SANAND, India — Children in the anganwadi (government sponsored kindergarten) in Amthapur village near Ford’s upcoming Sanand facility had something special to celebrate in the last week of November: The inauguration of a new reverse osmosis water purification plant gave the kids free access to clean and safe drinking water.
The water plant is Ford India’s first cohesive community outreach initiative in Sanand, Gujarat, as the company works to improve health, safety and education the communities around its facilities.
The first phase of the initiative will ensure safe drinking water for nearly 1,500 children between 3 and 6 years old from 30 anganwadis, covering 18 villages in Sanand.
Ford India partnered with Ahmedabad-based NGO Saath Charitable Trust to implement the project, which aims to eventually cover children across 70 villages.
“Henry Ford envisioned creating a Better World, together with building a strong business and designing products that people want and desire,” said Kel Kearns, manufacturing director at the Sanand Vehicle Assembly & Engine Plant, speaking at the launch of the project. “At Ford India, our people are equally passionate to work towards the betterment of the communities and engage with them. Our first community outreach in Sanand is no different and aims to enable a positive change and sustainable development towards children in the neighboring villages around the upcoming manufacturing facility.”
Kearns was joined by Anil Patel, area manager, final assembly; Vipul Shah, a member of the CSR working committee at Sanand; and several other Ford representatives as he visited the anganwadi to formally hand over the water plant.
The water plant, which has a capacity of 30 liters, will be covered by a three-year maintenance program to ensure that anganwadi children have a continuous supply of clean water.
“As part of our field research with Saath Charitable Trust, we realized that access to safe drinking water was a significant gap, resulting in various water-borne diseases, especially amongst children. This project will thus help us address a basic need,” Kearns added.
“The children and their parents were very thankful to Ford for this wonderful initiative,” said Shah. “We have also painted “Do’s and don’ts” in Gujrati on the filter, and plan to provide a protective casing and storage unit for better usability.”
“We are extremely happy to partner with Ford for this project, to enable access to pure drinking water for children,” said Shyam Prakash Singh, Program Coordinator, Saath Charitable Trust. “Saath envisions inclusive communities with empowered individuals. We will ensure that the project is sustainable, and work towards enhancing it over a period of time to impact more people.”
Kel Kearns, Anil Patel, Vipul Shah and several other Ford representatives pose with the anganwadi children.