By Rusen Kumar
Prashasti Rastogi, CSR & Diversity Lead, Wiley India who is also serving as Director, Wiley India Communications & WileyNXT Business Strategy and Partnerships, spoke to Rusen Kumar, Editor, India CSR on Wiley India’s CSR initiatives. In her conversation, Prashasti Rastogi explained how Wiley India’s CSR initiatives are making a meaningful impact on the lives of young talent from underprivileged communities. Excerpts:
Tell us about your business and its philosophy?
Wiley is an American multinational publishing company founded in the year 1807, which has evolved today into a global leader in research and education. For over more than 200 years, we have been helping people and organizations develop the skills and knowledge they need to succeed.
Our philosophy is guided by our three core objectives- Enabling Discovery, Powering Education & Shaping Workforce. We are on a mission to empower communities and make a difference in their lives by delivering education and training, imparting skills, closing the talent deficit and enabling access to the scientific and scholarly insights that are helping solve some of the world’s biggest challenges.
What are your focus areas on CSR?
At Wiley, making a meaningful difference to lives and livelihoods is at the core of everything that we do. Our CSR initiatives are driven by our purpose of encouraging young talent from the underprivileged communities, especially women and girls, to become ‘Atmanirbhar’ and stand on their own feet.
Along with our partners’ support, we provide skill-based and vocational training to underprivileged children and orphaned girls and aid them in leading a meaningful life full of respect and dignity.
Brief us about Wiley India’s CSR initiatives. Also, help us understand your new project ‘Mitra’.
Wiley India in collaboration with ‘Little Star Home’, an all-girls orphanage based in a small district of Katni, Madhya Pradesh, and home to girls rescued from trafficking, flesh trade and many other social injustices, aim to empower ‘Little Stars’, girls of the orphanage with skill-based training. The Company also supports ‘Little Star Home’ in building and developing the infrastructure required for facilitating a holistic environment. Under this initiative, the girls of the orphanage are trained in computer, cooking, beautician, fashion designing, arts and crafts, martial arts, swimming, wrestling and horse riding. With proper guidance and adequate support, some of these girls have made it to the national and district levels for horse riding and shooting. To date, a total of 400 precious lives have been transformed via meaningful interventions.
As a step forward, we have begun an employee volunteering initiative, Project Mitra that has two-pronged objectives- to instill a sense of security amongst the children and to allow our people and employees an opportunity to give back to society in their little ways and abilities. Under this initiative, Wiley India’s employees as ‘Mitras’ (friends and family) play a vital role in the social integration and inclusion of the young girls of the ‘Little Star Home’. As ‘Mitras’, employees (individually or along with their respective families) are interacting and engaging with the little stars (kids at the orphanage) as their friends, family, and mentors to help and support them.
Has the Covid-19 pandemic impacted any of the CSR Initiatives?
Wiley had built a Skill Development Center within the Kali Basti slum area in Delhi. The project in collaboration with Jagriti, a pioneering society, aims at conducting a series of job-oriented training as well as awareness sessions for children, women and youth residing in the slum. These are ongoing training in several batches, which run throughout the day to align with the work and school timings of the enrolled candidates.
Before the pandemic, the underprivileged children at the Center were being trained in computer, mobile repair, make-up and grooming, and spoken English/ personality development. However, taking cognizance of the pandemic and prioritizing the health and safety of people, we decided to halt the training. It shall resume as soon as the situation becomes plausible.
Because of the Covid-19 situation, our CSR project ‘Mitra’ well has commenced with the virtual mode of engagement. This will transmute into a physical mode of engagement as per the evolving situation.