By Sanya Goenka
My sister Sanah and I have been fundraising and supporting The Light a Lamp Campaign through the American India Foundation for the past few years. We have been raising funds to help with the education of underprivileged children in India.
This year we got the opportunity to visit one of the AIF William J Clinton Fellow sites called the ICICI Foundation in Mumbai, India and learn more about how we could get involved hands-on, in long-term service projects in India in the future. We were inspired by the work this foundation and its Fellow’s do.
The AIF runs a program called the William J Clinton Fellowship for Service program where young professionals get to volunteer and work hands-on for 10 months in India on development projects in the fields of education, livelihood, technology, and public health. The AIF Clinton Fellowship is helping create a new generation of leaders that will help bring about social and economic change.
ICICI Foundation for Inclusive Growth (ICICI Foundation) was founded by the ICICI Group in early 2008 to carry forward and build upon its legacy of promoting inclusive growth. ICICI Foundation still promotes inclusive growth in India. They do this through focused programs in healthcare, education, skill development & sustainable livelihood, and rural development.
On our visit, we had the privilege to meet the COO Mr. Chinmay Sengupta who educated us on the various programs run by the organization.
Mr. Sengupta explained us how in the next couple of decades, India is going to have a large supply of young people who will be ready to join the workforce and participate in the economic development of the country.
Providing livelihood to such underprivileged youth is essential to ensure their effective participation in the growth of the country. As a step in this direction, ICICI Foundation launched a nationwide skill development initiative, ICICI Academy for Skills (ICICI Academy), in October 2013 to impart vocational training to the youth.
Since its inception, ICICI Academy has launched 21 centers across India. One such center that we learned about was in Mumbai. The Skill Training Academy currently offers training to 25,000 youth per year in skills like Electrical & Home Appliance Repair, Refrigeration & AC Repair, Pumps & Motor Repair, Central Air Conditioning, Selling Skills, Office Administration, Web Designing, Retail Café Operations, Paint Application Techniques, Tractor Mechanic, Lab Assistant at Diagnostic Centers, Two & Three-Wheeler Service Technician, and Retail Sales.
ICICI also has a rural initiative where they train villagers on locally relevant skills thereby restricting migration and providing them a source of livelihood.
AIF Clinton Fellows who have worked at this foundation in the past have had the opportunity to help at the skill centers as well as the head office on these different programs.
These skill centers are doing a great job in training several underprivileged youths and helping them gain financial independence.
My sister and I were very impressed by the work this organization does and we look forward to coming back someday to India as a “Clinton Fellow” and helping with these projects.