By Rusen Kumar
NEW DELHI: Max India Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) arm of Max Group, a leading multi-business conglomerate with a presence in Life Insurance, Health and Allied businesses and Manufacturing. Over the course of 10 years, the Foundation has benefitted over 30 lakh underprivileged people in 772 locations across the country in partnership with more than 445 NGOs. It works are aligned to the larger development agenda as well as Sustainable Development Goals to contribute towards nation building. Max India Foundation is celebrating 10th years of excellence in social sector.
In an interview with Rusen Kumar, Editor, India CSR Network; Mohini Daljeet Singh, CEO, Max India Foundation says, “We believe that healthcare is a basic right of an individual and not a privilege dependent on one’s financial capacity.”
Excerpts of an interview. Happy reading!
What are the key focus areas of your work? How many people has it benefitted overall, till date?
Max India Foundation is working on the healthcare platform to improve quality of life with care and concern. We believe that healthcare is a basic right of an individual and not a privilege dependent on one’s financial capacity. The Foundation works with a comprehensive 360° approach to combat health challenges in the country. Our interventions have been designed in a manner that helps to bring about a positive holistic change in the lives of the underprivileged. Key interventions on the ground include pan India immunisation camps, health camps and health centres, artificial limbs and polio callipers camps, facilitation of high-end surgeries and treatment and adopting few villages to develop them as model villages. Over the course of 10 years, the Foundation has benefitted over 30 lakh underprivileged people in 772 locations across the country in partnership with more than 445 NGOs.
What are the challenges you faced in the last 10 years? What learnings have come out of those challenges and roadblocks?
The major challenge that we face in any intervention is overcoming the mindset of people and getting them to accept our interventions. Getting the beneficiaries to believe in the long-term benefits of accepting our interventions rather than focussing on simple short-term benefits is another challenge we try to overcome through our continuous and persistent efforts on ground. We learnt early on that there is a wide gap between planning and implementing the program and consequently, all our on-ground interventions are based on the needs and requirements of the beneficiaries rather than us imposing our projects on their lives. Our major learning has come in getting us face-to-face with the harsh realities that people have to live through that has made our resolve of changing the lives of the people even stronger. Seeing a smile on the faces of the beneficiaries despite their major challenges is what inspires us and keeps us going despite any roadblock we may face. None of it would have been possible without the support of our partners and the dedication of the MIF team to strive towards serving the people.
Has the Foundation made any changes following the introduction of new CSR rules under the Companies Act, 2013?
The Foundation has been committed to its cause since 2008, which is well before CSR became mandatory. Our work and initiatives are in alignment with the provisions of the Act and has encouraged us at the Foundation to work harder towards our goals and put in more diligent efforts at bringing about a positive change in people’s lives.
Which all villages have you adopted and what are the activities undertaken there by MIF?
MIF has adopted village clusters across Punjab and Uttarakhand in order to develop them as model villages across the health and sanitation platforms. The Foundation has adopted Rail Majra village in Punjab as well as Dhakrani and Chandrothi village in Uttarakhand. Work undertaken in these villages is in consultation with all the concerned stakeholders in an attempt to carry out overall development of the villages. In these villages, future perfect sanitation technologies have been put to good use. Waste segregation is being used as a tool to inspire many other neighbouring villages. These will be smart villages in rural setups just like the Smart Cities concept being worked out in urban areas that empower quality living and holistic health.
Could you tell us more about the Drug de-addiction program? What role does UN play here?
Drug abuse and addiction are emerging as the major challenges among the youth of the country and Max India Foundation is doing its bit to address the issue. The Foundation has been supporting De-addiction Centre in Baramulla since April 2016 for the youth who have been caught in the vicious web of drug abuse. The Centre, started and anchored by the Indian Army organizes drug de-addiction seminars, recreational activities, Individual and Group counselling sessions, motivational talks and occupational rehabilitation. So far, the drug de addiction program has benefited 499 youth.
Recently, Max India Foundation entered into a strategic partnership with the United Nations Office on Drugs & Crime [UNODC] to curb the drug menace in Punjab. As part of the partnership, counselling and awareness initiatives will be conducted across Punjab including areas where Max India Foundation works. UNODC has vast experience of working in this platform across the world. It has experienced trainers and experts for successful implementation. It is such expertise that is required to make the much needed change. Therefore, UNODC will play a very important role in implementing the program.
What is your plan and target for 2018?
For the year 2018, we intend to continue with our core programs around immunization, health camps, health centres, treatments and surgeries, health awareness and village adoption. These programs are highly relevant to the community and we would aim at covering newer geographies to reach the underprivileged in need. Also, our sewage treatment project in Dhakrani which covers over 60,000 sq. ft of pipeline will be nearing completion, and we look forward presenting a unique model as part of Village Adoption program.
Backed with the experience, knowledge and support of our Group Companies, we aspire to be the most significant CSR organisation working on the Health Care platform. At an average, we are touching more than three lakh underprivileged people directly on annual basis while collaborating with over 40-50 new partners on the ground. Our plan is well aligned to the country’s larger development agenda as well as Sustainable Development Goals to contribute towards nation building.
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