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Social Initiatives

Making Difference

HDFC continued its involvement in socially responsive actions primarily aimed at improving the quality of life of our surrounding communities. The following pages will illustrate the varied projects supported by HDFC through the Shelter Assistance Reserve.

A mixed spectrum of development initiatives were supported this year, involving close to 180 partner organisations spread across the country. The segment-wise break-up of the utilization of the Reserve is illustrated in the chart below:

Cited below are a few cases in no specific order, with information on projects supported by HDFC out of the Reserve during FY2012-13:


Vicharata Samuday Samarthan Manch

Vicharata Samuday Samarthan Manch (VSSM) works for the rights and welfare of nomadic & de-notified communities and aims to help mainstream these communities by enabling them to fight for their rights. Currently, it is working for 40 nomadic and de-notified tribes in 8 districts of Gujarat. The children from nomadic and de-notified tribes even today do not enjoy their fundamental right to education. Due to the discrimination faced by these children in existing schools, VSSM has set up alternate methods of teaching. VSSM believes that education is the first step to long-term empowerment and hence has set up alternate schools or tent schools in remote settlements to inculcate the habits of school life amongst the children. The children are taught to work within the boundaries of classrooms with the long-term aim to integrate them into the formal school system.

Today, VSSM runs 31 such 'bridge schools' which provide elementary education wherein children are taught not only to read and write, but exposed to basic skills and provided with nutritious meals. Each tent school runs for around 5 - 7 years until the children are ready to be integrated into the government schools. The 'bridge school' program caters to over a 1,000 children annually. HDFC has adopted the running of 5 such 'bridge schools' spread across Gujarat.


The Bombay Community Public Trust

As the first community foundation in India, The Bombay Community Public Trust (BCPT) was set up as a model organisation with the primary task of administering public funds for improving the quality of life of Mumbai's citizens. Over the years BCPT has acted as a facilitator and a catalyst for projects and NGOs trying to address the various issues that confront the city of Mumbai. Over the years HDFC has tied up with BCPT to partner several projects, one of which is highlighted below:

Masoom is working towards improving the quality of education in night schools across Mumbai. In order to achieve this, Masoom partners with night schools to facilitate the 'Night School Transformation Programme'. The Transformation Programme is specifically tailored to meet the needs of the night school and the individual students. Masoom's strategic model is designed to assess and improve the infrastructure, such as assessing the volume of notebooks available, providing textbooks and study material, setting up mobile science labs, providing daily nutrition, etc. Secondly, it assesses capacity, such as breadth and diversity of subjects taught and the quality of teaching provided. Finally, Masoom works as an advocate for the rights of the night school students, aiming to increase governmental support. Masoom brings together the teachers, head masters and trustees to share valuable information and deliver programme improvements. HDFC, through BCPT has partnered with Masoom towards the running of the 'Night School Transformation Programme' across 2 night schools in Mumbai.


Yuva Mitra

Yuva Mitra has been working in the field of education, youth development and women empowerment for the last seven years in Sinner Taluka of Nashik. The activities of the organisation include creative methodology for children education and formation and development of self help groups engaging in savings and credit activities. The organisation has also taken up the issue of malnutrition in the Taluka.

The organisation had approached HDFC for a program on imparting life skill training for adolescent girls. The program focuses on the particular needs of adolescent girls in rural areas - their general vulnerability, inaccessibility to basic health care and education, understanding about reproductive health needs and rights and misconceptions about age old traditions. Yuva Mitra aims to impart life skills and build up confidence in these adolescent girls through this program and also thereby change the approach of parents and teachers who make an impact on their lives. The program was run across 50 schools impacting over 8,000 adolescent girls.


Institute of Fundamental Studies & Research

The Institute of Fundamental Studies and Research (IFSaR) is a not-for-profit organisation promoted by committed individuals who have extensive knowledge and working experience pertaining to the life, culture, issues and challenges faced by the socially and economically vulnerable and marginalised communities of the Thar region. The organisation aims to empower the rural communities in the harsh, predominantly barren and remote desert region of the Thar by offering them strategic support and guidance that would initiate and sustain socially just and optimum ecological practices.

