Thomson Reuters’ CSR initiatives aligned with sustainable development goals, says Yogen Karumbaya


India CSR News Network

BENGALURU: Thomson Reuters recently honoured the National Blind Cricket Team (T20 & ODI World Cup Champs) at annual tournament Thomson Reuters Cricket Bash (TRCB) organised by the Thomson Reuters Sports Council for the staff. In conversation with India CSR NetworkYogen Karumbaya is the Site Head, Bangalore who is also co-chair of Thomson Reuters Disability Employee Network shared about the initiative. Edited Excerpts:

Can you please elaborate on the recent initiative undertaken by Thomson Reuters (TR) with the Indian National Blind Cricket Team?

As part of our effort to congratulate and salute the champions of the T20 Cricket World Cup for the visually impaired, we organised a friendly match between the World champions and the in-house cricket team. The event gave Thomson Reuters team the opportunity to meet and interact with the deeply talented champions, supported ably by the Samarthanam Trust for the Disabled. Thomson Reuters awarded the champions a grant cheque of Rs. 5,57,057 to facilitate the team’s growth and support their future endeavors.

What is the objective of this initiative?

The main objective is to underline the spirit of Thomson Reuters to create a highly inclusive community where all differences are accepted, appreciated and valued. Our employees were presented the opportunity to celebrate the champions for their hard work and also cultivate a more inclusive approach towards those with special needs.

What are the major focus areas? What are the other initiatives being undertaken by Thomson Reuters CSR team?

At Thomson Reuters, the major focus areas align with goals around Sustainable Development, including – Quality Education, Zero Hunger, No Poverty and Climate Action. All the initiatives are driven through non-profit organisations working primarily on the areas mentioned.

We work towards supporting public schools and resource centers with infrastructure facilities like classroom designing, creating a more pleasing and conducive environment for learning, setting up libraries to inculcate the habit of reading in students and equipping teachers with different creative learning aids like flash cards (alphabets) and educational charts. We collaborated with Youth For Seva, supported four slum study centers (Abhyasika) in Hyderabad – a student-centred environment, helping the students better themselves at crisis management and find solutions to their unique challenges. In its collaboration with Parikrma, Thomson Reuters is involved in sponsoring a class of 30 students to take care of not only their academics, but also their nutritional requirements, health care and family welfare, for a year.

Kindly highlight the outcome for these initiatives?

With respect to engagement with SMEs and Gainful employment, Thomson Reuters organizes a yearly activity- 100 Hours to Financial Markets – which has two pronged objectives, first is to equip young people from Tier 2 colleges with employable skill sets and other one is to create a skilled workforce that could potentially form a talent base for Thomson Reuters and other firms in the financial sectors. As part of ‘100 hours to Financial Markets’ the Financial & Risk team formed a collaboration with Corporate Responsibility & Inclusion Council and Talent Acquisition Team to develop specialized financial content for  commerce students to become better prepared to join the mainstream financial industry along with sessions on essential soft skills.

This program also aims at creating strategic partnerships that are in line with our business goals to enable sustainable business growth and maximize external connections. Being a holistic program, this aims at absorbing the students’ part of the program as prospective employees of Thomson Reuters and other multinational firms. The programme led to over 70 per cent of the students being hired by multiple companies including Thomson Reuters.

As part of the Social upliftment programme, our employees are actively involved in raising funds through trail walkers and marathons to help organisations working at grass root levels address real social issues like poverty and hunger. We also actively volunteer in engagement activities with organizations that take care of the Midday meal scheme in government schools. Thomson Reuters has been collaborating with Parikrma Humanity Foundation while sponsoring a class of 30 students to take care of their academics and also their nutritional requirements, health care and family welfare, every year. With the Apne Aap’s Women Collective- Project Udaan, Thomson Reuters focuses on prevention of intergenerational cycle of prostitution among children of Kamathipura, Mumbai. A total of 78 girls will be supported and provided holistic development with a focus on education, health services, financial empowerment, recreation and shelter under this programme.

As part of the Rural Outreach programme, Thomson Reuters worked closely with Rotary South West Bangalore and SELCO Foundation. In 2015-16, the project was initiated in four schools in Bangalore where solar lamps were provided to students in class VIII, IX and X to support their after school learning and education at home. In 2016-17, the project has been expanded to include two more schools in Hyderabad. The latter project involved providing sustainable energy solutions and work towards poverty alleviation. Sustainable energy solution lamps will be provided to over 500 households impacting about 2,500 beneficiaries in seven districts which are in close proximity to Bangalore.

Going forward for FY18 what are the plans and activities being planned by TR CSR arm?

We are planning to streamline our initiatives and deepen our intervention by working with a limited number of nonprofit organizations, in FY18. The initiatives would include a mix of activities on campus and off site, with a minimum duration of one hour each.

We are also looking at creating maximum awareness about the Volunteer Grant program, where we have- 20 hours of volunteer time converting to $500 to the respective organization and 40 hours of volunteer time, which converts to $1000 of grant to the organisation. We are also including CSR activities as part of different site events, the first of which, the Hour Power activity, takes off on March 28, 2017. As a part of the activity, we expect to have over 300 employees creating learning aids and educational materials to facilitate the learning process at government schools and support teachers in their every day engagements.

(About Yogen Karumbaya: He is the Site Head, Bangalore, at Thomson Reuters and the co-chair of Thomson Reuters Disability Employee Network. Yogen joined the organization twelve years ago in Bangalore as a Project Manager. Since then, Yogen has performed various leadership roles in Bangalore, including Global Data Operations Business Continuity/ Disaster Recovery Program Lead, Bangalore Migration Technical Program Lead and Asia Head of ETI, C&E and FX Content Program Management.)

Disclaimer: The thoughts captured in the interview is solely that of the interviewee. The views expressed by the author in this feature are entirely his own and do not necessarily reflect the views of India CSR and its Editor.

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