Companies promote empathy and sensitisation towards persons on the social periphery
Making entertainment inclusive
Essar Foundation’s project unmukt (literally, liberation) is the company’s national programme for the outreach and strategic inclusion of differently-abled citizens. Aiming to bring mainstream entertainment for the visually impaired, the foundation regularly organises screenings of audio-described films. They are joined by sighted people, who also experience the film blindfolded. This is a proven way to promote empathy and sensitisation towards persons with disabilities.
More than 8,000 people in 12 cities and towns have so far experienced popular Bollywood films like Taare Zameen Par, My Name is Khan, Gandhi and 3 Idiots at Unmukt screenings.
unmukt aims to make entertainment more inclusive by customising films for the visually challenged, so that they can enjoy a film without depending upon a person with sight. The Essar Foundation organises screening of audio-described movies for visually impaired people and they are joined by people with sight, who use blindfold and experience the movie in order to appreciate how it is to experience a movie without sight. After few days of the screening, a round of interactive sessions is conducted with the visually impaired to comprehend the efficacy of the concept.
The feedback session begins with a warm-up talk on favourite characters from the movie or what they liked best. Gradually, the conversation shifts to evaluate deeper grounds. They are asked to recall a scene or dialogue from the movie which created an impact in their lives. The session is aimed towards realisation of how the movie, in totality, has been able to help them relate better to the external world.
Tracking academic performance
Tata Motors views education as the cardinal factor, which determines holistic development of an individual, foundations of which are laid down during childhood. Thus, the company focuses on improving academic performance of secondary school students since about half of all sc/st students dropout at secondary school level.
Tata Motors has partnered with Global Education Trust (csr arm of Mahesh Tutorials) to provide special coaching to 25,000+ students enrolled in 150 municipal schools in all four medium of instructions (Hindi, Urdu, English and Marathi) across Mumbai.
Close to 17 per cent students enrolled in these schools are from sc/st community. Mahesh Tutorials has more than three decades of experience in providing educational support to students. This programme not only focusses on deploying additional teachers but also helps in developing overall learning capabilities of the students.
The company has deployed 185 teachers to provide special coaching in tough subjects like – Mathematics, Science and English. Additional teachers in any other subject can also be deployed as per the need of the school. E-learning module – Robomate, which is developed by Mahesh Tutorials, has been installed on 40 schools. Moreover, every student in 10th standard gets practice question bank.
A mobile application is developed to track real-time performance of students. This application has enhanced transparency in project implementation and it has also reduced non-value added work of teachers.
Tata Motors track academic performance of students through monthly tests and additional inputs are given to weak students. This intensive engagement with students gave immediate results – the board exam results have improved from 71 per cent to 79 per cent and 30 students scored more than 90 per cent marks in board exams.