CSR by Dr. Reddy’s Foundation (DRF)

 

Set up in 1996, Dr. Reddy's Foundation (DRF) acts as a catalyst of change that fosters, develops and promotes initiatives at individual, group and organization levels to achieve sustainable development. Driven by the belief that equity in education and livelihoods helps in building an inclusive society, DRF strives to create quality opportunities in these two areas, with particular focus on economically disadvantaged youth. It works in partnership with all concerned in this endeavour.


The operating philosophy of DRF is encapsulated in the following words of its Founder-Chairman, Dr K Anji Reddy:


"Everyone has a purpose in life and a unique talent to give to others. And when we blend this unique talent with service to others, we experience the ecstasy and exultation of our own spirit, which is the ultimate goal of all goals. The highest patriotism and philanthropy consists in helping and stimulating men and women to elevate and improve themselves by their own free and independent individual action."


The social interventions of DRF are primarily in the following sectors:


* Livelihoods Creation

* Education


LIVELIHOODS CREATION


The Livelihood Advancement Business School


The idea of providing sustainable livelihoods began on a modest note in 1996, with programs for guiding children at risk (including child labour) into mainstream education through bridge schools. As these programs adversely impacted the family income of these children, DRF conceived the idea of providing vocational skills to their above-18 siblings. Under a program titled 'Urban Neighbourhood Sanitation Program', DRF trained a few young street dwellers in Hyderabad to become micro-entrepreneurs with responsibility for keeping individual colonies free of garbage. The municipality provided tricycles for garbage collection, while the colony dwellers paid the entrepreneurs for their services. The program was scaled up to 10 other cities / towns in Andhra Pradesh, in collaboration with UNICEF.


Buoyed by this success, DRF widened its skill development programs to include hospital health care workers, office assistants, domestic workers, home nurses and computer operators. In 1999, all these programs were brought under one umbrella, which was appropriately christened the Livelihoods Advancement Business School (LABS).


LABS addresses the needs of youth (18-35 years) who are constrained by low income levels, inadequate skills, irregular employment, absence of opportunities for training and development, indebtedness and little bargaining power at the economic / social level. To enable them to gain a foothold in the competitive job market, LABS gives them livelihood and soft skills in an environment of interactive learning and mentoring that develops their inherent capabilities. Operational in over 120 centres across India, this one-of-its-kind business school tells the collective success story of tens of thousands of economically disadvantaged youth, and of their journey to self-respect and financial independence.


What Sets LABS Apart?


LABS' training courses are of 3-4 months' duration, in which the aspirants are given technical inputs prepared in consultation with industry experts and professionals. The classroom sessions are supplemented with practical training, for which state-of-the-art equipment and teaching software is provided.


The aspirants are encouraged to identify their strengths, work on their limitations, articulate their perceptions and values, and acquire the breadth of vision to respect divergent points of view. To enable them to face the world confidently, they are trained in various life skills such as positive thinking, self-esteem, communication, team building, decision-making, SWOT analysis, goal setting, gender issues and time / money management.


The ability to speak fluently in English is an important prerequisite at the workplace. It overcomes communication barriers and makes one feel empowered and confident. Through a specially designed 'Communicative English' module, the aspirants are given practice in public speaking and interpersonal communication techniques based on real-life situations.


In order not to restrict an aspirant's employability in a limited range of skill sets, he / she is given multi-dimensional training. For example, the options available to an ITES aspirant include front office, billing, data entry and accounting software.


To be truly ready for the job market, the aspirants need to have – in addition to the requisite technical skills – a few other special skills, which are imparted through a 'Work Readiness Module'. The aspirants are taught how to prepare their resume and face an interview. They are briefed on work culture, handling workplace responsibilities, coping with workplace-related problems, and striking a balance between personal and professional life.


The aspirants are put through a comprehensive apprenticeship training, which has the two-fold effect of helping them get an idea of real-life work situations, as well as giving employers the advantage of orienting the aspirants to their organizational requirements before absorbing them.


The Ingredients of LABS' Success


The LABS process is a series of carefully evolved and executed steps that logically take a livelihood program from conception to completion in a structured manner:


  • Livelihood Mapping: This gives an idea of an area's employability potential, based on the local economy, culture, natural resources, labor market and industrial profile. Courses for the local LABS centre are determined accordingly.

  • Curriculum development: After detailed 'focus group' discussions and interactions with industry professionals, the training courses to be implemented are arrived at. Experts from the respective fields help in the development of the relevant curriculum, which includes life skill modules.


