“We have seen that transforming the lives of youth has a catalytic and multiplier effect by changing their families and siblings too. This is true transformation.”
Bosch’s social engagement initiatives aim to drive transformation in the lives and minds of the people that it touches. This is achieved through creating happier neighborhoods, focusing on holistic community development and also involving Bosch associates in initiatives designed to help people in need.
While the Bosch BRIDGE program has changed more than 16,000 lives across India, the company’s Social Engagement department is focusing strongly on child health development, education and well-being to shape the future of the nation.
Bosch Limited regards its nationwide social engagement as an opportunity to shape the future of the many lives it touches, especially of those in need. This is undertaken by (1) the Social Engagement Department which focuses on transforming the lives of less-educated youth through the BRIDGE program, providing child healthcare and education in government schools and creating happier neighborhoods; (2) the Bosch India Foundation (BIF), which focuses on holistic village development; and (3) Primavera, an employee-run organization committed to bringing needy children out of the cycle of poverty.
At the heart of these projects is Bosch’s flagship BRIDGE program – a three-month skilling program aimed at large-scale transformation by making less educated youth job-ready. This unique program called BRIDGE (Bosch’s Response to India’s Development and Growth through Employability Enhancement) systematically addresses the skill and confidence gaps seen rampant among the targeted youth who join any of the 148 BRIDGE centers across the country.
There they receive a learner kit, industry demand-driven curriculum – delivered by Bosch-trained trainers, on-the-job training (internship) during the last month and complete job placement assistance from Bosch to step into the world of employment at a services firm. Since the program’s beginnings in 2013, it has become commonplace for participants to get a job offer first and a Bosch certificate of completion later – an approach that has yielded 16,000+ success stories across India. Bosch not only imparts unemployed youth with skills for the job market, but also ‘trains the trainers’ who coach these youths and change their lives.
Besides partnerships with private educational institutions such as pre-university (PU) colleges/10+2 schools, deemed universities and private institutes, existing collaborations with the state governments of Karnataka, Maharashtra and Rajasthan also drive the spirit of “Eliminating unemployment: one youth at a time” across more than 148 BRIDGE centers in India.
300 Government Schools conducting comprehensive health screening
70,000 Children each year
16,000 Youth Job-ready through short-term skilling programs
Priyanka is a living example of this transformation. Forced to quit school due to a family financial crisis, Priyanka got married and became a mother at a young age. She subsequently enrolled in the BRIDGE program and got a job in retail sales which led to an improvement in her social status and enabled her to be self-sufficient. Now, her husband also intends to join the BRIDGE program and this is an unintended but very positive outcome, and there are several others like Priyanka who are transforming their lives too.
The Bosch Jaipur Knowledge Centre in Rajasthan is also transforming the lives of young girls in the region. Historically, these girls are married off at a very young age and are thus forced to drop out of school and abandon dreams of a career. Bosch supports such children with education and family counseling that empowers them to change their mindset. When a group of these girls were invited to Bengaluru, one of them shared how she was the first person from her village to sit in a ‘cheelgaadi’, or ‘eagle-vehicle’ – their definition of an airplane.
Apart from youth employability and girl child empowerment, Bosch believes that social transformation also has a strong link with the health, hygiene and education of children, especially of those studying in government schools. This has led to Bosch’s intervention in 300 government schools across Bengaluru, Bidadi, Nashik and Jaipur, and the offering of health screening of more than 70,000 children annually. Activities over the last fiscal year ranged
from the provision of health treatments (medical, optical and dental) to the deployment of mobile educational kits such as the ‘lab in a box’ (rotated weekly between 10 schools).
A key collective improvement success story has been the daily preparation of mid-day meals for more than 15,000 government school children in partnership with the Akshaya Patra Foundation, India’s largest mid-day meal serving organization. Located in Jigani on the outskirts of Bengaluru, the centralized mega kitchen provides nutritious meals and nourishment to children from government schools. Thanks to the availability of these hot and nutritious meals on time, several underprivileged students are able to continue their education. Bosch provides funding for this mega kitchen and also assists with technical support and project execution. Bosch also provided solar power, heat pumps and CCTV equipment for monitoring effective service delivery at the kitchen.
In terms of healthcare, Bosch interventions for driving self-sustaining change includes upgrading Public Health Centers (PHC). The PHC in Adugodi, which has been upgraded by Bosch in Bengaluru, has become a model for every government dispensary to replicate. Based on a Public-Private Partnership (PPP) between the Karnataka government (BBMP) and the Karuna Trust (NGO), the Adugodi PHC is now a benchmark center for India’s primary healthcare. Bosch’s intervention provides ultra-modern infrastructure and facilities, installs advanced medical equipment and facilitates trained specialists to provide quality healthcare at par with private hospitals.
In Kotamwadi, a small village located in Nashik, Maharashtra, residents receive water supply through tap fitments fixed in various parts of the village. However, a few villagers remain without such water connections. 75-year old Kashibai Norgude’s longest and unfulfilled dream for years has been to get a reliable water connection near her home. Bosch India Foundation intervened in this matter by providing an easily accessible connection and now Kashibai and her neighbors no longer need to make the long, hard treks to fetch water.
These are just a few of the transformational stories across the country that are being run through Bosch social engagement interventions. In this context, “seeing is believing”, and Soumitra Bhattacharya, Managing Director, Bosch Limited and President, Bosch Group, India concludes, “The underprivileged have many factors going against them and this impacts their self-esteem and confidence. It is the duty of those more fortunate to improve it. Their empowerment results in the real transformation that Bosch and the society at large wants to see.”