HDFC Bank Brand Parivartan in action - Ashima Bhat, Group Head, CSR explains what it is all about
HDFC Bank CSR Brand 'Parivartan' has been making a difference to children and women in backward areas thereby, creating opportunities for personal progress across a spectruim of activities.
HDFC Bank CSR Brand 'Parivartan' has been making a difference to children and women in backward areas thereby, creating opportunities for personal progress across a spectruim of activities. Ashima Bhat, Group Head, CSR, explains how the entire scheme translates into on-ground action at one such spot in the vast programme, which is Anjanapur Village, in the district of Ahmednagar in Maharashtra - it is one of the thousand villages where the lender has worked under HRDP. Here are excerpts from the conversation:
On why locations like Anjanapur were chosen?
Actually, these are the locations which make up real India and which is why when we work in Parivartan at HDFC Bank, these are the locations where we can actually see the transformation happening.
On the philosophy behind Parivartan
See, the very name ‘Parivartan’ is talking about change, but it also means sustainable change because that’s what really makes the difference. We can come, change something in these locations but unless it’s sustainable, which is also the philosophy we follow that we don’t just make the change but we co-create the change. We involve the local bodies, the teachers, the villagers, so that there is a sense of ownership in what we are doing.
When we walk into a place like this and we are changing, say for example, the school, the water, the agriculture & the solar lighting, we do it in such a way that there is a sense of belonging of each of the interventions. So typically in a school like this, we would do a lot of smaller projects - we would do the sanitation unit that you can see behind you, we would do the wall-painting because how to make learning more fun for the children.
On children's education
A very important part of Parivartan is the education of children, and how we can make it more interesting, more invigorating for the children, but also more importantly, one of the largest programs we run is what we call Teach The Teachers, and in this program we have trained almost about 16 lakh teachers across the country because only if a teacher is well-trained and can understand the subject is when she can make the subject more interesting and invigorating for the children.
We firmly believe is that innovation doesn’t necessarily have to come at a cost. So, through our Teach The Teachers program we realized that the teachers are full of ideas, and very simple ideas on
how they can make education more fun.
On financial literacy workshop for women
Giving financial literacy to women actually empowers the full family. So, in these workshops, which we conduct thousands of through-out the country, we teach them about basic saving in terms of how to prioritize consumption so that they can create much more wealth for themselves and their families, and that is what brings about real improvement and we do this through our instructors.
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On empowering women, particularly in rural India
It’s very very important, and also the access to the information that they have while we in the cities feel that it’s available, in rural India they have very limited access. So it’s very important to teach them about financial literacy, to give them that empowerment, because once, like I mentioned, once a woman changes then it benefits the entire family.
On Holistic Change
I think the best satisfaction comes from seeing that there is holistic change, so what we call the HRDP or Holistic Rural Development Program, under that we just don’t do one intervention, we are doing multiple interventions in the village. I think one of our important interventions is the biogas that we are doing, which then impacts each of the households. So that’s what brings real change, and that’s what gives us the immense satisfaction that we’re making a difference.
On Tree Plantation Drive
I think one of the large interventions the bank has done is the tree plantation drive. So Anjanapur is one of the villages which come under the rain-shadow area, and the villagers were very concerned that the green cover in the village should increase because that attracts the rain. So we worked with them on that in fact, one very interesting fact about Anjanapur is that every time a girl-child is born in the village, they plant a tree and their duty is to kind of nurture it and make it grow, which is why you see the lovely lush greenery around here.
So, what you would notice is that when the bank works in this holistic program, it’s a multi-faceted program and you’ve seen today the education that we would do, the school, the biogas, the solar
lighting & the tree plantation. So that makes it a complete inclusive growth and that’s what brings power to the village as well.