  • Road shows / counselling: These are held to mobilize and identify candidates for the courses. To ensure that the program reaches the truly deserving, the mobilization is done with the assistance of local partners / communities, municipal bodies, self-help groups and LABS alumni.

  • Interest inventory: The candidates are administered an 'interest inventory', which is designed to assess which category (realistic / investigative / artistic / social / enterprising / conventional) they fit into, so that their special interests are honed to maximum advantage through appropriate courses.

  • Induction: After the 'interest inventory' check, the candidates are counselled by their facilitators and put through an induction program to align them with the LABS process and help them articulate their aspirations.

  • Training course: This includes on-the-job training, assignments, projects and field visits. Valuable life skills are also integrated into the curriculum through an interactive teaching process.

  • Individual Youth Development Plan: Through this, each aspirant is assisted in realizing his / her aspirations based on his / her unique set of strengths and constraints.

  • Work Readiness Module: This teaches the aspirants to prepare their resumes, face interviews, cope with workplace-related issues, and balance their personal and professional lives.

  • Placement: Entry-level jobs are made available to the aspirants in various industrial / service sectors. Those with entrepreneurial aptitude are also assisted in setting up micro-enterprises of their own.

  • Post-placement Advancement: LABS assesses the effectiveness of its programs by monitoring the progress of its alumni at their workplaces. Their help is also taken to plan new programs and identify potential beneficiaries. An Alumni Service Cell has been set up to serve as a strong interactive platform for exchanging ideas / information on job avenues for the alumni as well as current trainees. It also helps alumni at entry-level positions to advance further in their careers.


An Overview of LABS Courses


Automobile Mechanism: Teaches aspirants basic operations of 2-wheelers and 4-wheelers. Gives them a good working knowledge of engine / fuel / lubricating / cooling systems, transmission system (clutch, gear box, brakes, steering, suspension) and electrical system (ignition, battery, lights, accessories). The aspirants become proficient in vehicle servicing and maintenance, handling various workshop tools and customer service skills.


  • BPO Services: Deals with customer relations management, accent neutralization and functional English. It teaches the aspirants various communication / negotiation skills, listening / questioning techniques, telephone etiquette, objection handling and assertive customer service. The aspirants can become customer care / support associates, tele-callers and front office executives.

  • Bedside Patient Assistance: Deals with the basics of patient care / nursing, anatomy & physiology, hospital routine, hygiene, family welfare, maternal / child health, geriatrics, administration of medication / diet, rehabilitation, palliative treatment, immunization, First Aid, emergencies, HIV / AIDS and basic computer skills. The aspirants can become bedside patient assistants, hospitals assistants, home / geriatric care assistants and community health workers.

  • IT Essentials (with Cisco): Gives an overview of a computer's internal components, motherboard processors, printers and OS; provides a working knowledge of hardware installation / configuration / upgrading. Also teaches preventive maintenance and troubleshooting using system tools / diagnostic software. Post-course job positions include hardware engineer, sales executive, marketing / service engineer, PC technician and computer operator.

  • Customer Relations & Sales: Deals with the basics of marketing, sales, CRM, Economics, market research, marketing process, the Marketing Mix (the 4 Ps), communication skills, objection handling, sales strategies / techniques, after sales service and computer basics. The aspirants can become direct sales personnel, sales executives in retail outlets / showrooms, tele-callers and front office / call center executives.

  • Hospitality: Gives a working knowledge of F&B service, customer interaction, order-taking / up-selling, hygiene, etiquette, personal grooming, various types of hotels / departments / restaurants, table layouts, banquets, menu / beverages, housekeeping and computer operations. Entry-level positions available to aspirants include steward, bellboy, cashier, housekeeper, F&B supervisory assistant and counter salesperson.

  • IT-enabled Services (ITeS): Deals with the basics of computers, various software / hardware applications, DTP / animation / accounting packages, OS, troubleshooting, office automation (mail merge, database creation, spreadsheet calculations and presentations). Post-course job positions include data entry operator, DTP operator, scanning / printing operator and cashier.

  • Machine Operator: Teaches how to mark a given drawing on a raw object, machine out excess material with suitable equipment, and check out the dimensions with measuring tools. Topics include workshop tools, drawing, arc / gas welding, isometric / orthographic projections, various types of lathes / drills / shapers / planers / grinders / milling equipment. The aspirants can become trainee turners / millers / fitters.

  • Micro-Irrigation: Offers insights into practical aspects of micro-irrigation, agronomy, horticulture, soil science, preparation of techno-economic designs, benchmark survey, communication / sales skills, plumbing / electricity / motor servicing and computer basics. Post-course positions include fitter, surveyor, survey designer and block / district coordinator.

