Hinduja Foundation launches ‘iCare’: interactive learning and engagement programme for government school students and families
608 employees from 11 Hinduja Group Companies participated in the volunteer from home programme
Chandigarh: Hinduja Foundation, a philanthropic arm of the Hinduja Group, launches ‘iCare: Volunteer from Home’ initiative that engages Hinduja Group Companies’ employees as COVID-19 warriors. The mission was to reach out to the deprived and the underprivileged students across the country and deliver quality education. As part of this initiative, employees of all Hinduja Group Companies including Ashok Leyland, Gulf Oil, Bharat Financial, NXTDigital, Hinduja Foundation and Hinduja Tech among others were given an opportunity to interact with students of government schools and their families across the country and engage with them in a wide range of activities through technology based online and offline interactive modes. With the programme being underway, the foundation looks to progressively examine the possibility of enhancing the scope of the program to support its (Road to School) RTS target group of 80000 kids across multiple states.
The programme covered more than 8 states namely -- Rajasthan, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Karnataka, Tamil Nadu, Telangana. In order to reach out to students from different geographies, 6 different language preferences were offered wherein the highest number of sessions were undertaken in Hindi, followed by Tamil.
Learning Links Foundation, an NGO working with several of the Hinduja Group Companies, also extended its support to the iCare program by implementing all the on-field volunteering activities.
Commenting on the initiative, Mr. Paul Abraham, President, Hinduja Foundation said, “The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic has been critical in the country’s education sector where all the stakeholders are affected, the most vulnerable are the children. Amid the physical closure of schools, Covid-19 has also restricted their social engagements like meeting their friends, family or simply playing outside in the playground, hence affecting their overall development. The ‘iCare: Volunteer From Home’ program is one of its kind initiative that seeks to not just constructively engage the volunteers, the children (4 to 8 grade level) and their families, but also supports in helping children learn subject based content, build crucial skills as self-confidence and self-esteem, while advocating physical, mental, and social-emotional health a priority during these challenging times.”
The interaction of the volunteers under iCare program was through technology whereby the volunteers, while staying at home, had a choice to conduct 30 minutes sessions using live audio/video calls or pre-recorded audio/videos sessions using commonly available communication mediums, thereby ensuring accessibility to all the beneficiaries.
As part of this initiative, children were engaged in diverse activities that focused on helping them learn subject-based content better and build skills critical in these challenging times. These included ‘fun with math’ activities and others that centred on the theme of COVID-19, which were aimed at generating awareness on preventive measures to be taken during the pandemic. In addition, story-telling sessions, poetry sessions, mentoring sessions, wellness sessions and craft activities kept students interested and gave a boost to their self-esteem and confidence while also nurturing their physical and emotional wellbeing.
Post their iCare journey, volunteers shared their positive experience of engaging with children and conveyed interest in continuing with the activities in future. All the target beneficiaries, the parents and especially the children expressed their satisfaction with all the sessions.