BENGALURU: Bagepalli, barely 100 km north of Bengaluru, on the Bengaluru-Hyderabad stretch of NH-7, is seeing some buzz. Accenture has zeroed in on this village town to break some gender barriers.
The global professional services company, in partnership with READ India, is trying to improve the employability and livelihood of over 150 underprivileged women and young girls.
The handholding initiative at the rural community development centre aims to provide not just work-skills training in computers, local crafts, sewing or stitching but also boost women’s self-confidence, enable them to take decisions and help them to read and write.
READ India, the Indian arm of the Rural Education and Development (READ) Global, opened its first community resource library in India way back in 2008.
READ Global is a non-profit organisation operating in rural South Asia and headquartered in San Francisco, California. The NGO was founded on the belief that improved access to educational resources creates lasting social change in developing communities. It partners villages to build Community Library and Resource Centers (READ Centers).
The centre will have a multimedia and communications room, an IT area for ICT-based learning, a library and places where women can attend classes, participate in trainings and receive medical examinations.
Sarva Dharma Samanvaya Trust, which has been running a school for children at Bagepalli since 2001, is providing the space for the centre.
Over 850 rural households lie within a 5km radius of it. “The rural development centre is an extension of our collaborative work to bring systematic change within a community,” said Rekha M Menon, chairman and managing director of Accenture in India.
A rural community thrives when the engagement and programmes are multi-faceted and address various needs together in a holistic manner, she added.
The launch of the centre reflects Accenture’s global corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, which is equipping over 3 million people around the world by 2020 with the skills to get a job or build a business. The new effort extends the company’s commitment in Bagepalli, where, with RuralShores, it has been providing training and employment opportunities since 2013.
According to Geeta Malhotra, director, READ India, “Combination of regular workshops on confidence building, personality development and life skills made women realise their potential. Adding income to the family helps them to create a position for themselves and also take decisions about their children’s future.”
“As part of our Skills to Succeed initiative, we now have two full-time programmes running in Bagepalli,” said Kshitija Krishnaswamy, director of corporate citizenship. “At our skilling centre in Bagepalli, through our partnership with DB Tech and Quest alliance, we have trained over 108 individuals and placed 87 of them in gainful employment. The rural community centre is another prong in our development efforts to raise the standard of living and employability in Bagepalli and surrounding villages,” Krishnaswamy added.