CSR Partnership: The Drive to Economically Empower Underprivileged Youth and Support Nation Building

CSR! Corporate social responsibility!! This terminology that gained momentum in the 1960s is today the ‘part and parcel’ of strategic decision making in many a corporate organization and SME. This endeavor of participating in social welfare initiatives and activities that benefit society by the corporate and business community has been shaping India’s future, or to be specific India’s bright future. The government has been implementing various schemes for the upliftment of the downtrodden. But only govt initiatives aren’t the solution. Corporate social responsibility is a boost to government endeavors for social upliftment. Organizations through CSR not only help in nation building but also enhance their brand identity in the process.

Smile Foundation has been proactively involved in multitude of activities directed towards economical, social, and moral upliftment of the underprivileged and downtrodden in India, especially in the areas of education, healthcare, women empowerment, and skill development. Smile Twin E- learning Programme (STeP) is the NGO’s initiative in creating livelihood opportunities for the underprivileged youth through dedicated skill development and employment-centric programs.

Smile Foundation has been creating avenues for CSR partnership, partnering with organizations to change the economic and social landscape of India. Under its STeP program, the NGO has trained over 22,600 youth and facilitated placement of 14,500 in over 150 brands through 91 operational projects across India. 55 percent of the beneficiaries are women. With CSR partners in this program, the figures can be rapidly raised further.

The STeP Training Program

What do employers look for in an employee? Skill sets related to the industry and a ‘ready-to-deliver’ attitude! Majority of the youth population of India lacks both, thus widening the gap between demand and supply of skilled manpower in myriad industry segments.

Smile Foundation’s STeP program is directed towards equipping the youth of India from the underprivileged sections of the society with the required skill sets and employment-centric qualities, making them easily employable in sectors ranging from retail, hospitality to BPO. The NGO’s aim is to create a pool of ‘ready-to-deliver’ talents, trained to meet the employers’ criteria perfectly and immediately. Through this program, Smile Foundation is committed to bridging the gap between demand and supply of skilled manpower.

STeP program encompasses the following:

  • Skill enhancement in sync with market requirements
  • Proficiency in English
  • Basic computer education
  • Soft skills training (personality development and grooming, communication skill enhancement, etc.)
  • Curriculum for retail and basic management
  • Employer engagement sessions
  • Industry exposure visits.

Why STeP as an Avenue for CSR Partnership?

50 percent of India’s population is below the age of 25 and over 65 percent below 35. Going by the average, the youth comprises one-third of the Indian population, constituting the country’s bulk workforce.  With illiteracy and unemployment affecting the general youth in general and underprivileged youth in particular, India is still a long way to go in achieving overall economic growth. According to a Financial Express report, only 15 percent of college graduates are employable and the rest unemployable! The key reason behind such an alarmingly poor figure is lack of skilled knowledge. Besides, it is also the need of the hour to channelize the youth’s energy to aid in economic growth and nation building.

Today, CSR is a part of many an organization’s business model, textured into its value system – of creating a positive impact in the society while doing business. Partnering with Smile Foundation, organizations can deliver impactful corporate social responsibility (CSR) goals, especially in economically empowering the youth. Organizations supporting the STeP program as a CSR partner will help create a big pool of employable underprivileged youth across India. Not only will they facilitate the livelihood of thousands and lakhs of youth but also contribute the big way towards shaping India’s growth story. Smile Foundation’s STeP Sustainable Livelihood Initiative is one of the many programs that the NGO has implemented proactively, empowering thousands of people.

Success of STeP Program

The retail, hospitality, and BPO are three of the fastest growing sectors in India. So is the increasing requirement of soft skilled manpower! Under the STeP program, over 22,600 urban underprivileged youth have been trained so far for these sectors. And the count is increasing by the day. More than 14,500 of the STeP empowered youth have been placed in over 150 brands through 91 operational projects across India. One of Smile Foundation’s flagship initiatives is women empowerment. Under this program, 55 percent of the economically empowered are women.

30 new centres have been added across five states in India. Going by the manpower demand of these regions, a new curriculum has been developed for retail and basic management and soft skills. 118 employer engagement sessions and 82 industry exposure visits were conducted. This is only the beginning. CSR partnership can go a long way in economically empowering more youth across India.

By creating sustainable livelihood opportunities and enhancing employment prospects, STeP CSR partnership program can empower the youth the big way. Higher the number of CSR partners for this initiative, faster will be the economic prosperity of the nation.

To know about the STeP program log in to http://www.smilefoundationindia.org/e_learning.html

To partner with us, please contact Swatantra Gupta at 9999204061, or write to cp@smilefoundationindia.org

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Author

Swatantra Gupta

General Manager, Corporate Partnerships & Alliances, Smile Foundation

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