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Published on: Sept. 24, 2020, 6:37 p.m.
Salesforce gives $240,000 to help bridge inequalities in India
  • The ‘play-in-a-box’ kits help build motor skills, analytical skills and hygiene practices

By Sekhar Seshan. Consulting Editor, Business India

Six Indian NGOs that work to make education and nutrition accessible have got a $240,000 grant from global CRM major Salesforce that will enable them to reach more than 15,000 people all over the country and help bridge inequalities in education, sanitation and nutrition.

“We believe that business can be a platform for positive change,” says Arundhati Bhattacharya, CEO and chairperson of Salesforce India. “The technology industry plays a unique role in connecting people forced apart by this pandemic, by keeping supply channels open, tracking the disease and in multiple other ways.”

Recent research by Salesforce finds that two in every three Indians surveyed say closing global inequalities should be a high priority for businesses. The grants, it says, reflect the US-headquartered company’s ongoing commitment to help ensure the Indian workforce of today is equipped with the skills and experience needed in the professional workforce of the future, especially in tech careers.

The study, ‘Global Stakeholder Series’, found that 58 per cent of the 2,000 Indians interviewed believe companies will invest more in workplace equality as a result of Covid-19, while 61 per cent say it is critical that their employer gives back to their community.

The NGOs getting the money – The Akshaya Patra Foundation, United Way of Hyderabad, Anthill Creations Foundation, Goonj, SOS Children's Villages of India and Protsahan India Foundation –work in different areas and will use it differently.

Akshaya Patra will augment its work in providing nutrition, sanitary and learning kits to children across the country. Says its CEO Shridhar Venkat: “This support will let us expand our programme and help thousands more children and their families, protecting them from hunger and letting them continue to learn and grow.”

The United Way of Hyderabad will provide nutrition and sanitary kits, and also build ‘Trailblazer’community learning centres to help build post-Covid resilience in communities, while Anthill will improve children’s learning needs with ‘play-in-a-box’ kits to help them build motor skills, analytical skills and hygiene practices in the safety of their homes.

Goonj will work with migrant workers to revive their old livelihood or pick up a new means of income; SOS Children's Villages will support livelihood restoration of 45 poor and vulnerable families in rural Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. 

Protsahan will use the grant to strengthen its ‘community lab’to provide a safe space for 1,200 girls this year to continue learning during the pandemic in spite of schools being closed, its executive director Jaswinder Singh says. “Salesforce invested in our slum digilab programme to help promote creativity and innovation at the grassroots, and inspire girls from some of the toughest backgrounds to pursue STEM careers. Technology for these girls is way more than a computer, it's an outlet for their expression, dignity and financial independence,” he adds.


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