Save the Children: Pandemic or Not, Transformation Continues

By auther pic. Shilpa Tiwari

January 20, 2021

Save the Children: Pandemic or Not, Transformation Continues

Save the Children

Millions of children have been transformed by Save the Children organization ever since its inception for over a century. Along with poverty inclusion on the one hand or rightful educational and health initiatives on the other, the organization is determined to save the children across the country. Currently operative in 12 Indian States, Save the Children works continuously towards child protection. Sudarshan is Save the Children’s, Chief Executive Officer. He is a long-time believer in bringing about community transformation with the help of participatory practices towards empowerment. Prior to joining Save the Children, Sudarshan was the Secretary-General at SOS Children’s Villages of India. “Titles don’t mean anything for me”, says Mr. Sudarshan. 


The core purpose of Save the Children is to help vulnerable children. Mr. Sudarshan is a seasoned civil society leader with three decades of local to global experience in academics, development and corporate setting. The future of the country is at stake if the children are stake. This calls for efficient resource mobilisation, establishing partnerships, collaboration and coalitions towards issues that impact children’s fair access to basic human rights.


An alumnus of St. Stephens College, Delhi and Institute of Development Studies (IDS), Sussex, UK, Mr. Sudarshan’s core competency of conceptualizing development programs based on an in-depth understanding of the child psychology and henceforth creating development-based business models. He recognizes that what we face currently as a pandemic situation, children are facing it most of the time. This is the reason Save the Children provides a lot of emphasis on emotional stability of the child, apart from inner strength and fostering children’s innate capacities.


The changemaker, Sudarshan comes with over three decades of rich experience in the Development Sector. Prior to Save the Children, Sudarshan served as the Secretary General at SOS Children’s Villages of India. As Programme Head for Rural Transformation at Reliance Foundation, which is India’s largest Corporate Philanthropy, he conceptualized, planned and implemented the organization’s flagship rural transformation programme for rural livelihoods with an annual budget of USD 30 million, one of the top three CSR spending in India. He brings in participatory processes, collaborative learning and empowering teams and communities to effect transformative change to his current organization too. He strongly feels that the problems that are being faced by anyone, the solutions can easily come from within.


He has a diverse background that enriches his way of thinking. He is a recognized Thought Leader in development practice and policy and has worked at reputable organizations such as Reliance Foundation, Reliance Life Sciences, Institute of Rural Management Anand (IRMA) and the National Dairy Development Board(NDDB). He has had the opportunities to work with visionaries such as Dr. V Kurien, Shri Mohan Dharia, Shri LC Jain and Shri Mukesh Ambani. As a changemaker, he is trying to bring in a culture of developmental engagement with localized units.


Moreover, Mr. Sudarshan believes in living the values that may be written in books but remain locked-up there. Walking the talk is the culture he wants to inculcate across his organization, Save the Children. As a people-centric organization, he ensures that everyone working inside also implements the highest values in their daily actions. Self-accountability is the prime factor that governs the rest of thought and action. This is the culture he currently proposes that a social set-up like Save the Children should reflect as an ever-evolving social organization.


Speaking of the plans that need to be implemented in the coming years, for the organization Save the Children, Mr. Sudarshan says, “Mostly plans are made to fall short of and then a struggle to reach the plans.” Thousands of children are already taken care of by the organization but millions more remain. With such a humongous target that speaks of taking care of every child out there that needs protection, the CEO seems most certainly unstoppable.


Save the Children as an organization displays the ingenuity of shared compassion found equally across all the departments. The proud CEO feels that “All hands are on the deck,” where every individual seeks to help and support and goes that extra mile as far as their spirit of compassion goes.

The working of the CEO is based on personal camaraderie than being a boss to his team. Being at the helm for him therefore, is like being a fellow traveller who is sailing along. He sees himself as a connecting agent to various departments who are working to achieve a single role rather than each having their individual roles to play. He feels sad that even after more than seven decades of the country’s independence, we are still feeling the brunt of hunger and poverty.


Sudarshan is also an advisor to Group of Nine International Universities led by Manchester University for their Community Outreach strategies. As a part-time farmer, he has worked in the hinterlands of Madhya Pradesh to understand the challenges and possible solutions to marginal farming, wherein he engaged as “family” with the entire village community. He supported them on initiatives on sustainable development – especially livelihood security.He also brings in grass-root experience from his association with small NGOs like Society for Promotion of Wastelands Development (SPWD).

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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 shilpi@csrbox.org. Our Team will get back to you after validating the information for a detailed coverage.

Also Read: Project Shiksha: Empowering & Encouraging Siksha in Government Schools by Hero MotoCorp Limited


Shilpa Tiwari is a New Delhi based Content Specialist with three decades of experience. She has worked extensively on a variety of researches and curricula across K12, Higher Education, Corporate and Social Development sectors. A Master’s degree in English Literature and a degree in French from Delhi University, alongwith International Business Programme from IIFT, most certainly provides Shilpa an added expertise to work as a Consultant on various research and consulting projects with Corporates, Educational Institutions, Publications, CSR Foundations and NGOs.


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