The Mindtree Foundation partners with non-governmental organizations (NGOs) to help the underprivileged with their basic needs, help the deserving with educational requirements, empower the disabled to reach their true potential, and create employment opportunities.
Mindtree Foundation conducted its very first NGO partners meet on March 4, 2016 at the Mindtree west campus, Bangalore. The meet was an attempt to bring all the organizations that the Foundation works with on a common platform, connect them with each other so as to form synergies and reach out to many more people in need. It was also an opportunity to thank the NGOs for all their great work and effort in helping people.
The presence of the entire leadership team including Subroto Bagchi, Krishnakumar Natarajan, Rostow Ravanan and Parthasarathy along with the Foundation team headed by Abraham Moses was a testimony to the importance placed by the organization on social responsibility. The meet was attended by representatives of over 14 NGOs that the Foundation works with.
Rostow kick-started the event by giving the guests a brief introduction to the work being done by Mindtree. This was followed by presentations by the representatives of partner organizations.
Mindtree Foundation partners with AMBA to provide vocational skills to intellectually challenged, underprivileged youth over 16 years of age. It was gratifying to see two intellectually challenged youth make the presentation on behalf of Sugandha Sukrutaraj, founder of AMBA.
Vatsala Srinivasan from Karnataka State Council for Child Welfare (KSCCW), explained the work that is being done by the organization in training rural young women in child care. Rukmini Krishnaswamy, the veteran social worker and Director of the Spastics Society of Karnataka (SSK), spoke about Mindtree’s long association with the organization. She talked about the importance of providing help with a humane approach and emphasized the fact that Mindtree had delivered on its mission statement of helping societies flourish. She thanked the Mindtree Foundation for helping SSK put 1200 street kids back to school.
Social innovator par excellence Ramji Raghavan, founder of the Agastya International Foundation, talked with passion about the importance of stimulating scientific thinking in young minds. He regaled the audience with tales of innovative thinking by children and the impact that it can have on in the lives of their families and societies. It was indeed a moment of pride when he announced that the Mindtree-funded “Lab-on-a-bike” project had been shortlisted for the Marico Innovation Foundation award.
Edzilla headed by Dr. Rajugopal Gubbi evaluates and deploys technology-based solutions that aid learning in rural schools. Raju, who is passionate about education and technology, spoke about how tablet-based learning implemented in government schools of Kanakapura with the help of Mindtree Foundation was helping 1100 children.
Shobhi Mohanty from UMBC and Abhinav Madan from Gram Tarang spoke about their work in training, rehabilitating youth from Orissa and providing microfinancing for fledgling businesses. Prasanna, CEO of Shiksana Foundation, which is doing exemplary work in primary education, talked about how collaboration and motivation are key for the success of education initiatives.
Mindtree Foundation works with the Association for People with Disabilities (APD) to make a difference in the lives of disabled children. Gopinath, Executive Director – Operations, APD, spoke about their program which works with disabled children from the small villages of Bijapur. Getting mobility aids and trained professionals to support them in these remote villages is indeed a challenging task.
Shivkumar Menon from Janaagraha spoke about the organization’s initiatives to impart civic literacy among grownups and children.
The Nightingales Medical Trust is a unique organization that addresses the problems of aged people. Geriatrician Dr. Bharathi spoke about the importance of helping the aged lead a life of dignity and grace.
Spastic’s Society, Tamil Nadu’s L V Jayashree highlighted the difficulties of getting trained teachers and retaining them.
BEEM Rural Development Organization (BRDO) is a very impactful organization that trains rural underprivileged women and youths in sewing, carpentry, computer data entry, electrical wiring, motor winding, and welding. Ravi Kumar B.G. presented the mission and challenges of training rural people.
The Assistive Technology Lab at IIT, Madras, tries to harness the power of technology for the differently abled. Professor Anil Prabhakar explained the importance of developing the right products at the right time. He urged the NGOs to talk to him about product ideas as they would have first-hand knowledge of the needs of the disabled and tools that would help them best.
The common thread that shone through in all the presentations was the underlying importance of organizations and individuals taking responsibility for the collective well-being of the society. Each one of the speakers stressed on the need for empathy and collaboration.
“You humanize us and through you we are touching the lives of people”, said Subroto while expressing his heartfelt gratitude to the partnering NGOs’ tireless efforts and for giving Mindtree the opportunity to be a part of their good. He spoke about organizations being powerful platforms that can initiate significant change and pledged continued support to all the partners.
The event came to a glittering end with Subroto presenting plaques and books as a token of appreciation to all the guests from the partner organizations.