FIS has been involved with financial inclusion and literacy in India from a Corporate Social Responsibility perspective. However, at the grassroots level, a key element that needs to be addressed is the problem of basic education. Hence FIS decided to sponsor primary education of 200 underprivileged children in one of Asia’s largest slum- Dharavi in the heart of Mumbai.
This initiative is being driven and monitored through the NGO- Smile Foundation at the school- Maulana Abul Kalam Azad Educational Trust’s -Maulana Azad English School.
Dharavi has an estimated one million people that reside in just one square mile of space that was earlier a mangrove swamp. The slum attracted daily job workers and laborers to work in the local tanneries and textile industries. Most of the children studying at this school are children of these daily wage workers and laborers.
At the inauguration function, FIS Executive team led by Ramaswamy Venkatachalam (Ramas), MD, India &South Asia and Ninad Chavda, Finance Director did the ribbon cutting. There was also the traditional lighting of the lamp. The lamp signifies bringing in light to get rid of the darkness. Light symbolizes knowledge and darkness signifies ignorance, hence lighting the lamp is supposed to welcome knowledge by removing ignorance.
Along with funding the tuition fees for the school children, FIS team also distributed school bags to the children.
The next step in the initiative is to get FIS employees to talk about financial literacy to the students and their parents. Ramas was also happy to invite a section of students to visit the FIS offices in Powai, Mumbai- so they could get a glimpse of working in the corporate sector. The idea was to motivate these young minds to study hard so that they could do well for themselves when they grow up.