Education to Livelihood: An opportunity to holistic development

By auther pic. Deepa M

April 12, 2019

Education to Livelihood: An opportunity to holistic development

Students developing cognitive skills such as sequencing, creativity and divergent thinking

Denzil, Alwyn, Naazneen, Mihir, Khushi, Mohd. Enyat, Omkar, and Anjali have a story to share; a story about their dream, a story about their struggle, a story about a knock, a story about an intervention, a story about a change, a story about their success. They are among 20,000 children, who despite of being born in a marginalized family are today the proud first learners stepping towards a new life, a confident life, and a holistic life. The impossibilities became possibilities because they had the right guidance and opportunity, at the right time, in the form of ‘WPP India CSR Foundation’.

Each year WPP India CSR Foundation reaches out to 20,000 young students across 10 different schools in India and hence their 100,000 family members with an aim to address the educational needs of the unprivileged youth of India imparting them with skills that can help them pursue mainstream and diverse livelihoods.Their target beneficiaries are the young children and key stake-holders are the parents, teachers, peers, and the community. 


WPP India CSR Foundation through its Education to Livelihood (E2L)Programme focuses on three key impact areas:  academic outcome, livelihood skills, and deep-rooted social norms.  Under the guidance of Prof. K. Vishwanath, Harvard School of Public Health, WPP India CSR has developed the ‘Theory of Change’ to promote evidence based approach to their programme implementation. Education to Learning (E2L)as a program gets associated with children from the time they enter grade 6, and intends to retain them for 7 long years introducing them to multiple interventions during each year, giving them an opportunity to develop the basic academic and livelihood skills, and supporting their holistic development. The program also supports the children in the first 6 months of their placements.

What do you do when you want to reach out to the maximum with the best possible expertise? Well, you get the right experts and develop a strategic partnership. A rigorous 3-step due diligence process by KPMG as a neutral organization helps WPP India CSR Foundation to choose their partners that could co-create and implement their programs for real change. These partners who are introduced to the selected schools in the beginning of the year conduct daily sessions through their facilitators and trainers. 

Anjali studies in a Hindi medium school while her brothers have a privilege of studying in an English medium school. She yearns to talk in English, especially, since she constantly listens to her brothers talking in English. However, the fear of being mocked at her poor English skills overcomes her desire to utilize the language.  Her desire became a reality, when, an ‘English Learning Programme’ by WPP India CSR Foundation was implemented in Anjali’s school. The programme uses simple learning methods which helped improve her vocabulary and speaking skills. The same Anjali, who was shy and scared, now says, “I talk to my brothers in English. They are surprised.”

Education and livelihood, still being the focus, soft-skills and healthcare were also included to create a change with the right partners. The key partners along the four verticals are:

1. Education: Learning Links Foundation, Hope Foundation

2. Livelihood: Magic Bus India Foundation, Lend-A-Hand India

3. Soft-skills Development: Magic Bus India Foundation, Furtado’s School of Music, Shiamak’s Victory Arts Foundation, Acorn Foundation

4. Health: Americares India Foundation

Over 200 children have graduated from the livelihood programme with 70% of these children securing their future through employment in industrial firms like Godrej, GE Healthcare, and Marks & Spencer. Many of these children have gone on to earn an average of Rs. 10,000 every month. This essentially helps the organization to close the loop, the loop of optimizing their education to livelihood at the brink of becoming a responsible adult. With the train-the-trainers’ program, the organization have introduced full-scholarship for these school children interested in pursuing communications at the WPP School of Communications, giving them an opportunity to intern and work with their alma-mater. Denzil and Alwyn are the teenagers who stepped into the world of mainstream career through this scholarship.


Nazneen takes her initial steps towards STEM Education, applying her theoretical knowledge learnt at school and experiential learning through WPP Foundation initiatives to program a robot for a school competition.

Naazneen Shaikh says, “I want to make a crown for my mother. I want her to wear it and feel like a queen.” With a belief, ‘if you can imagine it, you can create it’, WPP India CSR Foundation launched a 3D modeling program through the online Tinkercard platform, hence opening a door to whole new technology. “3D modeling helps children use simple structures to create complex models and gives a huge platform to showcase their creativity. It helps them believe they can create anything!” said Amar Kedare, Program Officer WPP India CSR Foundation. These children not only created what they wanted but also proudly displayed their masterpieces in the final presentation as the ‘Innovators of tomorrow’.

Truly, this is the world of innovation and technology! So how can these little champions and future innovators lag behind? WPP IndiaCSR Foundation have independently, initiated, developed, and implemented a digital course for these budding programmers. They use the KANO computer kit to teach the children coding through which they develop their own gaming applications!

The words of Rama Iyer, Director General, WPP India Foundation echoes the work of WPP India CSR Foundation, “As a young Foundation with an ambitious vision, we are happy to see our children make great strides in their education to livelihood journeys in just last three years of our programs. A key achievement that we identify with is the reduced gap our programs have generated between the ‘haves’ and ‘have-nots’ for our children in their eco-system. Today, many of our children are getting equipped towards digital innovation and taking their passion ahead irrespective of their social circumstances.”

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Impact-Story is a series on development and CSR interventions leading to some impacts on the ground. If you have a project, innovation or intervention that has changed the lives of a few people or a community, please share a brief note at csr@ngobox.org. Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage. For more information, please visit  indiacsrsummit.in

Also Read: Making Young India self-reliant


A banker turned educator, Deepa had been a Teach For India Fellow. She is currently working as a Consultant and Freelancer.


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