A Business That Makes Nothing but Money Is a Poor Business
– Henry Ford
Infostretch has lived the mantra of ‘giving back’ since inception. As we have grown, so have our ambitions and ability to help. Rutesh and Manish created the CSR vision with the 1% pledge – where Infostretch donates 1% of their staff time, product, profits and equity for charitable causes.
The Infostretch vision took new heights with the inception of Pahel. It is a group of enthusiastic like-minded individuals wanting to make a difference in the immediate environment. Pahel is the Infostretch’s philanthropy platform to help our immediate community and causes. It is not a group to check the box on CSR for Infostretch, but a living testimonial of our belief to give back.
The Pahel model is:
A. Community support and service via our active involvement in the causes: Helping schools, tree plantation, menstrual awareness, adopting a village, painting a school, fixing houses in rural areas, cleaning our environmentally sensitive areas, building water coolers in dry areas etc.
B. Talent support through our services and ideas: Building digital tools, sites, apps, portals, QMetry products, Digital marketing for awareness to prevent lifestyle diseases etc.
C. Infostretch funding: Supporting right agencies and individuals after our checks on genuine causes.
The following are the major Pahel initiatives of 2019:
1. Ahaan Learning Centre
The anchor cause of Pahel in India is to provide education and rich experiences to people from the less privileged strata of the society through sports, creativity, drama and other methods.
Ahaan Learning Centre is one of the anchor causes of Pahel. It is a mission to provide education to the less privileged children. The first centre is at Ahmedabad’s Shivranjani area – where kids who were begging at traffic signals and loitering have been given an opportunity to transform lives. The children are from streets and have had no previous exposure to the values and lives others live. In collaboration with our partner NGO Shwaas, Pahel is making a difference via education and creative activities at the centre.
It has been a challenging project. The start was slow…Initially, it was a challenge to grab the attention of these kids but thanks to creative ideas, firm determination, hard work and zeal, a bond was created with the kids. Young ones started showing up daily. Habits changed. Interest in education and good live arose. The impact goes beyond the basic learning. After literally being invisible and having zero exposure to the outside world, the kids are changing, coming out of their shell and are having a positive attitude towards life.
Ahaan activities are integrated with Infoneers’ life at Infostretch. We have created a planned calendar for activities on Thursdays – where many Infoneers have spent hundreds of hours with these children and shared their amazing experience at the centre. They play games, sing songs, watch videos etc. and inspire them. Indeed, dreams and dedication are a powerful combination!
Ahaan means the first ray of light and we plan to initiate a lot of new light in the lives of more children though more Ahaan centres in the upcoming days.
2. Happy Periods
The biggest plans have to be executed on ground. India is on a mission to create awareness about menstrual health. The message of Prime Minister, Bollywood Actors & Celebrities has created great awareness. The last mile is equally important.
Pahel Team has taken the initiative called ‘Happy Periods’ to create menstrual awareness in the fringe schools – where girls from less privileged background are present. Happy Periods workshop is a wonderful program that explains the complex topic in a fun way. Pahel Team has taken the idea further with creation of Happy Period Box and Guide – which are distributed free in each awareness session. The Happy Periods program has been conducted in multiple schools so far.
The Happy Periods campaign has met with an overwhelming response from the students. The format of the workshop facilitates the learning in a fun way where kids enjoyed every minute of the workshop as opposed to the traditional format of the workshop which is perceived as a boring ‘lecture’. The interactive workshop provides an opportunity for the girls to ask questions without any hesitation in a very friendly environment – which they took complete advantage of! The Instructors were treated like superstars and were requested to take selfies by most girls. The feedback from girls and seniors has been consistently positive and overwhelming.
The social networking sites helped remote Gujarat villages observe the success of this campaign which resulted in many of them requesting the Pahel team to visit their villages and run such campaigns in their villages. The Pahel team already planned 5 campaigns in the remote villages of Gujarat. The holistic ‘Happy Period’ campaign framework by the Pahel team which includes workshop, fun games, Happy Period Kit and a guide is such a unique way of handling such a sensitive topic that it has been invited to run in the USA too.
