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Interview

It is our duty to give back twice as much, or even more, to society

Since the last 35 years, Tejal Amin has been closely associated with industry, education and sociocultural activities in Vadodara city. She has been a driving force for starting a schooling program for underprivileged children and a skill-based program for girls and women under the aegis of Navrachana Education Society. Prerna is a sponsorship program where MG Motor joined hand with Baroda Citizens Council to train 100 underprivileged women for stitching and tailoring. Tejal Amin speaks to CSR Times about her various socio-educational programmes and their partnership with MG Motor which have brought in transformational change in the lives of children and girls from disadvantaged families.

What prompted you to leave a life of comfort and involve in socio-cultural activities?

My life has been significantly influenced by both my parents and my parents-in-law. All of them sincerely believed that if we have been accorded any privilege by the Almighty then it is our duty to give back twice as much, or even more, to society. I have been brought up on very strong ethical and moral values and I do my best, in my own way, to practically put into practice all that I have been taught by my elders.

Do you think that Navrachana’s vison will bring in a transformative change among the underprivileged children, girls and women?

At Navrachana, we support and nurture Navprerna and NavKaushalya. Navprerna is a schooling program (KG to Class X) affiliated to the National Institute of Open Schooling (NIOS), New Delhi, and is open to children from socio-economically disadvantaged families. This initiative was started on November 14, 2002, and till date more than 600 students have finished Class X successfully. Through these programs, we do believe that a distinctive transformational change is possible amongst those who appear to have very limited options to move forward and progress in their lives.

Could you share in brief about how NavKaushalya helped the targeted group?

The profile of the school drop-out girls who are the potential students at NavKaushalya is quite shocking. Many of them have a good potential to become productive members of the work force. Vocational training opens a window of hope to these girls, exposing them to a world that would value their abilities and skills and monetise these, offering them financial independence and the strength to decide which way they want their life to move ahead.

How far MG Motor’s partnership with Vadodara Marathon helped it create civic awareness and quality of life in Vadodara?

Over the last many years Vadodara Marathon has become one of the most important and widely recognised annual public events in Vadodara that stands for citizen solidarity, spirit of sportsmanship, and the value of physical fitness. With MG Motor’s partnership, we have been able to introduce several interesting programs that work towards making Vadodara a better place in which to live and work in.

Do you think that various schemes for women empowerment are enough to address the problem that almost half of the population are facing today in our society?

Women’s empowerment is a vast issue and no amount of schemes will be able to address all the problems that different sections of women face. However that does not mean that we do not do anything at all. Whatever and in whichever way we can offer empowerment — through a job or any in come generating opportunity, safe places to live and work in, a dignified existence without any kind of obvious or furtive exploitation — are all relevant and we must all work towards these.

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