Corporate Social Responsibility
"The time is always right to do what is right."
– Martin Luther King, Jr.
Capital First Employees along with BALM staff and its client
With the conviction that education is the most powerful and effective change agent, the prime focus at Capital First is on education and skill training of the economically weaker sections of society. Apart from this broad arena of education, we also support two other causes - women empowerment and health selectively.
The Company chooses its CSR programs among many options in the CSR Committee and the Board Meeting(s) and does not get persuaded by any external influences other than those shortlisted in the best of spirit and which can add the social value in the pragmatic and idealistic sense. During FY 2015-16, we have launched seven key initiatives under this banner.
1. Capital First - Scholarship Program
Our flagship CSR program involves providing financial assistance to students who on their own merits, have been able to secure admission to reputed MBA institutes, but happen to belong to economically weaker section of the society and are therefore, unable to afford the expenses for the programs.
Such students will be awarded scholarship under the Capital First Scholarship Program. The first batch of such meritorious students are in the process of gaining admission to institutions that we have partnered with. During the course of the coming year, we intend to scale up the Program and provide scholarships to students who are admitted into the top 100 B-Schools in the country.
2. Capital First - BALM Fellowship Program
The Banyan Academy of Leadership in Mental Health (BALM) is a sister organisation of 'The Banyan' founded in 2007. The focus of this initiative is to advocate for positive mental health, increased access to care and recovery, engage in research and capacity building towards making relevant policy changes in the mental health and development sectors and to implement strategies to achieve visible outcomes, particularly in the context of persons affected by homelessness and poverty.
Towards creating 'change-makers' who are capable of driving social innovations, BALM offers master's programs such as Social Work in Mental Health, Applied Psychology (Counselling), Applied Psychology (Clinical) and Management, Entrepreneurship and Policy Analysis in Health and Mental Health, in collaboration with the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS).
All students with a family income of less than INR 1,50,000 per annum are eligible for Capital First - BALM Fellowship Program. Further, after the program, all students engage in a key initiative focussed on promoting mental health and wellbeing either through the Capital First - BALM Fellowship Program or regular placement opportunities. The program offers students a tuition waiver, rental and living stipend, support for local travel and travel for fieldwork placements. It offers all students, access to the Language and Writing Centre at BALM that will offer remedial English language classes and basic research skills.
While this initiative is in a nascent stage, it has already made great headway and the efforts invested will bear fruits in the years that follow.
3. Distribution of Books and Digital Products
Capital First, in collaboration with Navneet Education Ltd., identified 16 target schools in the three talukas of Pune district within which the needs of students for Educational Supplementary aid was chalked out, in consultation with their teachers and principal. The teachers were provided with training that guided them on the usage of supplementary books as tools for continuous evaluation. Further, one digital classroom was installed per school in seven schools across two talukas as per the need assessment undertaken. Students were also provided with handy materials that aided in the development of good English and vocabulary, along with other informative books.
Through this initiative, we have made special efforts towards drawing marginalised tribes into the formal education system. Special books that were not part of the regular curriculum were distributed to 3,942 students of 16 schools in Ambegaon, Junner and the Khed talukas in Maharashtra. These books will aid students' learning effectiveness and will also assist teachers.
We have ensured that the beneficiaries were all residential schools, run by the State Government and all the teachers in these schools are qualified with B.Ed. degrees.
Ashram School staff along with Capital First employees at Ghodegaon Village
Distribution of books by Capital First staff to students of tribal school
4. Capital First Woman of Substance
Towards empowering women from low-income backgrounds, using our primary platform of education, we have teamed up with the NGO - Etasha Society - to provide vocational training to our focus group.
We chose to work with Etasha as its community mobilisation team works tirelessly to engage with the local community through various programs and initiatives. The team works with local community leaders, NGOs and cultural organisations to reach the youth segment.
Under the initiative, the objective is to offer training to women between the ages of 18 and 30 years who are keen to earn a living.
The trainees are engaged in a dialogue to identify the nature of work they are most keen on doing, and, therefore, the right training program for them. Their eligibility for the desired program is then ascertained. By sponsoring a batch of students for this program, we promote their vocational training and, eventually, employment and thereby facilitate a better standard of living for these women and their families.
Capital First employees interacting with Etasha staff
Capital First employees with Etasha Staff
5. Capital First EduBridge Training Program
In a country that holds the promise of a demographic dividend, we are making efforts to ensure that the potential of the youth is not only tapped but maximised.
In collaboration with EduBridge, a Mumbai-based training organisation started by a group of IIM alumni and professors in October 2009 (also partners of the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC), a Govt. of India organisation), we have set up a co-branded career academy in Pune. Sponsored by Capital First Ltd., this academy provides job-oriented retail, BFSI, IT/ITeS and hospitality sector training and placements in reputed organisations in these sectors.
Actively participating in this program, through sponsorship, monitoring and mentoring, we have been able to mobilise 191 students till date at our Pune Academy. Out of these, 26 students have successfully completed the training and are now preparing themselves for placements.
We have also facilitated the training of some students in the Guwahati, Hyderabad and Jodhpur centres of EduBridge. In these centres, of the 125 students that have enrolled, 25 have successfully completed the training.
In a parallel initiative, Capital First and EduBridge have joined hands to provide a sustainable livelihood to rural youth. As a result of this partnership, we inaugurated the first Capital First Career Academy on February 23, 2016 near Thermax Chowk, Pune.
Going forward, we will be constantly supporting these students during their training and also in some of their future endeavours.
Inauguration of Capital First Career Academy at Pune along with EduBridge staff
Orientation program by Capital First Senior Management to students of Capital First Career Academy
6. Om Creations Trust – Supporting Children with Down's Syndrome
Capital First endeavours to help mentally challenged children / young adults to develop and realise their potential, by giving them opportunities to study, acquire skills and integrate into the mainstream. Our mission is also to empower them to lead.
The project Om Creations Trust has students from the SPJ Sadhana School with Specialised Education in the Arts and Crafts, Hospitality and Catering skills. This enables them to earn a living and also lead a more meaningful life. Regular monitoring, evaluation and training are done for the students, enabling them a productive and fulfilled life. Through this initiative, we have also given away stipends to 19 students who are from weaker sections of the society.
Capital First employees spending time with children of Om Creations Trust
7. Bala Janaagraha
Capital First in partnership with Bala Janaagraha runs an education program for children in 11 municipality schools in Nagpur City. The program focusses on teaching children the principles of good citizenship, in the process, delivering multiple other benefits to them. It, therefore, equips them to become active citizens, change agents and leaders.
8. Supporting Drought Relief Work
Two consecutive years of failed monsoons (2014 and 2015) has brought about the worst drought situation in four decades in Maharashtra. Almost one-fifth of the state has been affected severely and more than 10,000 villages need serious help. Mr. V. Vaidyanathan, CMD, Capital First Ltd., visited the drought-affected districts of Latur and Beed to get a firsthand understanding on the gravity of the situation. He engaged with the local people and assessed the way we can assist the affected people in Marathwada region with the help of the NGOs to bring in sustainable change in terms of river rejuvenation and building bunds in the affected areas of Marathwada region. Post the visit, Mr. Vaidyanathan, employees of the Company and Capital First contributed an amount of Rs.36 Lacs for the drought relief work in the region.
River Rejuvenation work conducted by local community and NGOs at Beed district supported by Capital First
The Sarpanch of the village at Beed discussing the efforts to remedy the situation