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Gyanda - CSR Project by Arvind Ltd. with a spent of INR 1.6 Cr. in the year 2018-19

By Gaver Chatterjee On 08 August 2019
Gyanda - CSR Project by Arvind Ltd. with a spent of INR 1.6 Cr. in the year 2018-19

Breaking the cycle of poverty through sustainable educational initiatives

Headquartered in Ahmedabad (Gujarat), textile and apparel giant Arvind Mills Limited has a broad social objective of improving the quality of life of the urban poor in India. 


With this in mind, the organization registered the Strategic Help Alliance for Relief to Distressed Areas (SHARDA Trust) in 1995, under the umbrella of the Arvind Foundation. SHARDA Trust has been responsible for leading and executing the organization’s corporate social responsibility activities in India. Its flagship programme Gyanda works on the key issue of education.


Literally meaning Fountain of Knowledge, the Gyanda programme, (with a project spent of Rs. 1 crore), aims to give urban children of Ahmedabad, a wholesome quality of education which will equip them to build up a sustainable future for themselves and break the cycle of poverty within which their families have been trapped for generations. While a mass of children in modern-day India are enrolled in school, drop-out rates, especially after primary school are high. What is more, the education which most underprivileged children receive (even when they complete school) does not necessarily equip them for gainful employment.


Gyanda accordingly reaches out to children studying in municipal schools in Ahmedabad, with remedial action to address this situation. Aimed at bolstering the education the children receive, the programme works with them for a period of 6 to 8 years. The aim is to get the children to complete their Class XII education and, in some cases, to go on to graduate. Gyanda is a unique and comprehensive model which has four basic components, viz. partnership with the local government and the municipal school board, creation of supportive infrastructure, development of innovative-teaching-learning methods and materials and teaching of the students by the trust’s full-time and part-time teachers. Continuous monitoring, evaluation and tracking of every child is central to the model.


The Ahmedabad Municipal Corporation runs over 450 schools that provide free education to more than 1.3 Lacs students from the underprivileged sections of society. Gyanda works closely with the schools at various levels. 


At the primary school level, teachers from the SHARDA Trust teach Mathematics, English, Computers and Gujarati, during school hours, with emphasis on easy learning and practical applications. The secondary school programme conducts three-hour classes for students, after school hours. Currently, there are two centers where these classes are conducted and where children from various schools attend. Teaching days, schedules, curriculum, tests and evaluation criteria are pre-defined. Officials from the SHARDA Trust are closely involved in tracking the attendance and performance of students.  Follow-up with irregular and weak students is stringent and the organization strives to get parents as involved as possible with regular interactions with them. Besides academics, the programme takes care to expose the children to co-curricular activities like art, field visits and providing the opportunity to talk to people from different walks of life.


Gyanda also provides financial support (to cover fees, books and uniforms) to selected students, to facilitate their admission into higher classes in various schools and also into professional streams of their choice at reputed colleges.


Initiated in 2006-2007, Gyanda’s first batch of children who enrolled for higher education are currently approaching school-leaving or graduation. A study on livelihood prospects of children who dropped out of school as opposed to those who are enrolled in the Gyanda programme has decisively shown that while the former are struggling to find work in the unskilled or semi-skilled market, Gyanda students are poised to enter the organized sector under the guidance of their mentors.

Practical English and Computer Application (PECA) programme

Practical English and Computer Application (PECA) programmes

With an eye towards making students employable to the maximum possible extent, SHARDA Trust has initiated its Practical English and Computer Application (PECA) programmes, for students who have studied in the vernacular medium. The programme is aimed particularly at preparing the youth to work in spaces like BPOs by improving their communication and computer skills. Significantly, the programme also looks at inculcating its students with a suitable outlook and mindset for the jobs, stressing on facets like punctuality and politeness. The trust has so far trained over 300 students and placed the majority of them with BPOs and ITES.


With a far-reaching vision and systematic execution, Gyanda is clearly well on its way towards breaking the cycle of poverty within the families of its beneficiaries.

Tag : Education CSR CSR Partnerships CSR Impacts CSR in India

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