  • Multi-Skilled Technician: Offers insights into electrical systems, electrical aspects of micro-irrigation systems, electrical designs / estimations, hand / power tools, generators / alternators / motors, meters / measurements, and installation / repair of domestic appliances. The aspirants achieve NOSS Level III, and qualify as electricians, technical assistants, lift erectors, linemen / wiremen and self-employed professionals.

  • White Goods Services: Offers practical insights into various domestic electronic / electrical systems (TV, telephone, audio systems, VCD, DVD, etc.), and their installation, rectification of faults, circuit tracing, house wiring connections, component checking, amplifiers, transformers, stabilizers, picture tubes, integrated circuits (ICs), etc. The aspirants can obtain a wide spectrum of jobs as technicians, and can even set up their own servicing units.

  • Refrigeration and Air-conditioning: Provides insights into the installation / servicing of refrigerators and air-conditioners, tools and equipment used, refrigeration cycles, types / functions of compressors, electrical connections, troubleshooting, tube cutting, bending, brazing, flaring, pinching, vacuum gas charging and leak testing. The aspirants can become technicians in this field; they can also run their own servicing outfits.

  • Pre-Primary Teachers Training: Deals with basic teaching methodologies, children's psychology, classroom management, teaching process (syllabus, lesson plan, AV teaching aids, evaluation), reading / writing / recitation skills, creative learning, personality development, mental health, motivation, sense training, computers and basic English / Maths. The aspirants can become teachers in pre-primary / primary schools, office assistants and home tutors.

LABS has trained nearly 160,000 aspirants so far. A good percentage of them have been placed in entry-level positions in various organisations.


LABS' Impact on the Society


LABS has given the aspirants a sense of direction and purpose in their lives, created role models for other underprivileged youth, and inculcated conscientious citizenship. It has channeled the energy of disadvantaged youth towards socially purposeful and economically beneficial ends, by providing them with valuable skills and opportunities to generate a steady income.


The assistance provided by LABS to individual aspirants has led to larger benefits to their respective communities, such as reduced indebtedness, increased local area spend, improved education levels, reduced gender inequality and lower crime levels.

LABS has been bridging the economic divide in India by making available to the underprivileged youth hitherto unknown opportunities. It has also served the local industries and markets by meeting emerging HR needs in the new economy.


The community, civic authorities, bureaucracy, NGOs and industry representatives have been sensitized to the need for addressing the requirements of the undereducated unemployed / underemployed. The LABS model has catalyzed citizen-community-corporate partnerships towards creation of sustainable / replicable livelihood models, and helped redefine ways of streamlining government poverty alleviation programs.


The simplicity and effectiveness of the LABS concept has won wide acclaim, both in India and abroad. Its ability to quickly create sustainable livelihoods through market-savvy vocational training programs has attracted several socially-oriented organizations, who have also been giving valuable suggestions on replicating the model and scaling it up further to cater to many more niche segments in the new economy.


Promoting Micro-Entrepreneurs


LABS has also developed innovative models for self-employment through micro-entrepreneurship programs, which encourage and nurture youth for entrepreneurship, support their quest for new and untried skills development, business plan development, market linkages, etc.


  • 'Aarogya' has helped over 75 mobile food vendors in Karimnagar (AP) to develop their business through hygienic food practices and by providing bank linkages.

  • 'Sayodya' has helped 25 partially disabled youth in RR District (AP) to earn their livelihoods through corn vending in specially designed kiosks.

EDUCATION


The same inclusive philosophy drives DRF's educational interventions as well. It fights child labour and strives to provide quality education to children who are deprived of it. Using schools as community learning resource centres, it develops local knowledge and leadership, and implements innovative schooling strategies in association with the mainstream education system.


* Education Resource Centre

DRF's in-house ERC conducts schooling-related research and capacity building, and enables sharing of best practices between government, civil agencies and sector specialists. The ERC also fulfils the academic and pedagogical requirements of neighbourhood schools, apart from supporting them in developing systems, processes and mechanisms of schooling.


