HYDERABAD: NGOs in the city are dime a dozen but there are very few who understand that women empowerment is another essential component that has to be worked upon. After the death of her IFS officer husband, Vemuri Vijaylakshmi, realised that economic independence through education is the best way to encourage women empowerment.
With an aim to make knowledge accessible to underprivileged girls in the society, she established Center for Social Service (CSS) in 2004. “I decided to adopt downtrodden girls and women who were badly in need of help,” says Vijaylakshmi. After struggling alone for two years, Vijaylakshmi was joined in her endeavour by Janaki and Thotakura Pramila.
In order to reach out to every age group, the NGO divided the women in four categories and came up with different programmes for each group.
The trio did manage to make a difference to these women’s lives but only to a certain extent. When it came to making the girls industry ready, they were unable to train the girls in soft skills like communication skills, personality development, public speaking among others. It was at this point that the CSR team of Delloite came as an intervention to CSS in 2007.
“The visit was a part of Impact day, a day when all the Delloite employees engage in social work. Though we had gone there just to spend a day with these kids, we realised they need something more than that. We started to train the girls to be industry ready,” recalls Lakshmi Pillai, senior manager, Delloite. The girls who were looking for employment opportunities were given an intensive coaching by the company. “We used the same curriculum that we follow in our organisation to train the employees in our company and customised it to suit the requirements of the girls,” explains Ranjeema Chowdhury, Delloite. The training classes are conducted every alternate week and assignments given out for the next week.
Mallika, who was deprived of education during childhood, successfully completed her education with the help of CSS. What’s more, on one of their visits to CSS, she asked them if she could work in Delloite. After a series of background checks, she was absorbed in the company in August 2014. While Mallika got employed at Delloite, the other girls were placed in reputed organisations in the city.
The company has also helped the NGO realise the importance of making themselves socially visible. “We created accounts for them on social networking sites and also added paypal in their websites to make it easy for donors to give funds,” explains Lakshmi.