The Company's Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) team in India recently visited the Mission Education Centre in Noida, Uttar Pradesh – a school supported by CNH Industrial and its New Holland Agriculture brand.
Army veterans founded the Mission Education Centre to help Noida's underprivileged children, who come from the neighboring slums that are home to some 10,000 people. But the school suffered from poor attendance and a high dropout rate, as with few resources, it was hard to keep the children motivated.
The Smile Foundation, an NGO that matches sponsors with projects, approached CNH Industrial and New Holland Agriculture for help. After working together for two years, the results are plain to see.
Kavita Sah, Head of CSR India at CNH Industrial, explains: "We fund the education of 200 children at the school between the ages of seven and 15, up to Standard Eight. It's part of our CSR, with its focus on education and the environment. The children attend from 8am until 1.30pm and learn Math, English, Hindi, History, Geography and other subjects."
"Attendance is up to an average of 95 percent from somewhere between 30 and 40 percent before our involvement. More girls are coming to school – they account for 52 percent of the school roll, up from less than 40 percent. And since we became involved, all the children continue to the next school level to finish their education," Sah says. "This is extremely important to enable them to join the formal workforce, which in turn enhances their chances of getting a good job."
Poverty is a huge problem in the school's catchment area. Shriya, a bright 10-year-old, tells how she wants to become a doctor. She lives with her grandmother and mother, who is the sole breadwinner, working as a housemaid – a situation that is shared by many of her fellow students.