* Yuva Youth Learning Centres

DRF's major involvement is with young adults who have had to drop out of the school system, and are left with few opportunities for further education. To equip them with skills relevant to their needs and aspirations, DRF has set up Yuva Centers in Hyderabad. The Centers serve as platforms for the youth to identify their capacities and enable them to become self-reliant and responsible citizens. The integrated learning process includes regular academics, soft skills, career guidance and computer education. Catering to the 13-18 years age group (including adolescent dropouts, never-been-to-school adolescents, child labor and adolescent girls working as domestic help), the Centers run bridge courses to mainstream them in age-appropriate classes, and also prepare 15+ age group children for the Class X (SSC) Board exam. Never-been-to-school adolescents are put through a Foundation Course, which focuses on building their language skills, basic Math, Communicative English, basic computer skills, environmental sciences, health education and life skills. Girls employed as domestic maids in particular, are helped to appear through the 'open school society'.


* Transit Schools

To provide regular education to children of construction workers, DRF has partnered with construction companies in Hyderabad and RR Districts to set up over 120 'transit schools' in association with Sarva Siksha Abhiyan and AIF. Comprising crèches, bridge course centres and residential camps, the transit schools provide remedial education to bridge the gap between the children's learning levels and their age, and also to maintain the educational levels of fresh dropouts. Teaching / learning material, nutritious food, drinking water and health check-ups are provided at these schools, which aim at mainstreaming children by motivating them and enrolling them in social welfare hostels and nearby schools. The names of the children in these transit schools are intimated to the concerned Mandal Education Officer, who gives them a certificate when they leave the site, so they can continue their education elsewhere.


* Residential Bridge Courses

DRF has set up two Residential Bridge Course (RBC) centres in RR District, in collaboration with Sarva Siksha Abhiyan. Children in the 9-14 years age group from DRF's transit schools are mobilized into these RBC centres, and put through a basic bridge course (in Math, English and Telugu), in addition to being engaged in some extra-curricular activities.


* Transit Home

DRF has also set up a 'transit home' in Hyderabad, in association with National Child Labour Project (NCLP) and International Labour Organisation. An enforcement team from NCLP identifies children engaged in child labour, takes them out of the workplace, initiates legal proceedings against the employer, and provides transit accommodation to the children in the 'transit home'. After obtaining the parents' consent for their education in the presence of the Project Director – NCLP, the children are mobilized into the RBC centers run by DRF.


* Pudami English Primaries

DRF runs 29 Pudami English Primaries in Hyderabad and RR Districts. Set up in neighborhoods containing large populations of urban poor, these primaries (KG to Class III) educate children in the 3-8 years age group. Involving both parents and the neighborhood community in their running, the Primaries teach English, Math and Environmental Science. Serving as good foundation courses, they provide the poor children with easy access to good English medium schools. Teachers from surrounding local communities have been recruited for these Primaries, which act as feeder institutions for 'Pudami' neighbourhood schools


Pudami Neighbourhood Schools

These are a novel initiative by DRF to bring quality education to all children in the neighbourhood. The schools address the rising demand for English-medium education from marginalized / lower-income communities. Four Pudami Neighborhood Schools were inaugurated in the Academic Year 2008-09 in Hyderabad. They have a combined strength of over 1000 children, drawn from all walks of life in the neighborhood, together forming one homogenous 'Pudami' community.


* Kallam Anji Reddy Vidyalaya

Located at Hyderabad, the Kallam Anji Reddy Vidyalaya has a current strength of over 1500 students ranging from Kindergarten to Class X. Instruction is offered in both English and Telugu media.


* Kallam Anji Reddy Vocational Junior College

The Kallam Anji Reddy Vocational Junior College at Hyderabad offers the following government-recognized, 2-year vocational courses at the Intermediate level: Automobile Engineering Technician, Computer Graphics & Animation, Computer Science & Engineering, Hotel Operations and Multi-Purpose Health Worker. The students are also encouraged to undergo 'bridge courses' (equivalent to the 'MPC' and 'BiPC' courses offered by regular Intermediate colleges), which will help them pursue engineering / paramedical degrees. In association with Cisco, a 3-month course in IT hardware and networking is also offered.


* Altius

Located in the Kallam Anji Reddy Vidyalaya campus at Hyderabad, Altius is a skill advancement school that helps graduates, post-graduates and diploma holders access various placement / career advancement opportunities by providing them with employability skills. It offers training in Medical Transcription, Call Center and Accountancy packages, in addition to Communicative English, soft skills and basic IT skills. These programs are offered as individual or complete packages, including placement assistance. Altius has developed special training modules for junior college students, and also offers customized training programs to enable employees to improve their workplace performance.


* Tribal Schooling Program

Under a special initiative for the Koya and Kondareddy tribes in Khammam District (AP), DRF has developed learning material for the tribal youth in their local dialects.


Contact

Dr. Reddy's Foundation

6-3-655/12, Somajiguda,

Hyderabad-500082.





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