When companies work towards bringing a positive change in society, it only helps builds trust with their consumer base. One of the best examples of CSR in India is Tata Motors that works wholeheartedly in the fields of skill development, education, sanitation, safety, sustainability, etc. in rural areas.
A recent example of their social service is the story of Pooja Jadhav from Pabal, Pune, Maharashtra. With the company’s support, Pooja has been able to continue her education post-high-school, polish her tech skills and become financially independent, something that’s rare for the women of her village.
She's a beneficiary of one of Tata Motors programs and is now instrumental in changing lives for more individuals like her. Remembering her childhood and the limited opportunities, she says, “As an impressionable young child living in the rural region of Pune, I noticed the hardships that the villagers face due to a lack of education and development opportunities. Deeply impacted by hardships due to lack of basic necessities, I resolved to bring out some positive change in this hamlet. Noticing my determination, my father encouraged me to not lose hope and take one small step at a time 'Ek ek paul pudhe pragati chya vat chali kadhi.'"
It was her father who believed in her calibre and pushed her to study and acquire more knowledge, which he believed would help her with this objective. Even though their financial situation was dire, her parents constantly encouraged her to study further and get a degree. You know what they say about teaching a woman – you ultimately end up teaching a family, an entire generation and ultimately the nation.
Soon after her graduation in BSC Computer Science, Pooja enrolled herself with Tata Motors Vigyan Ashram program. “Along with 16 other girls, I learned new-age skills such as 3D printing, web communication, and web management. With our newly acquired skill set, we bagged a project with Wikipedia to transcribe articles to Marathi and thus became a senior regional contributor at Marathi Wikipedia. So far, I have edited more than 4,000 articles for Wikipedia in Marathi and ran Optical character recognition of 15,000 pages on Wiki source,” she shares.
She didn’t limit her knowledge to herself. With a fancy job in hands, she returned to her village intending to inculcate interest in technology and science applications in the minds of young women like her. She states, “I have been conducting workshops to promote self-employment and guiding and encouraging girls to be financially independent. Currently, I am working on a project that will help the villagers with better water management. The technology will assess the water levels through sensors and notify the villagers through an LED display. Taking one small step at a time, I am getting closer to my objective of changing lives…'Ek ek paul pudhe pragati chya vat chali kadhi.'"
Pooja’s story is of perseverance, awareness and encouragement. With many companies doing their part, we now see far-reaching efforts changing the lives of those with fewer resources.
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