Hinduja Global Solutions is collaborating with the Government, fellow corporate, NGOs, and its employees to fight against COVID 19. In an email interview with Apresh Mishra, Shilpa Sinha Harsh, SVP – Global Corporate Communications, CSR, and D&I, HGS, talks about various initiatives taken by the company. Excerpts:
What are the kinds of CSR activities HGS is a part of?
Our CSR philosophy is ‘Work to Give’ for a better tomorrow. We focus on various social priorities according to the needs of the specific geographies. In India, our CSR programs primarily focus on Health, Education, Skilling, and Persons with Disability (PwD) welfare while the focus areas in our other geographies include the environment, sustainable livelihood, and veteran welfare among others.
Can you tell us the initiatives taken during the time of COVID-19?
HGS is collaborating with the Karnataka State Government and a few other BPM companies in supporting two of the state government’s critical helpline initiatives. One is a 24-hour COVID-19 phone helpline with volunteer agents answering various queries from citizens while the second is Apthamitra, a telemedicine helpline manned by over 50 nurses and doctors. HGS has also donated 30,000+ reusable masks to the Bengaluru City Police to protect police personnel as they continue to enforce prescribed government guidelines.
HGS has also contributed to NASSCOM Foundation for the distribution of food and groceries to individuals who have suffered loss of livelihood across Bengaluru, Chennai, Pune, Hyderabad, Delhi and the NCR region.
HGS is also supporting Hinduja Hospital in setting up isolation wards, purchasing medical equipment and consumables for distribution among the underserved.
Will you be continuing with virtual activities for CSR this year? Or how are you planning to change in the coming months?
HGS being a people-first company, safety, and well-being of our employees and the communities are our top priority. To ensure this safety, we’re continuing most of our functions remotely or virtually which does not require an office infrastructure to function and CSR is no exception. We have initiated several remote volunteering opportunities that have enabled our employees to contribute from the safety of their homes. The channels of communication for these activities have been telephonic conversations, audio recordings, and document creation.
As of now HGS volunteers in partnership with our NGO partners have conducted 30 sessions with youth on employability skills, and general knowledge to make them job ready, and facilitated audio recording school text books in Tamil to help students with Vision Impairment study.
Our volunteers have interacted with young job seekers to help them create their first resume and instructed them in vernacular languages on various educational and inspirational topics by recording a video or through video calls.
The volunteers are also supporting the government in providing the right information to concerned citizens about COVID-19 through both inbound and outbound calls.
Has HGS collaborated with any NGOs or the government to help combat the COVID-19 crisis?
HGS is collaborating with the Karnataka Government and a few other BPM companies in supporting two of the state government’s critical helpline initiatives. One is a 24-hour COVID-19 phone helpline with volunteer agents answering various queries from citizens while the second is Apthamitra, a telemedicine helpline manned by over 50 nurses and doctors.
We have attended to over1 lakh calls across the two helplines since their launch. Through the 104-helpline, we identified around 500 probable COVID-19 cases and provided information regarding treatment to those who tested positive, while over 100 suspected cases were reported to surveillance authorities for tracking and isolation. In addition, the Apthamitra Helpline team reported around 100 suspected cases to surveillance authorities. Besides COVID-19, we have also provided guidance to over 16,000 people including migrant workers regarding their food and travel arrangements.
What are your plans for creating a sustainable environment with focus on health & safety?
In order to ensure the successful adoption of our initiatives by the communities, many of our NGO partners involve local government bodies in their operations. This enables easy dissemination of program-related information and helps gain acceptance for the program within the communities. This in turn promotes enrolment and builds sustainability. For example, the ‘Childhood to Livelihood’ program supported by Magic Bus India Foundation engages the District Education Officer & government school teachers in their activities. The Akshaya Patra Foundation (TAPF) and Plan India work with the state government for school selections and permission to engage.
Additionally, some of our programs create impact beyond their scope of assigned beneficiaries and contribute to the welfare of the larger community. For example, TAPF provides meals to the family members of students and local residents during festivals. The Advanced Mobile Healthcare Unit (AMHU) conducts awareness sessions and WASH campaigns for the villagers.
How does the environmental sustainability strategy now fit the existing goals of your organisation?
Environmental sustainability continues to be a focus area for us and we keep leveraging opportunities through our volunteering activities in association with our partners. This could be in the form of lake cleaning, beach cleaning, school renovation, community cleaning, etc. There is no dilution of focus when it comes to the environment.