Pune: Volkswagen India signed an MoU with Lila Poonawalla Foundation towards the education of girls from Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad. The MoU was signed by Gurpratap Boparai, Managing Director, Volkswagen India Private Limited, Jan Frydrych, Head HR and Admin, Volkswagen India Private Limited, Lila Poonawalla, Chairperson, Lila Poonawalla Foundation in the presence Priti Khare, CEO of Lila Poonawalla Foundation.
As a part of this MoU, Volkswagen India has committed to invest ₨ 84 lakhs towards the education of 40 girls. Volkswagen’s association with Lila Poonawalla Foundation dates to 2015 when the company first started supporting the institution in its initiative of enabling academically bright and financially deserving girls to pursue an engineering degree. The company has sponsored the education of 40 girls in the last 3 years (10 in 2015, 10 in 2016 and 20 in 2017) and has made an investment of ₨ 78 lakhs towards this cause. Over the years, the association has grown solid and Volkswagen has decided on helping and sponsoring the education of 40 new candidates this year with an additional commitment of ₨ 84 lakhs.
Lila Poonawalla Foundation has been providing scholarship to academically bright and financially deserving girls since its inception. The students are pursuing engineering degrees in various colleges in Pune and Pimpri Chinchwad areas. The girls are mentored through different training programmes and other development activities so that they are well equipped to meet their professional and personal aspirations. Gurpratap Boparai, Managing Director, Volkswagen India Private Limited commented, “It gives me immense pleasure and pride that we are part of this association that is helping the deserving girls fulfil their dreams. The programme is in line with our commitment to Volkswagen towards the region and its people. At present, there is a need for more and more girls to be able to pursue higher education so that they grow up to be confident citizens and are independent. Enabling girls to be professionally qualified may set in motion a virtuous cycle that will help many families”.
On this occasion, Priti Khare, Chief Executive Officer, Lila Poonawalla Foundation said, “Our association with Volkswagen is now four years old and we can proudly say it is a valued relation built in the spirit of partnership for a shared cause. Volkswagen has been of great support in helping our girls become self-dependent. Through this scholarship, the girls are getting an opportunity which was not possible otherwise. This scholarship is not just about providing them financial support; we make sure that the girls make the best use of this opportunity. It is a holistic approach wherein the girls are groomed, their confidence enhanced; they are trained on employability skills and are ready for a career of their choice.” She added, “8 of the 20 girls who are going to graduate this year have already secured jobs in reputed firms. Most of the girls come from a family with less than 1 lakh annual income, hence these jobs are not only going to make these girls financially stable but also make their families financially empowered”.
Education is one of the important pillars of the Volkswagen India CSR framework. Volkswagen is committed to educating and empowering youth and has always been at the forefront when it comes to scouting out for opportunities to fulfil this mission. Some of the other MoUs that the company signed earlier in this direction are with Government ITI in Pimpri Chinchwad for skill development and infrastructure improvements, with Symbiosis Skills and Open University (SSOU) for training of students enrolled in their automobile stream, with Nighoje Village Gram Panchayat to rebuild the primary school at Phadke Wasti, and iTeach Movement for the secondary school initiative in an English medium Pune Municipal Corporation Primary School. Volkswagen India’s CSR framework is based on four pillars namely Education, Skill Development, Road Safety and Water Management. Volkswagen India had been honoured by the Zilla Parishad, Pune earlier this year (2019) for their initiatives towards the social development of the society.