The HCL Foundation is the CSR arm of HCL Technologies. Founded in 2011, HCL started its humanitarian journey from the times of its inception. With CSR becoming mandatory in 2015, the fund for the foundation has grown incredibly, making an initiative of theirs’ one of the biggest CSR projects in the country. In this Skill Story, Nidhi Pundhir, Director, HCL Foundation, shared some insights about the foundation and their approach of holistic development spread across sectors like technology, healthcare, environment and talent management. Let’s read on…
HCL Foundation’s Samuday and Uday initiatives
Right from the time of its establishment, the HCL Foundation has been making widespread impact in many areas like education, skills and livelihood enablement. Though some of our initiatives were around education, we have not limited ourselves only to education, but taken an integrated community development approach. This is to keep in mind the holistic development of communities of the underprivileged in both rural and urban areas. We have successfully launched high-impact programs in health, infrastructure, and education all going hand-in-hand in reaching out to lakhs of people not only in India but abroad too.
One of our initiatives, Samuday, has been implemented in 3 blocks of Hardoi district of Uttar Pradesh, covering 6,00,000 rural population across 765 villages, 164 Gram Panchayats and more than 90,000 households, making it one of the biggest CSR projects in India. HCL Grant, one of the biggest CSR Grant in India, identifies NGOs doing path-breaking work in rural development in the area of Education, Heath & Environment. The Grant is designed to support breakthrough award projects to NGOs. that have a proven track record of evident impact. HCL Grant supported projects have already impacted more than 4,60,000 lives in most remote rural areas. As an urban CSR initiative, HCL Uday works aggressively to break the cycle of poverty in its immediate neighbourhoods where HCL has a presence in India. Currently it is reaching out to more than 4,40,000 people in 11 cities.
Under its various flagship program, HCL Foundation has positively impacted more than 5,50,000 lives in the field of education and touched more than 1,00,000 lives under its livelihoods initiatives. (highlighted text)
We have also made strategic interventions to break the cycle of urban poverty. Through our initiative HCL Uday, we address issues prevalent in urban areas like access to quality education, universal access to health, sustainable livelihood opportunities, improved water, sanitation and hygiene, environmental conservation including protection, restoration and enhancement of green cover, biodiversity and water bodies, by conducting campaigns and on-ground action for positive urban transformation. HCL UDAY is operational in 11 cities where HCL has a presence.
We understand that migration and displacement are an inevitable phenomenon resulting in increasing rate of urbanisation. Through our initiative, we often reach out to areas faced with these challenges of urbanisation where communities are unable to cope with. During FY 2018-2019, HCL Foundation invested 129.5 Cr through its rural (Samuday & HCL Grant) and urban (HCL Uday) flagship programs. HCL F has committed more than 170 Cr this Financial Year. All our programs are conceived with a long-term development approach to ensure transformation from poverty by opening a new world of opportunities.
Most impactful projects in the areas of skill development and vocational education
We have some unique interventions in the area of education across the country reaching out to the most unreachable people both in rural and urban areas. In rural areas, we have strengthened the state education system, so that children get access to education. Whereas in the urban areas we have gone to the slums and identified children who have dropped out or have been forced to work. HCLF believes in imparting quality education leading to relevant and effective life outcomes.
HCL Gurukul caters to the learning needs of children who live in extremely challenging conditions. We have more than 25 centres in Chennai, Tamil Nadu. These centres provide an opportunity to the children to explore their talent in different fields, including science and sports. For instance, Sports for Change initiative by HCL Foundation has attracted both the rural and urban children and it has proven to be a robust platform with teams in Cricket, Chess, Basketball, Volleyball, Kabaddi etc. When you see them play, you cannot imagine that they come from such difficult backgrounds. It’s a huge achievement. This helps them get opportunities back in their schools and government jobs in future.
Another important area of work HCFL does pertains to guiding youth who need a sense of direction. We work in close collaboration with the District Administration, police and crime cells. We have 32 Yuvakendras across locations which are benefitting youth in getting them streamlined into the job market. We provide training and capacity building for the youth to be self-employed and also provide skill training required for wage employment. Apart from technical skills, focus is equally on equipping youth with Life Skills and work readiness.
Engaging with Partners
We partner with many organizations, both government and non-government. Most of them are the implementing agencies for various programs from HCL Foundation.
We have signed MoUs in the field of education, with District Administration, commissioners etc. A formal partnership with NSDC is also in the pipeline. Many NGOs aspire to work with us. They send us a plan first and how they would like to go about it. And there is a process we follow after that. We take equal accountability for implementation along with our NGO partners. We get applications from all over the country for grants from our Foundation. Most of these are award-winning models which run smoothly.
Technology and digital skilling
All our Yuvakendras and schools that we work with are for digital proficiency, science proficiency and sports proficiency. Among all these, gender inclusion is also very important to us. Our strategies in imparting the skills are designed in a way to ensure equality to both women and men.
In alignment with national and international goals
HCL Foundation is committed to contributing to Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) 2030 to drive socio-economic development:. All the programs that we are doing are aligned with SDGs and National programs. We study district and state profiles.
We feel that, if a young person loses the chance once, it takes longer to bring him/her back into the stream. Most of the youth we handle are difficult to deal with. They do not have any hope or trust. It takes longer to build the confidence and trust in them and to give them the dreams and the vision again. For this, the kind of partners we are looking for are those who are actually willing to take the risk, willing to work with youth who have gone astray and not just finding easy ways for the funding. I want to compliment the work our partners are doing who work with people with disabilities. Some are doing absolutely phenomenal work. These partners not only channelize but are able to get the best talent out of them. Partners who have pulled out youth from extreme conditions like drug addiction, criminal activity etc.