Early every morning when little children run through village lanes and across green fields towards their schools, it is not a race to reach on time but to enter a world that solely belongs to them. As they rush to their classrooms, they are ushered into a space that bestows colorful dreams of a better and brighter future and empowers them by helping them grow and be a part of the nation’s prosperity. These school buildings, gradually dotting remote parts of India, stand out symbols of motivation, progress and development in a backdrop where dreams had existed only meagerly for ages.
People in India have always been strongly committed to their communities. Thus the betterment of the same has been a core tradition of families who have enjoyed a much privileged financial position. In the past, business families have partaken in social good by contributing a part of their earnings to those in need. This kind of giving is usually characteristic to a person’s cultural and personal value system and has constituted unstructured giving.
With the emergence of structured philanthropy and corporate social responsibility (CSR) in India, attacking the root cause of a problem or issue has become the social prerogative of such large enterprises. Families are thus focussing on issues such as conservation of environment, education, health, disaster management, unemployment, preservation of cultural heritage etc.
Most of these Indian philanthropists realized that while contributing towards other social causes is important, it is the education sector that they should most concentrate upon. These altruists believe that education, imparted to each and every child in India, will eventually lead to the overall social and economic development of the country. Moreover, with the coming to force of the Right to Education Act (this Act has made education a Fundamental Right under the Constitution), passed by the Government of India in April 2010, and the Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan, a definite headway and support in implementing their educational goals is now available to such enterprises.
Indian businessmen, like Azim Premji, Mukesh Ambani, the Mittal brothers etc. are therefore directing their CSR funds towards implementing and supporting education programs and systems across the country, especially for the deprived and minority sections and areas of the country. Their activities are also drawing the interest and active participation of their stakeholders, clients and large employee base.
This kind of philanthropy is inching towards being more organized and is a strategic social investment. Such organisations have a highly structured and professional CSR division that takes decisions, implements and maps the company’s CSR objectives and initiatives. Additionally, a well defined resource base and an allocated budget ensure that such developmental activities are carried out without hindrance.
With owners of multi-million enterprises taking up the onus, it is hoped that in the near future, education will inevitably reach the farthest corners of the country, touching the lives of millions of children who are still denied this right.