Business India ×
  Social Responsibility

Women Empowerment
Published on: July 5, 2020, 4:46 p.m.
Bobst India lends Aatmaja Foundation a helping hand
  • A thumbs up to girls' education

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

Sakshi wants to study commerce and become a chartered accountant because she says, it pays well, and fulfil her mother’s dreams and aspirations. She lost her father, and her mother learnt driving to provide for herself and Sakshi. Lacking skills that would have got her into the workforce, the brave woman understands the value of education and is determined to give her daughter that opportunity.

Her schoolmate Priyanka, who lost both her parents before she entered high school, is still figuring out what she wants to be. Engineering and medicine attract her, while she is also very skilled in sports and part of the school’s badminton and basketball teams.

The Pune-based Aatmaja Foundation, started by former Infosys official Priti Rao, has taken both these girls, as well as 128 others from similar disadvantaged backgrounds, under its wing. Pumpkin Patch Daycare, of which Rao is managing director, aims to empower these bright young sparks and help them grow into confident professionals with strong values.

Swiss carton machinery giant Bobst is lending Aatmaja a helping hand. Says Bobst India president and local entity head Upendra Deglurkar: “We are sponsoring 12 to 14 of the girls, for their education from Standards VIII to XI, when they are ready to enter a career course.” The company gets experts to interview girls in rural areas around Pune, select some and take their parents’ or guardians’ consent to put them into the Foundation’s school. Educating, clothing and feeding each of these girls for three years costs about Rs3 lakh.

Providing needy rural children with education has always been a passion for Deglurkar, who is also a director on a rural school near Nanded in Maharashtra. “But this is not our expertise, so we carefully selected an organisation which works in rural Pune,” he explains. The five-year-old Aatmaja Foundation starting by supporting just 20 girls – a number which has grown more than six-fold. This support includes financial aid by reimbursing fees, costs for books, notebooks, additional coaching, career and personal counselling, and help in online admissions.

Aatmaja, which translates to ‘daughter of the soul’, also arranges workshops to help the girls develop creativity, leadership skills, safety, health and hygiene. “In the coming years we hope to make a significant impact to lives of over a thousand girls,” says Rao.

Besides girls’ education, Bobst India’s CSR policy focuses on their health, too: it ran a scheme to build washrooms for them in about 50 schools in the state. These were selected on the basis of its employees’ recommendations, in the places from where they themselves come. “This gives them pride - and also taken care of our challenge of maintenance,” Deglurkar explains. “We have built about 50 such toilets so far, and the number is growing.”


Don't miss this

Healthcare

Ola provides 120,000 meals to drivers through The Akshaya Patra Foundation

Published on Oct. 15, 2020, 2:37 p.m.

The cab company’s Foundation has expanded its outreach to the community in 13 cities

Technology

Valliappa Foundation’s Anadhanam makes a start in solving global hunger

Published on Oct. 5, 2020, 1:02 p.m.

The Bengaluru-based group’s digital platform marks the International Day of Awareness on Food Loss and Waste Reduction

Women Empowerment

Amdocs and its employees are helping solo women entrepreneurs

Published on Oct. 5, 2020, 11:22 a.m.

A ‘revolving fund’ has made a revolution in the lives of many women with a ripple effect

NGOs

Amway India partners with NGOs to help through Covid-19

Published on Oct. 5, 2020, 10:33 a.m.

The direct-selling major has been helping to conduct sanitisation and disinfection around the country

E-MAGAZINE
Climate Change

Energy

Renewables leader Rajasthan will see a dramatic shift in its generation composition

Published on Oct. 15, 2020, 2:22 p.m.

Solar and onshore wind power will meet most of the incremental electricity demand by 2029-30

Energy

Energy storage leaders call for policy measures to create Atmanirbhar Bharat

Published on Oct. 8, 2020, 11:48 a.m.

Global thought leaders and policymakers discussed the issue to mark World Energy Storage Day recently

Energy

No more power cables if Emrod’s tech takes off

Published on Oct. 5, 2020, 11:57 a.m.

This New Zealand start-up offers long-range wireless power transmission as an alternative to copper lines

Rural Development

Coca-Cola India helps rejuvenate the Sukkhad river

Published on Sept. 27, 2020, 10:01 a.m.

The harvesting of more than a billion litres of rainwater has benefited 1,400-plus households, comprising over 8,500 people in Madhya Pradesh