf-blindness can lead a good quality life.
The CSR project promotes community-based rehabilitation and inclusion of children and adults with deaf-blindness. The rehabilitation team comprises a special educator, vocational trainer, physiotherapist, and occupational and speech therapist.
Through various awareness sessions, the programme has led to enhanced sensitisation and advocacy for the rights and needs of people with deafblindness and MSIs. Over 180 special educators, 59 para-medical professionals, 28 Anganwadi workers and 30 NGO professions have undergone capacity building training in 2019. Approx. 241 teachers associated with the Samagara Shiksha mission have been trained for the identification and inclusion of children with deaf-blindness in mainstream schools.
Cadila Pharma’s Kaka-Ba Hospital
Kaka-Ba Hospital is the CSR initiative by Cadila Pharmaceuticals. The hospital was set up in 1985 with a vision for it to play a pivotal role in multi-fold, holistic rural development, impart the latest and quality medical services, create health and hygiene awareness, education and welfare of women and children. In the last three decades of its existence, Kaka-Ba Hospital has been imparting quality healthcare services. To date, the hospital has treated more than 6 lacs patients and has saved hundreds of valuable lives.
Cadila pharma has always been active in terms of its CSR initiatives. At the time of COVID-19, the company was engaged in various initiatives to aid the government in its fight against the pandemic. In the early phase of the pandemic, it collaborated with Gujarat Police and distributed masks and sanitiser bottles to the police team. Later as the food crisis started because of the lockdown, it distributed essential kits to about 400 families. Last year, it collaborated with Akshay Patra Foundation to reach midday meals to about 3000 students at their homes.