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  Social Responsibility

Published on: July 5, 2020, 4:14 p.m.
Project Sakaar helps the young ones learn English
  • Life Skills workshops deal with communication and interview skills

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

Global technology and services firm Extentia has moved beyond its business of helping clients transform and realise their digital strategies to conduct an English communication programme for economically vulnerable children.

The company’s CSR arm, Sakaar, runs Project Uday at the Pune NGO Friends of Children (FoC) – a project it describes as an effort of hope and positivity for the future.

Extentia, which has been doing community projects almost since its inception in 1998 through volunteering, blood donation camps, also participates and supports various causes and the NGOs behind them. For the last 10 years, it has been supporting FoC, which itself has been working with economically vulnerable children for the last 17 years.

Project Uday, an initiative that Extentia launched during the recent national lockdown imposed to combat the COVID-19 pandemic, involves mapping volunteers to students on a one-to-one basis to help improve the latter’s spoken English through telephonic conversations. Such communication skills are a must for various job profiles, and through such activities students will eventually be prepared to face tough competition in the industry. 

Four Extentia employees are currently engaged with 10 students, speaking to them over the phone once or twice a week. Project Uday ensures social distancing and has not allowed the lockdown to become a deterrent in helping these students to acquire spoken English skills, a basic prerequisite for any job opening.

This project assumes significance in the backdrop of an economic slowdown forecast for India, leading to job losses and higher unemployment. This scenario also implies that there will be stiffer competition in the job market and every skill acquired by candidates will matter more than ever before.

The programme has benefited the students in improving their confidence levels and in encouraging them to converse in English without fear. Even after the lockdown is lifted, it will continue through 2020.

Another activity that Extentia has been running with FoC is ‘Life Skills Workshops’ for the economically vulnerable children within Pune and rural areas around the city. These workshops - on topics like communication, interview skills, interpersonal skills and unconscious bias - have benefitted more than 500 students over the past few years. The company is also working to convert the workshops into a DIY (Do-It-Yourself) mode with the content being developed using a combination of MS PowerPoint presentations and audio lectures.

Extentia’s solutions are in the space of mobile, cloud and design, with what the company describes as a unique Experience Centric Transformation approach. The name of its CSR wing is derived from the Hindi word ‘Sakaar’, which means ‘to realise, fulfil or achieve’. Since its launch in 2001, whether it has been adding value to the community ‘one step at a time’ by promoting various career development programmes, running healthcare boot camps, or contributing to donation drives.

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