By Kavitha Srinivasa
Galway Foundation began in 2015 as the Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) wing of Glaze Trading India Pvt. Ltd., which works in the direct selling sector. In 2014, the company was undergoing a transformation and all our businesses were getting digitized. Many customers required handholding during the digitization process. We created programs for them. Around the same time, we launched our CSR wing. The Founder Directors of Glaze, Sanjeev Chhibber and Chetan Handa proposed the vision of taking this transformation which was happening inside the Glaze family, to the outside world. That’s the genesis behind the Digitalya as the initiative of Galway Foundation.
The Foundation empowers people spiritually by guiding them to ascertain their subconscious mind through the Self-Empowerment Program (SEP). SEP goes back to 2012. As part of our consumer relationship initiatives, our company had programs revolving around the individual’s well-being.
SEP is based on the awareness about mindfulness, meditation and power of subconscious mind. The trainings involve breathing exercises for emotional release, mental imagery, awareness of body and mind, brain waves, positive affirmations, laws of nature and inner-wellness techniques. These techniques are based on Vipassana, clinical hypnotherapy and the tools of subconscious mind. Romshri Ashesh is the SEP Project Head.
It was well received among our customers and distributors, many of whom felt mentally energized. The Management wanted this message to reach out to more people and this became another dimension of our CSR wing. This is how the Foundation’s flagship programs have evolved as Self-Empowerment Program (SEP) and Digitalya.
I had worked in a school for over eight years, where I developed computer science programs for students. I also had worked in an IT company, where I was exposed to CSR for the first time. Through both work experiences, I gathered that digital awareness is something that everyone should have as a basic right. Unfortunately, there exists a big digital gap across all ages and regions. In order to bridge this gap, I was keen to start Digitalya at Galway Foundation.
We developed in-house programs for students and senior citizens. Digital empowerment, its crux, is for everyone including those from the less advantaged sections of society.
Some basics like searching for information on the net, filing income tax returns and using word, spreadsheet, Internet safety and security are its highlights. Usually, such things tend to be ignored because of lack of appropriate resources. A large section of the population is cut off from the basics of computers. We’re trying to educate, empower and equip them digitally to be self reliant. Digitalya is for everyone over 12 years of age.
Digitalya is a 22-hours program. These 22 hours are generally split into one hour to six hours daily based on the student’s need and their level of understanding. To reach the bigger masses outside the rural classrooms, we use social media tools such as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter as the platform to educate them. Digitalya trainers mobilize people through pamphlet distribution, internal circulation for family batches and a ‘Word of Mouth’ publicity which happens through students.
On completing the course, the students get ICB (Information & Computer basics) certified. This certificate is available on their Web logins as well. Digitalya does not promise Job placements. However, it has been seen in the past that many students have been benefited either in their current job or by getting new job opportunities after getting Digitally Empowered.
Digitalya labs are usually equipped with 8 to 10 computer systems, projector, printer, internet facility and UPS. Each batch comprises 16-20 students. We also have our Mobile Application for easy access to our courses after the classes.
The training is free of cost for all and the content is in English and Hindi. We have allocated 2% of our annual income towards our CSR activity. Likewise, our staff also spends 2% of their overall working time as Volunteers to this program. Digitalya is executed by our volunteer employees, 12 skilled trainers and support staff.
The first Digitalya Lab was established in 2015 in Bhubaneswar, Odisha. So far, Digitalya is present in 10 cities spread across eight states. We intend to expand the Lab footprint by entering Jharkhand and other areas.
The Digitalya computer lab operates in two modes. In the first kind, we set up the lab independently. The second category is collaborative in nature. We partner with local NGOs and schools to use their premises to set up the lab. We also train their staff and take care of operational expenses.
SEP is a program for all. It’s to do with mental wellness. Thoughts on self-motivation, positive thinking and emotional well-being are packaged into the program. To reach the audience we use Social media, open events like Any Time Meditation (ATM) at public places and collaborations with other organizations like schools and NGOs. Before the commencement of any Digitalya batch, our trainer takes a special session in which the students learn about SEP and are being trained to meditate for initial 10 minutes.
Our ultimate dream for Galway Foundation is to be a foremost helping hand for the society. This Foundation has been executing its programs on the basic agenda of empowering the society and creating basic livelihood for people who are in need.
Galway Foundation has won many accolades like the Asia Best CSR Award 2017 for SEP - Concern for Health, the Asia Best CSR Award 2017 for Digitalya - Support and Improvement of Quality of Education. India CSR Community Initiative Award to innovative CSR project of foundation in ‘Education.’
“My experience of seeing the spark on people’s face after gaining the computer knowledge has been incredible. It gives me a sense of fulfilment when I see people being more confident about their dreams.” – Surbhi Kapoor, trainer.
“Currently I am a student. I did not know how to use computer but, because of Galway Foundation now, I have learnt PowerPoint, internet and many other things. I also received the ICB certificate. I am thankful to Galway foundation, as only because of this I have been able to use computer and gain knowledge from internet.” – Jayesh Aapde, Digitalya program attendee.
I am from Kabila a village in Chhattisgarh. I used to undergo frustration, depression and tension. But after the SEP training, I don’t feel depression, frustration and tension. I would like to thank the training organizer, Romshri and Galway Foundation-SEP. – Sandeep Das, SEP program attendee.