Milan Thakkar, CEO, Walplast is a visionary entrepreneur with years of experience in the real estate and construction sector. Having brought Walplast to the forefront as a leading manufacturer of infrastructure and building solutions, he had a vision to help Indians across the country by uplifting them especially in the rural sector. With this vision, he established the Walplast Welfare Foundation, which has till date helped more than 70,000 students as well as Indian families across India. Sharing his experiences with India CSR for Leadership Series in a recent interview, Milan gives an insight on the goals and objectives of the Foundation. Excerpts of the interview:
When was Walplast Welfare Foundation set up and how has the journey been so far?
Walplast Welfare Foundation (WWF) was established in the year 2019. It has been completely focused on the underprivileged students across the country and has majorly contributed to areas around our factories PAN India.
Till date, we have supported more than 70,000 Students across India. It includes the early stage of our NGO which, earlier in 2015, was started under the name Asha Charitable Trust. The Actual transformation took in the year 2017-2018, where for the very first time around 25,000 plus students across India were supported and the story is still going on since then.
What are some of the major initiatives the Foundation has taken up in the past?
Construction of the infrastructure like classrooms, washrooms, canteen, hall, etc. are among the major activities that the Foundation conducts. We also provide study materials like books, pencils, pen, study table, chairs, benches, computers as well as digital TVs with projectors. We provide the medical support like masks, cotton, Dettol, etc to hospitals and provide drinking water facilities.
What were the activities that the Foundation conducted this year especially during the pandemic? How do you think the road to recovery will be?
During the pandemic, we constructed several facilities for schools across India. We helped hospitals with various daily use requirements of bedsheets, masks, sanitizers etc. We also provided the blankets and sanitizer as well as clothing to all our labourers.
With education being the major focus of your CSR activities, how do you plan to help the education sector especially in the rural areas in the coming year?
We provided extra hall and rooms as well as furniture to schools so that proper social distancing is maintained and students can study easily. We also provided masks, sanitizers, etc for the students so that they can maintain health and safety norms.
Will there be other sectors that the Foundation will focus on in the coming year?
Currently we are only focusing on programs and activities that will help school students. We haven’t planned on any other activity as yet.
The current pandemic brought with it several issues for the country, one of them including financial stress upon several businesses and MSMEs across India. With the financial burden increasing and the concerns towards addressing COVID related issues, 80% of the CSR budget was spent towards COVID related issues by India Inc. This would have left a lower budget allocation for other activities. But one such organization continued its spending as it has done over the past several years. Walplast, one of the leading manufacturers of infrastructure and building solutions has continued to maintain its CSR spending towards – Donating arrangements for seating, air conditioning, water purifier, digital and smart class to schools. Donations went to schools in remote areas and villages in states such as Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan and others. These donations have helped and positively impacted the lives of 20,000 students across India till date. Walplast has also donated to poor labourers as well as hospitals this year.