Amazon Cares, the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of Amazon India, strives to create opportunities by empowering local communities. To make the best use of Amazon’s logistics strength, various social development projects have been rolled out around the Amazon Fulfilment Centers across the country. Key cities that have seen successful Amazon Care projects are Bangalore, Hyderabad and Chennai. Several of these successful initiatives are focussed on the education and skill training of the children of local communities.
Encouraging Education among Community Children
Amazon has focused on digitization of several government schools, which has helped check dropout rates and raised school grades among students. Digitization has also helped improve the teacher-student ratio of government schools and facilitated self-study for students with the help of various learning tools. These community education programs also conduct regular workshops on reading and writing, mathematics and computer learning. Amazon has so far worked with 40 schools, benefiting 3,637 students and 120 teachers.
Innovative Science Labs
Children at the quiet village of Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, discovered a whole new world of science and learning with the arrival of Pandurang Bhoir, a state level trainer in Innovative Science models. Bhoir was brought in as a subject expert by Amazon to set up his ‘Innovative Science Lab’ for village children. With the help of Amazon, such science workshops were conducted across village schools last year to familiarize children with topics like air pressure, water pressure, magnetic energy and gravitation through simple experiments. This year, 1,700 students have already attended 15 innovative science workshops across community schools.
The Mini Planetarium was established in April 2017 with a dedicated teacher to manage the project. The planetarium has a 3D projector to help students observe the night sky and learn about outer space and celestial bodies. For effective learning, the sessions are conducted in Marathi. The planetarium has a seating capacity for about 15-20 students, and is equipped to train students from 150 schools in the area. The planetarium has been accessed by 320 students and teachers from 16 schools.
Promoting Computer Literacy under the National Digital Literacy Mission
In line with the National Digital Literacy Mission (NDLM) initiative of the Prime Minister, Amazon has set up e-Libraries with Wi-Fi connectivity. It has donated several laptops, Kindles and books to these e-Libraries too. The centers help students understand the basics of computer, while accessing information about relevant government schemes on learning and education. Experienced and qualified trainers are appointed from the local communities to manage the same. Through this initiative, more than 500 students now have access to digital literacy.
Fellowship Program at IIIT Hyderabad
Amazon India has been regularly recruiting campus hires from IIIT Hyderabad for more than a decade. While this has been a long-standing relationship with the institute, under the Amazon Cares program, Amazon India has also collaborated with the institute to set up a fellowship program purely on the tenet of promoting innovation and encouraging research to develop solutions for real world problems. Thanks to the program, 67 students benefitted directly and over a dozen faculty members and close to 100 students indirectly. This grant contributed towards research groups to publish approximately 30 papers in 14 major international conferences and journals.
Reading and Writing Workshops and Community Library
Amazon’s reading and writing initiatives as well as its community library is a great way to encourage children to learn. Amazon has donated more than 1,000 books to the library at Aadarsh Vidyalay in Bhiwandi, Maharashtra, which range from school text books, fiction and biographies, to encyclopedias and reference material. To improve reading skills among children, the project organizes classes each day that are conducted by master trainers. The library is open to all, and at least 15-20 children visit it daily after school hours. Over 600 children from the community have participated in the regular skill training classes; while students have accessed the library 5,223 times this year.
Evening Tuition Centre
To improve the quality of education and help school children discover their potential, evening tuition centers were promoted in Madhavaram, Pudhuvoyal and S. Panapakkam villages. Local volunteers and trainers conduct these classes on regular subjects like English, Math, Science and Tamil. Students are trained on life skills, phonetics, writing, and drawing, etc., while speech competitions are held to encourage communication skills among the young students. The effort of the centers has been acknowledged by school headmasters. Around 100 students have benefited from the initiative.
Coding Initiative at Pudhvayol Community Centre
Amazon has collaborated with Play Learn Foundation and CARE India to provide activity-based learning support to school children in the community centre at Pudhvayol, Chennai. The project aims to increase their knowledge of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics through 10 classes per week, based on various grades. The classes are directed towards students between the second and eighth grades, aiming to educate at least 300 students in the coming year.
Rehabilitation of children
- Akshaya Patra: Amazon India partnered the Karnataka Government’s Ksheer Bhagya Scheme, with implementation through NGO Akshay Patra for the Magic Breakfast campaign. The government scheme addresses a major issue wherein nearly 45M children in India are out of school because they are hungry and expected to fend for themselves (about 13.5M in the age group between 6 and 13 years). Amazon’s support of INR 1.60 Crores has enabled Akshay Patra to reach out further to 1,70,000 children in aided and semi aided schools in Bangalore for five days a week (190 days a year)
- Love and Care Orphanage: Love and Care orphanage works to provide shelter to abandoned and homeless children across Hyderabad. Amazon’s association with the Love and Care orphanage started over five years ago when Amazon started supporting the orphanage with groceries, providing teaching, donating laptops, along with sponsoring their annual school needs. ‘Amazon Cares’ has also helped the orphanage by building a 2000 square foot, three-level home which will provide a separate dormitory space for girls and boys.
- Safety and protection of children affected by disaster: Amazon Cares has actively supported the North East flood relief by working with several implementation partners, state/national disaster coordination committees, brands, sellers, customers as well as employees to mobilize extensive aids such as Hygiene Kits, food kits, and shelter kits as well monetary support to the Oxfam India for immediate relief materials. More importantly, the team works towards rehabilitating the children whose homes have been destroyed.