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  Social Responsibility

Women Empowerment
Published on: June 25, 2020, 3:36 p.m.
Providing opportunities
  • Students head into the Avasara Academy

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India
A

vasara: opportunity. The Pune-headquartered heat transfer, separation and fluid handling solutions provider Alfa Laval India’s major initiative in CSR is the empowerment of promising girls to lead lives of distinction and impact. Over the past couple of years, the company has supported 40 bright girls from the Avasara Academy with scholarships.

While the scholarship programme is for five years, ending in 2023, Alfa Laval has also set up a modern library under the focus area of education, and installed solar panels on the school’s four buildings in its endeavour to help the environment.

A three-member CSR team met the students one-on-one before finalising the scholarships. Having been selected on the basis of both academic scores and their financial situation, these students are the beneficiaries of a scholarship from the sixth standard till they pass the 10th, or the eighth to 12th standards. The school gives Alfa Laval periodic reports on these children’s progress.

The engagement with Avasara, a secondary school that educates girls of exceptional promise for a lifetime of leadership and contribution to society, is the company’s biggest CSR project, complementing its business principle under community engagement: “Alfa Laval wants to make a positive contribution to the local community, appropriate to its size as an employer in the community. We will place emphasis on activities that support the development and care of children’s rights, education and health.”

The Avasara Academy selects outstanding girls on merit to engage in a specialised curriculum that combines academic excellence with leadership, entrepreneurship and India studies. The learning experience includes faculty advisors, mentors, independent study opportunities, small class sizes, a diverse group of talented students, and a curriculum of extraordinary depth. Avasara believes that a student's ability to pay fees should not affect her chances to experience this unique and holistic educational opportunity.

The CSR effort does not end with giving money: a detailed year-by-year employee engagement programme has also chalked out with the school to make the engagement planned and meaningful.

Avasara, an all-girls secondary school established in 2015, is apparently succeeding in its avowed aim to “empower exceptional girls of promise to lead lives of distinction and impact”.

As the mother of one student, Ritu, says: “What Avasara has given our children is beyond our imagination. I could have got my daughter educated but not like here, and she couldn’t have progressed the way she has.” The father of another student, Mohini: “We were deprived of education in our own childhood. I want our daughter to get a good education.”

The girls themselves have varying views: one great thing about this place is that it never lets any kind of financial problem endanger studies, says Sakshi. For her co-student Sharon, this was where she learned more about women’s empowerment and gender issues. “I started to change those things in my family as well,” she adds.


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