Initiatives to Help Lesser Privileged Children in India
Despite its rapid economic growth, India is still faced with serious poverty issues. Although the poverty rate is higher in rural parts of the country compared to urban areas, cases of extreme poverty are said to be most prevalent in cities. India also faces the problem of high primary education dropout rates. The Nomura Group's Powai Office and NGO partners engaged in these issues sat down to discuss their activities.
Manvi Singh Program Head,Vidya
Sanaa Shaikh Director,Education and Donor Relations,Aseema Charitable Trust
Sneha Senapati Program Manager,Udaan India Foundation
Natasha Mathur Head of Recruitment,Corporate Social Responsibility,Nomura, Powai
Ruby Lahir Corporate Social Responsibility Lead,Nomura, Powai
CSR Divisional Representatives
Devina Malik, Santosh Huprikar, Sonal Patnaik, Darius Rastagiri
Ajith Menon, Ankush Agrawal, Kirk Fonseca, Vipul Bhardwaj
Issues Facing Education in the Local Community
Manvi：The underprivileged in Mumbai are mainly slum dwellers, who are illiterate immigrants from different parts of India. They are unable to provide education to their children; some families have low income and lack of work, so instead of sending their children to school, they are sent to work. The female child dropout rate is high as girls are expected to share the burden of child care and housework. These children lack adequate role models to motivate them toward gaining education.
Sanaa：The conditions they live in can hamper their access to education, despite the availability of free primary education. The valiant efforts made by the government, municipal corporations and the NGOs are not very effective as the issue of school drop-outs and non-enrollment continue to plague our society.
Nomura's Assistance and Its Effect
Natasha：We would like to address the developmental needs of the underprivileged children supported by our NGO partners by focusing on increasing the reach of our volunteer led programs like Spoken English, Saturday Club, Computer program and Drop out remedial program, and Extend support to more communities by associating with some more NGOs.
Ruby：We measure the impact of our community affairs initiatives in the area of education by measuring the number of children supported through our initiatives, the number of volunteers, the volunteer hours, funds raised through initiatives. In addition to those we recognize that fostering innovations are required for new activities to address an unserved need or an existing need in a better way.
Leveraging the Skills and Professional Knowledge of Nomura Employees
CSR Volunteers：Through various community affairs initiatives we leverage the employees' skills and their ability to make positive contributions to the community. Currently our volunteers are using their knowledge and skills to teach underprivileged children basic computer skills, spoken English, mathematics and science.
Sneha：Many volunteers lead these initiatives and are able to put their leadership and organizing skills to use. Our volunteers form a relationship of trust and mutual respect with the children they support wherein the children look up to them as role models.
Natasha：For employees, deploying their skills, time and effort to give back to the communities gives them satisfaction through the positive contributions they make. Volunteering is a platform that allows employees to support and work closely with various NGOs. It involves going out into the communities, teaching, participating in meaningful activities, volunteering in the pediatric wards and old age homes or merely spending time with the underprivileged children and women. This encourages and fosters teamwork and bonding among our employees, as they spend time with each other in activities toward a common cause, which are also outside of the work environment.
What Role Should Nomura Play
Representatives：We need to do more than just dispersing money. It is important to make a long term commitment and engage proactively to bring about serious social contributions. We need to collaborate with our partner NGOs in training, raising awareness, and assisting them in their initiatives for their target groups.
Ruby：We plan to invest significantly in employee engagement activities that have a lasting impact on communities. We will assist our NGO partners in developing their teams.
Natasha：We will continue to strengthen our Community Affairs framework; this year our emphasis is on active employee engagement, to bring about awareness amongst our employees on the issues that plague our society today.