Technology as a social tool

Nasscom Foundation aims to help the underprivileged by using IT as a springboard

 LAKSHMI Chattaria can handle a computer keyboard with the expertise of a pianist working on musical notes.Learning 3D texturing at Anizooms animation academy,she is looking forward to an exciting career once she has completed her course.A few months ago,Lakshmi was content with mopping floors and washing bed linen.Life,or truth as they say,is stranger than fiction indeed.But credit is due more to Nasscom Foundation than a benign quirk of fate.The foundations academy provides subsidized animation courses to the youth and women belonging to the lower income groups and Lakshmi,who had come from Orissa to support her widowed sister and impoverished family,was guided and recruited as a student to learn 3D texturing,aftereffects and premiere at the institute.

Started in 2001,the Nasscom Foundation aimed at reforming the lives of underprivileged by leveraging on Information and Communication Technologies.The foundation believes in using technology as a tool to change lives.Their three flagship portalsBigTech,Big Bridge and MyKartavya.comhave lived up to their expectations and beyond.Since we are an IT industry body,it made sense to channelise our CSR activities through IT.Besides,there was a need for the industry to have a common evaluative tool, says Rufina Fernandes,CEO of Nasscom Foundation.BigTech provides domestic and foreign IT companies a platform to reach social work groups in India,and donate hardware and software. The process goes thus: An NGO can apply online to the foundation for its IT-related needs.The foundation does a due diligence and based on the set norms,qualifies the NGOs for donation.Any IT firm interested in the programme then may come forward to facilitate the product.BigTech has five donors,namely Microsoft,Eagle conferencing,Bytes of Learning,Busy Infotech and Quick Heal Anti-Virus.Figures speak for themselves.In three years,over 300 NGOs from 138 districts in 26 states across India have registered and about 4,500 software worth Rs 7 crore have been donated through the portal.

The foundation came up with a second portal,Big-Bridge,to enable education,employability and entrepreneurship through computer donations.The foundation would collect old computers from IT companies and refurbish them with legal software for use of NGOs.Launched in April 2009,the initiative serves a dual purpose: manage e-waste disposal and prevent software piracy.The NGOs would then carry out their work more efficiently.In a little more than an year,over 571 computers have been collected and are currently in use either at Nasscom Knowledge Network centres or various government schools in the country.

Continuing with diversification,the foundation has now launched a broader business prospect,with a third portal for motivating other emerging IT firms to initiate CSR is a platform that allows employees on board to choose from a wide spectrum of CSR activities of their own company,NGOs initiatives or the foundations CSR activities.It also helps in maintaining,managing and evaluating the combined employee volunteer efforts,thus keeping a tab on the community welfare activities. With so many CSR activities around,Nasscom Foundation has seen an appraisal in its brand value globally.We have received appreciation from other industry verticals and other associations.Our CSR activities have brought us recognition.We are now looking forward to entering into more partnerships involving other organisations, says Ms Fernandes.The recognition has brought in more responsibility and fresh challenges for the foundation but Ms Fernandes is upbeat about the challenges.The drive to diversify afterall is in Nasscom genes

1 comment: