Pairs of little feet walking confidently towards school with school bag on their shoulders, hope in their eyes and smile on their faces— this is the present day picture at Gambhiraopet, a remote village in Sircilla district of Telangana. Till date this village didn’t have a proper school building, causing major inconvenience to the young learners. However, Gambhiraopet now boasts of a school building with amenities benchmarked to international standards, which is a CSR initiative of Mindspace Business Parks REIT.
Mr Vinod Rohira, CEO, Mindspace Business Parks REIT talks to The CSR Journal about why they decided to build a school in this village in collaboration with the Government of Telangana and why there is a ‘critical need’ to improve facilities for education especially in India’s rural areas. Following are excerpts from the conversation.
1. Mindspace REIT has recently built and donated a school building to the Government of Telangana. Please tell us about this project.
Mindspace REIT has constructed an all-new educational facility for the children from the quaint little village of Gambhiraopet, in Sircilla district of Telangana. The school is a first in the village, replete with amenities benchmarked to international standards. The school has classrooms spread over 10,000+ sq. ft. We have also equipped the school with a library and training centers, spread over an additional 10,000+ sq. ft.
We have leveraged our expertise in construction, to benefit the community and future generations. With ‘education’ as a powerful lever in Mindspace REIT’s ESG initiatives, we are backed by a clear purpose to ‘build sustainable ecosystems.’ Through this initiative, our endeavour has been to provide a top-notch education facility that is invested in not just teaching kids to count, but more importantly to teach them what counts. This development has been undertaken by us in collaboration with the Government of Telangana State and executed under the aegis of K Raheja Foundation.
2. Why did you choose to build a school for Gambhiraopet village, in Sircilla district of Telangana?
We identified the need, in this particular village, for an educational facility which would be easily accessible to kids from the locality. Kids should not have to travel long distances for education. We believed in the ‘our village, our school’ initiative and also observed that this village lacked the infrastructure and amenities it deserved.
The literacy rate in the country is 74.04 per cent currently. The Covid-19 pandemic has only made this issue worse by preventing more kids from attending school. We must direct our efforts towards improving this and providing access to quality education for rural communities. Bright minds need to be given a platform where they can learn uninhibited and grow. Therefore, there is a critical need for us to make sure that rural populations in India have the best possible access to education and that schooling is strongly encouraged there.
3. Are you doing anything to promote digital literacy among the students of this school or any other school in this region?
The school is a first in the village, replete with amenities benchmarked to international standards, it does have a computer lab which allows them access to digital mediums. This is not part of our sponsorship though, since our focus was on using our expertise in construction to put together the entire structure and ensure it is state of the art. The school today has excellent faculty and world class amenities which provides students from this rural town, an equal chance at being future ready.
4. How many more schools does Mindspace REIT plan to build under Telangana government’s ‘Mana Ooru Mana Badi’ – ‘Our Village – Our School’ program and in which parts of the state?
This is our first school investment and we want to see this benefit the most number of students.
However, as part of our ESG initiatives, we have also recently built a Skywalk in Mindspace Madhapur, Hyderabad, to reduce carbon emissions from last mile transport, and ease commute for people traveling to and from Raidurg Metro Station.
We have also used our expertise in construction to build a 3rd floor with 100-beds at the District Hospital Kondapur, Telangana. As part of our commitment to ESG and the empowerment of our people and society, we also took up the rejuvenation of Durgam Cheruvu in Hyderabad.
5. Do you wish to donate school buildings in other Indian states also?
As a part of our ESG efforts, we will continue to support communities in their overall growth. We will continue to consider opportunities where we could create a positive impact.