3. Pahel Movember Movement!
Pahel brought the international Movember campaign to Infostretch – to create awareness around Men’s health issues. Men’s health issues of cancer, mental health and other challenges was the focus. The NoShaveMoovement was a runaway hit! It was christened as Mo-Ment by our CEO Rutesh Shah. The campaign was truly global. In spite of being a ground zero for the campaign, Infostretch Ahmedabad received tough competition from other Infostretch offices. The headquarter in Santa Clara was one of the most enthusiastic bunch. Infostretch East-coast also participated in wholeheartedly. Even the fairly new offices like Infostretch Bangalore were equally enthusiastic. Infostretch Pune maintained their enthusiasm throughout the month and was competing for the most enthusiastic team with Ahmedabad and Santa Clara.
More than 120 Infoneers from all the offices participated in the campaign and regularly shared their creative posts on yammer as well as on external social. On the qualitative side, Infoneers have never seen such creative and quality fun posts that playfully delivered serious messages. And, on the quantitative side, Infoneers, in the last month alone, posted more than 300 messages that were read for around 75,000 times and were liked around 3000 times by the Infoneers. Throughout the month more than 700 Infoneers were active on the campaign.
This was the campaign that truly brought the whole Infostretch family together – regardless of the location or the gender. One of the most important factors for the success of the campaign is the lively participation of female Infoneers.
4. Navrachit Learning Centre
Navrachit Learning Centre is a slum school for the children of construction workers. Pahel is working with the school for almost two years. Located behind the YMCA stadium, Ahmedabad, this school educates around 50+ students who have never seen the gate of any school.
Pahel has been conducting different activities on bi-weekly bases in addition to sponsoring this school financially. Every alternate Thursday volunteering Infoneers visit this school with a couple of Pahel members and do different fun activities like Zumba, games. During Diwali, new clothes have been provided to the children and toy distribution is arranged.
Pahel has helped in infrastructure development and provided constant guidance. From a makeshift school with zero hygiene facilities and leaking walls, the schools is a proper shed with AC and lights with hygiene and all other necessary facilities.
5. Shwas Collaboration
Pahel is delighted to collaborate with Shwas for driving several causes for our kids and young champions.
Shwas and Pahel are currently working on the following causes:
– Enrichment of education experience for less privilege kids through sports coaching and computer training
– Driving good healthcare awareness through distribution of health-sanitation kits and preventive medical check-up.
– Ongoing interaction with kids through participation in Infostretch corporate activities, company visits etc.
– Promote empowerment through vocational training for bright kids
– Platform for showcasing skills and talents through exhibitions, events etc.
Shwas kids are wedded into the Infostretch eco-system. They participate in the ICL cricket team matches. The kids’ designed paintings are given as prizes for the tournament winners. Even foreign customers visiting Infostretch, are gifted special paintings designed by the kids.
Infostretch Pahel has helped a mental health care startup with our ideas and talent in form of our service support. Moodcafe, the supported startup, has got endorsement of CM of Gujarat Vijay Rupani. The startup is also the only Indian startup to be featured in Silicon Valley in SVB Demo Day in Jan 2019 in USA.
Moodcafe is a mental health based startup by alumni of IIM Ahmedabad and IIT Roorkee that aims to bring a new-age empathetic caring approach to mental health and well being by leveraging best practices and emerging research-driven trends of psychology, counselling, therapies, artificial intelligence and innovative reach out strategies
7. Additional Activities:
During the last few months, a lot of activities have happened including the following:
– Tree Plantation – More than hundreds of trees planted at Ahmedabad and Pune
– Special Tree Plantation drive with Deloitte
– Screening of special play for children – Mowgli Tunak Tum Tum
– Buttermilk distribution at construction sites
– Infrastructure aid to multiple less privileged school sites
– Diwali celebrations with children
– Spending time and caring for old age, women and mental health children
– Collection of funds for Kerala Floods and India Army – Infostretch matched the contribution of Infoneer donations.
What makes Pahel a special movement is the top executive support, committed participation of team members, integration with Infostretch daily life, going beyond monetary contribution to causes, careful curation of causes and full 360 degree integration of causes.
The multiple acts of sharing and caring showcase what these Infoneers are made up of! And what a great value system they bring to the table! Pahel team members – always say – Its our job to keep trying (Koshish Karna hamaara kaam hai!)