Accenture and READ India Partner to Empower Women in Rural Karnataka India

By CIOReview Team

To improve the employability and livelihood of more than 150 underprivileged women and young girls, Accenture (NYSE: ACN) and READ India are launching a rural community development center in Bagepalli in Karnataka. The initiative will provide life and work-skills training in areas such as self-confidence, gender sensitization, sewing and stitching, computer skills, local crafts and reading and writing.

The new center will include a multimedia and communications room, an IT area for ICT-based learning, a library and places where women can attend classes, participate in trainings and receive medical examinations.  Sarva Dharma Samanvaya Trust, which has been running a school for children at Bagepalli since 2001, is providing the space for the center.  More than 850 village households lie within a five kilometer radius of it; several of the villages offer limited professional and vocational options, and they lack basic healthcare, sanitation and education facilities.

“The rural development center is an extension of our collaborative work to bring systematic change within a community,” said Rekha M. Menon, chairman and managing director, Accenture in India. “The overarching goal is to encourage other non-profit and co-funding partners to work together to build an initiative that has far reaching impact and is based on a scalable model with sustainable outcomes. A rural community thrives when the engagement and programs are multi-faceted and address various needs together in a holistic manner.”

The launch of the center reflects Accenture’s global corporate citizenship initiative, Skills to Succeed, which is equipping more than 3 million people around the world by 2020 with the skills to get a job or build a business. The new effort extends the company’s commitment in Bagepalli, where, with RuralShores, it has been providing training and employment opportunities since 2013.

According to Geeta Malhotra, Director, READ India, “Combination of regular workshops on confidence building, personality development and life skills made women realize their potential. Adding income to the family helps them to create a position for themselves and also take decisions about their children’s future. Being in the environment of education and peer learning at READ Centres helps them resolve many common personal and societal issues.”

“As part of our Skills to Succeed initiative, we now have two full time programs running in Bagepalli apart from the Impact Sourcing initiative with RuralShores,” said Kshitija Krishnaswamy, director of corporate citizenship – Accenture in India.  “At our skilling center in Bagepalli, through our partnership with DB Tech and Quest alliance, we have trained over 108 individuals and placed 87 of them in gainful employment. The rural community centre is another prong in our development efforts to raise the standard of living and employability in Bagepalli and surrounding villages.”

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