CHENNAI, India — Eager faces, shy smiles and excited chatter greeted representatives from Ford’s Global Business Services as they visited The Seva Samaj and Children’s Garden School on Feb 7. Students and teachers at both campuses warmly welcomed the Ford representatives who were present to inaugurate the new facilities in the schools that were supported by Ford.
Both The Seva Samaj and Children’s Garden School support the educational requirements of children from marginalized backgrounds. As part of Operation Better World, launched in India in 2012, Global Business Services partnered with the Rotary Club of Madras to create better learning environments for children in these charitable organizations. At The Seva Samaj, Dave Dubensky, executive director, Global Business Services, and Vivek Harinarain, president, Rotary Club of Madras, attended the induction of the refurbished library, equipped with books, educational toys and audio-visual equipment, at the school.
Addressing the children, Dubensky said, “Henry Ford believed that a business that makes nothing but money is a poor business. This vision guides us in our efforts and indeed, we are very happy to play a role in supporting your education. Each of you is an integral part of India’s future and you can make your dreams come alive, with the right effort.”
In the Children’s Garden School, the existing activities room was renovated to make it more child-friendly and additional furniture was sourced for the classrooms as well.
“We are glad that companies like Ford are coming forward to support our efforts, to ensure that our children get enough opportunities to excel,” said Sita Laxminarayana, trustee, Children’s Garden School.
Ford India further strengthened its relationship with the community by supporting the renovation of a community hall in Panayur Periyakuppam, a sleepy fishing hamlet on the East Coast Road. Originally constructed in 2007 by Ford and the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the hall was damaged by a cyclone in 2011.
Speaking at a function to inaugurate the refurbished hall, Tom Chackalackal, executive director, Manufacturing, said, “The world over, we support various projects to address issues in education, health and auto safety. Community engagement is key when it comes to designing our outreach initiatives and we are here to understand your needs and to support these needs in any way that we can. We are extremely happy to have partnered with the Rotary Club for this project.”
“This hall has a lot of sentimental value for us here, as we hold marriages and other small functions here,” said Muthu, one of the local beneficiaries. “After the cyclone, we didn’t have a place where the community members could gather, for meetings or to celebrate small occasions. We are now very thankful to Ford for having renovated this hall.”