Yahoo! educates under-privileged children

By : |September 1, 2007 0

NEW DELHI, INDIA: If you thought Yahoo! employees at the India R&D Centre were only involved in researching on future internet technologies for the society, stand corrected for they do much more contribution by educating lesser-privileged students in Bangalore. The man spearheading the ‘education mission’ at Yahoo! India, Vishwanathan Ananthakrishnan, chief financial controller at the Internet giant’s R&D facility in Bangalore, shared this information.

Vishwanathan, as he is fondly known among his colleagues, said the educational initiative was set-up by Yahoo! employees in India through Yahoo! Employee Foundation, an internal organization, to give back something to the society.

“We discovered that education is a wonderful tool to power the next generation citizens of the country. Then we went around and identified the Nandhini Layout area in Bangalore, where there was a school receiving governmental aid, but was insufficient. A bunch of volunteers among our employees pulled out money from their pockets and also spent some time teaching at the school,” he said.

Elaborating on the project, he said that the employees went ahead and formalized it with the formation of Yahoo! India Employee Foundation and got it registered. “With the formation of the YEF, we decided to partner with Parikarma, an organization which runs three schools in Bangalore in a more efficient and effective manner. They were also interested in running a school for us to help children who are less-privileged such as rag-pickers,” he said.

After three successful years of partnership, the Parikrma School now educates 100-plus students till seventh standard from mere 40-50 students. “However, we found that they did not have facility for pick-and-drop and hence we have also volunteered for the transportation facility through our official vehicles from Jai Hind Nagar to the school, which is now on lease,” he said further.

“Apart from monetary help, our employees also volunteer to go to the school and teach science and general knowledge to the children when time permits,” he informed.

“The school has been set up with the mission to impart education of the highest quality to the slum children. The school not only provides education but also takes care of their health and nutritional needs. A special program for parents deals with providing information on micro finance. A compassionate de-addiction program and vocational training are also part of the offering,” he said.

Vishwanathan said that the response from among other employees has been overwhelming and Yahoo, as a firm had now promised to offer 2X contribution based on the funds raised by other employees for supporting the school to find a new place. “Our founder David Filo has announced a major contribution for the school and we are now working on the official formalities to get the funds. We have also received offer for assistance from other Yahoo! Employees across the world,” he informed.

“What started as an informal discussion now blossomed into a school, now it is functioning in a nice and harmonious way. Our aim is now to find a built-out building or a ground, started scouting for the school in Nandhini Layout,” Vishwanathan added.

Interestingly, the school boasts of a consistent record of 97 per cent attendance and less than one per cent drop out rate proves the very fact that these children love to come to school.

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