In order to bring about qualitative change exclusively in the lives of the children coming from a poor socioeconomic background, the IFSaR Upper Primary School, a day-boarding school was established in village Gharsisar, Bikaner. The school is recognized by the Dept. of Education, Govt. of Rajasthan for providing education up to class VIII and follows the State Govt. Board's curriculum. This establishment was conceived not merely as a school but as a rural centre for learning. HDFC has supported the construction of additional classrooms at the school premises in order to be able to cater to more number of children.


Tata Institute of Social Sciences

HDFC has been associated with the field action projects of The Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) for several years. This year too HDFC supported the Institute on three projects, one of which is highlighted below:

Project TANDA
The TANDA (Towards Advocacy Networking and Developmental Action) is a field action project initiated by TISS in 2009 to work on entitlements and rights of de-notified and nomadic communities in Mumbai, Navi Mumbai and Raigadh. These communities are not organized, live in extremely unhygienic conditions and there is no external intervention to support them in terms of affirmative action and other entitlements. They remain vulnerable to economic and social stigmas as a result of poverty and marginalization. TANDA has started working with the 'Pardhi, Vadar, Banjara and Masanjogi' community and is engaged with over 2,000 families. The project has created self-help groups of women with the focus to engage them in policy lobbying and advocacy. The aim is to create self-reliant communities who enjoy constitutional rights and entitlements, to advocate with policy 174 makers to include these communities in government welfare schemes, collaborate with other NGOs working on similar issues and identify resources meant for these communities.

Muskaan is a voluntary organisation of parents and professionals, established in 1982 providing comprehensive education, vocational training and work opportunities to young people who are mentally challenged. The organisation offers support services to parents as well as raises awareness about the various issues surrounding people with intellectual disabilities. Sometimes, due to incomplete development of the brain, intellectual/cognitive functions are not fully developed in some people. This range of conditions is generally referred to as 'intellectual disability' or 'learning disability'. Muskaan caters to all such levels of disability with the aim to making these individuals contributing members of mainstream society.

A group of parents within Muskaan have created a residential facility for adults with disabilities who will need assisted living for life. The National Trust set up by the government has leased Muskaan 3 acres of land in Dera village for this purpose. The building has been renovated for residential purposes. The first group of people with disabilities has already joined in from July 2012. This facility is an integrated setting providing an all-inclusive, individually planned care and training centre aimed at making residents independent.


Cochin Metropolis Charitable Trust

Rotary Club of Cochin Metropolis has adopted two schools - Government Lower Primary School at Ponnurunni and Higher Secondary School of Jesus at Kothad. The schools cater to students from the lowest socio economic strata of the society. The Club provides all requisite material to the students including a mid-day meal, runs regular medical camps and also set up a computer and library in the school premises. There is lack of sanitation facilities for the girl students in the schools which lead to dropouts and health & hygiene issues.

To provide proper sanitation facilities to the girl students and create in them the awareness and need for personal hygiene and sanitation a total of 12 toilet blocks were constructed by HDFC in partnership with the Trust (2 blocks in the Government Lower Primary School at Ponnurunni & 10 blocks in Higher Secondary School of Jesus at Kothad). This project will provide sanitation facility to 570 girl students in both the schools.


Foundation for Twinkling Little Eyes

The Foundation with its out-reach programs aiming to redress the suffering of low income groups living in rural and urban slums and tribal areas in Maharashtra through free eye camps and free eye treatment. The Foundation is committed to eradicate the needless and avoidable blindness in society through better access to eye care and quality care treatment. Creation of awareness of diseases among general public and medical fraternity is one of the main objectives of the Foundation. The Foundation conducts a door to door survey to detect eye related ailments in specific slum pockets - at Dharavi, Chembur, Mankhurd, Govandi and Dahisar. Those with an eye ailment are counseled to attend screening camps which are conducted free of cost in the slum pockets. The Foundation conducts over 100 such camps and 70 children camps across municipal schools in these slum pockets. Those with eye ailments are brought in for follow-up at the OPD in Dharavi. HDFC partnered the Foundation in meeting the expenses of carrying out the camps across slum pockets and schools.


Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti

The Bhagwan Mahaveer Viklang Sahayata Samiti (BMVSS), more popularly known as Jaipur Foot was set up in 1975 for helping the physically challenged, particularly the financially weak among them. BMVSS is the largest organization, for the handicapped in the world in terms of fitment of artificial limbs and calipers etc. for the physically challenged. BMVSS provides all their services totally free of charge.

The organisation has benefitted more than 1.25 million disabled persons from across India with close to 60,000 artificial limbs and calipers being provided annually. The organisation has signed MoUs with Stanford and MIT which has resulted in collaborations such as the Jaipur Knee. The Foundation has also held limb fitment camps in 26 countries in Asia, Africa and Latin America. The total annual expenditure of the organisation comes to Rs. 16 crore of which approx. 40% is met through Government schemes. The balance is raised from donations and HDFC has partnered with the organisation on their charitable initiative.


Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deafblind

The Helen Keller Institute for the Deaf and Deafblind was started in 1977 with the belief that every type of disability can be overcome through education and training. It is also the first institute in India to create, build and develop services for the deaf / deafblind children and young adults through daycare / residential facilities and other ancillary services.

The Institute runs a school cum residential facility for deaf / deafblind students in Navi Mumbai. The establishment is equipped with a diagnostic lab and a therapy room for the children. The facility caters to over 100 deafblind children. The institute approached HDFC to install a 20KW roof top solar power system which will aid in reducing the electricity consumption in the building to a large extent.


SWADHAR Institute for Development of Women and Children

Swadhar was established in 1995 in Pune with the main aim to work with women in distress and with underprivileged children. The emphasis is on ensuring their development through guidance, counseling, education and empowerment. As of today, through its various programs Swadhar reaches out to over 13,000 women and children.

Swadhar runs a project titled 'Mohor' for development of children living in red-light areas of Pune. The aim of the project is to provide a normal, safe childhood for the children along with education, medical assistance and overall development. The objectives are to protect and develop the children, to also provide gender specific services to the girl children thereby making them aware of their rights. The children attend Swadhar run crèches, day-care centres and night shelters. The mothers are encouraged to enroll their children into school and ensure a normal childhood and good future for them. HDFC partnered Swadhar towards their 'Mohor' project for a period of one year.


Shankari Foundation

The Shankari Foundation has been working on providing various facilities towards supporting the vulnerable elderly community in Bengaluru. The organisation runs a day-care centre for senior citizens. The centre provides social, recreational and medical facilities for the elderly. The organisation also runs a helpline for women in distress, health-awareness camps and a referral centre wherein cases are recommended for other services.

The Foundation had approached HDFC for assistance towards an old age home that has been set up in Malleshwaram, Bengaluru. The construction of the building is complete with donations from various corporate houses and individual donors. However, the Foundation has been unable to operationalize the home in the absence of essential items such as cots, beds, chairs, storage units etc. HDFC partnered the Foundation for assistance towards meeting the expenses for purchase of the essential furniture requirements which will enable the running of the old age home.


CanKids KidsCan

In 2004, CanKids was set up under the umbrella of Indian Cancer Society, New Delhi as their childhood cancer unit. The vision was to provide the entire spectrum of assistance to children with cancer and their families, anywhere in India, to enable best standards of treatment, care and support, and to ensure no child suffered for want of treatment for lack of finance

The treatment for childhood cancer is long, spanning anywhere between 6 months to 3 years. During this period children are deprived of any form of education which makes it difficult for them to be reintegrated back into the school system. The organisation has opened up India's first ever special school for children with cancer, in partnership with the Municipal Corporation of Mumbai. The organisation has been given space in an existing municipal school to conduct both formal and non-formal education with children who are undergoing treatment for cancer. Children receive all the benefits of municipal schools - education, books, uniforms and nutrition. The organisation provides for reimbursement of transport expenses and a school bus pick up and drops the children. Currently 70 children are registered under this program.