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Bosch India provides warm meals to underprivileged school children
In India, many needy families face a dilemma: if they send their children to school, they often have too little money left over to pay for food. And if children have to work, they do not have access to education, cannot learn an occupation, and thus cannot escape poverty.
In order to provide these children with educational opportunities, Bosch India is supporting the construction of a canteen kitchen not far from the city of Bengaluru. As soon as February, the kitchen is set to start delivering warm lunches to 15,000 school children each day in the vicinity of the new Bosch manufacturing site in Bidadi. There are many state schools in the region that are attended mainly by children from poor families. “With the offer of a warm meal, we are providing families with an incentive to send their children to school,” explains Om Parkash Goel of Bosch India. “But we are also creating jobs: we need 80 employees to run the kitchen.” In addition to funding the project and providing all the required utensils, Bosch has also supported the project with its expertise in the areas of project and purchasing management.
The Indian NGO Akshaya Patra (“food bowl”) has carried out the project. The foundation has supported the education of underprivileged children since 2000 by providing them warm, healthy meals. Today, the organization offers lunch to as many as 1.7 million children at 13,529 schools each day. It has a far-reaching logistical network and expertise in preparing and distributing food for canteen kitchens. While Akshaya Patra is funded with state subsidies, corporate donations are an indispensable part of its budget. Bosch was referred to the Akshaya Patra Foundation by associates that volunteer for the NGO.
More information on the Akshaya Patra Foundation can be found here.
Picture by Akshaya Patra Foundation.
Bosch offers practical and financial support for earthquake victims
In April and May 2015, several major earthquakes shook the valley of Kathmandu in Nepal. According to Nepalese authorities, as many as 10,000 people died. When Siddharth Jha, a Bosch associate who works for the Security Systems division in Bangalore, found out about the disaster, he took immediate action. He wrote an e-mail to Steffen Berns, President of Bosch India, who is responsible for Bosch dealerships and customers in Nepal. The Bosch board of management responded quickly with financial, material, and moral support. The same week, Siddharth Jha and his colleague Ishu Singhania travelled to the earthquake zone. Nishant Niraw, a colleague who works for Bosch Power Tools, flew to New Delhi to buy urgently needed aid supplies such as blankets, tarps, and medication.
When they arrived in Kathmandu, the Bosch associates found that many of the villages in the region had yet to receive any help. One of them was the nearby village of Jyamire. Siddharth Jha trekked there to assess the situation, and found that “not a single house was left standing”. When he returned to Kathmandu, he bought supplies with the Bosch emergency budget, and the same was delivered to the village the very next day. Using his contacts in the Indian Airforce (being an ex fighter pilot of the Indian Air Force) he managed to get two tons of additional food items dropped on Jyamire a couple of days later. “Without the trust and the room to maneuver that Bosch gave us, this wouldn’t have been possible.” The spontaneous aid was helpful in Kathmandu as well. Bosch was able to provide 440 families with a total of five tons of supplies. To help with cleanup work, Bosch also donated ten demolition hammers to the Nepalese army.
The three volunteers have since returned to Bangalore. “The trip was a humbling experience,” said Nishant Niraw, “and I no longer complain about getting stuck in traffic on the way to work in the morning.”
More information on the commitment of Bosch associates can be found here.
With a photovoltaic system, Bosch is helping people in India help themselves
by Frederike Preiß
Ramesh Thangavelu’s shoes are leaving deep footprints in the wet ground. The Bosch engineer has never seen the mountains around Darewadi so green and wet. The settlement, which counts 40 houses, is located at the end of a long valley in the western Indian state of Maharashtra. Toward the end of the monsoon season, rice farmers have their hands full with picking the long blades of grass from the field. Mother nature sets the pace. People get up at sunrise and come home from the fields at dusk. They still live the same way their ancestors did, and yet suddenly a lot has changed in Darewadi. Just recently, Ramesh had walked for two kilometers to reach the village. He and his Indian Bosch colleagues had built a 9.3-kilowatt photovoltaic system on the outskirts of the difficult to access settlement. And now there is light in Darewadi. The engineer has returned to check whether the system is functioning as it should. He scans the modules with a thermal imaging camera. “Everything’s perfect: the batteries are at over 98 percent in early afternoon.”
According to official figures, over 100,000 villages on the Indian subcontinent are not connected to the power grid. A village is considered electrified if one in ten houses has a light switch. The Bosch Energy and Building Solutions division (BEBS) develops projects for the Indian market that focus on renewable sources of energy and their efficient use. Sources not only include solar energy, but also process energies such as mist, frost, or compressed air. As energy demand continues to increase, demand for innovative concepts is also growing. Solutions are needed in industry, for instance also at Bosch plants, and in rural areas like Darewadi.
“A lot has to be clarified before a village really gets electricity,” says Ramesh. Once systems have been set up, village residents should be able to maintain it themselves, make small repairs, as well as earn and manage the funds required to do this. “Connecting a village to the grid is helping people help themselves.” In Darewadi, the project has succeeded, and residents feel responsible for their own system, the foundation of which they laid themselves. They appreciate the light bulbs that keep their huts lit long after the sun quickly sets at 6:30 p.m. The light makes the everyday lives of farmers easier. “We can work in the fields longer because we can now do our cooking and washing at night,” says the 32-year-old Lahu. His children no longer need to study with light from expensive and dangerous kerosene lamps.
On Ramesh’s last trip to Darewadi, everything was dry, dusty, and grey. How will it look next time he comes around? “I don’t know when I’ll be back, but this definitely isn’t the last time.” The project is ongoing.
More information about Bosch’s CSR activities in India can be found here
Bosch India associates support India’s subsistence farmers
“There was once water here,” says Rajesh Shankar, as he points to the dry soil. Shankar works at Robert Bosch Engineering and Business Solutions (RBEI), which is headquartered in Bangalore, southern India. Here, in the rural area north of the metropolis, the groundwater level has been decreasing continuously in recent years as a result of poor agricultural practices. For the 7,500 people who earn their livelihood mainly through farming, this poses an existential problem.
In cooperation with the “International Association for Human Values” aid organization, Bosch associates have thus initiated a project that aims to permanently increase the groundwater level. The initiative is part of the Bosch management program, and focused on building small dams that aim to prevent the erosion of fertile soils in the event of heavy rains. At the same time, the barriers help ensure that water flows more slowly and can thus be better absorbed into the ground. The project partners also collaborated with local tradespeople to build 30 infiltration wells that collect and store rain water, and can thus also help increase groundwater levels.
For Rajesh Shankar, who focused mainly on efficient project management with two of his colleagues, working on a social project was a beneficial experience. “Even a small commitment can have a major impact,” he says. “This is just as true in social projects as it is in everyday working life,” says the up-and-coming executive. The Bosch associates are now planning their next aid project: turning a garbage dump in nearby Mavallipura into a drinking water reservoir once again.
More information on Bosch’s CSR activities in India can be found here