The Global Week of Caring is an occasion of celebration of volunteerism at Ford India where employees—across teams, functions and age come together to make projects happen that improve lives in and around communities where Ford operates.
This year, Ford India’s volunteer employees tried to make GWC bigger, better and more encompassing – covering diverse areas from teaching driving skills to educating young women on health and hygiene and hence involve a greater part of the society than before. Over 850 Ford India volunteers spent 5146 manhours in 13 projects in to make this a week a highly successful and memorable event.
The second day of this week long event concentrated on women health and hygiene, a topic that is still considered a taboo in India – especially in the rural areas. This event aimed to educate the schoolgoing girls on the various aspects of their own special needs and the importance of hygiene in their lives. Most importantly, it attempted to remove the veil of secrecy and shame associated with the discussion of such important issues which deters communication and promotes superstition and fear.
For this event, Ford volunteers went to three schools located in and around the vicinity of the Chennai plant where the schoolgirls and their mothers were invited for an interactive session. Our volunteers were accompanied by Doctors who attempted to explain and educate the girls and their mothers in a simpler easier manner on the importance of personal health and hygiene. The event was a resounding success and thus paved the way for more such interactive sessions on things that matter. ”This was a unique opportunity to clarify our doubts and learn more about hygiene from Doctors and volunteers,” said Radha, a student of Standard X who participated.
A Driving Skills for Life session was organized on the third day of GWC. DSFL continues to be one of the biggest initiatives of Ford through which an attempt is made to make people aware of the importance of responsible driving – the golden triangle of safe, economical and eco-friendly driving.
This year, the DSFL workshop was held in the IAF Base near Avadi where five hundred odd new Air Force trainees were exposed to a world of safe and economical driving through a very interactive presentation followed by a practical demonstration. “Though many of the trainees had a few years of driving experience behind them, it was an enlightening feeling to hear them say they learnt many things about safe and economical driving”, said R. Rajesh, one of the Ford trainers who imparted the training.
Though heavy rains lashed the fourth day and kept most of the schools closed, the employee volunteers did not let go of the opportunity and instead spent some time at the nearby orphanages instead. It was a joyful afternoon for the inmates of three orphanages near the Chennai plant as the volunteers went and interacted with the children, made them sing and dance and distributed groceries there.
The second leg of global week of caring event at Motipura village near Ford’s under-construction plant in Sanand September 12 saw the culmination of the poster competition with the winners from all five classes being awarded their prizes by the chief guests. This was also the day when volunteers from the Sanand plant planted trees inside the school premises fitting with the theme of the poster competition. An important message about conservation of trees and nature was also passed on to the children through the event as well as during a heartfelt vote of thanks by the principal of the school to the Ford Motor Company.
The event was also made special by the presence of Kel Kearns, director of manufacturing at the Sanand Plant, who personally gave away the prizes to the children. “As we build the plant in Sanand, this is a unique opportunity where our volunteers have built a bridge of understanding and co-operation with the communities,” said Kearns.
At the Grand Finale on the last day of the week, the campus of CSI High School, Melrosapuram wore a colorful and festive look where employee volunteers set up stalls for school children at a learning fair and helped organize many fun activities for them. Also attending were the trainees from Society for Poor People Development (SPPD) who had put up stalls of readymade garments that they had made after receiving training under the auspices of a Ford-SPPD joint venture.
Joining the event were Ford India’s executive director Tom Chackalackal, vice presidents P. Senthil Kumar and Adi Balakrishnan. Children from various schools manned some stalls and showcased what they’ve learnt from afterschool coaching classes started by Ford and an NGO partner Vidyarambham. “It is heartening to see the children a happier lot and singing the praise of India”, said Chackalackal, “the sheer determination, great teamwork and Go Further spirit of our employee volunteers has made yet another very successful GWC event possible,” he added.