Corporate Citizenship

Reflection on World Humanitarian Day

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Author: Amanda Johnston-Pell, Chief Marketing Officer A/NZ

Amanda Johnston-PellAs the world paused to celebrate #WorldHumanitarianDay on 19 August, it gave me the opportunity to reflect on my recent trip to India and my time spent with IBMers supporting their important good works programs. What struck me most from my time with the team was their strong social presence and their backing of local initiatives. They clearly value making a difference in the world and in their communities.

One of the initiatives is called Sparsha and while in Bangalore, I had the opportunity to meet some of the children supported by this project. I was incredibly moved by this experience and by the ground-breaking work, commitment and passion of our IBMers in India.

Sparsha’s mission is to help stop the exploitation of children and to help them reach their full potential. They aim to:

  • “Create a safe home for every child with free access to basic facilities (food, health, shelter and clothing)
  • Guarantee that children enjoy their constitutional rights and eradicate child labour
  • Develop children’s creativity and strengthen their self-confidence
  • Provide quality skill-oriented education to empower underprivileged children and youth
  • Create a community of responsibility and solidarity in which every child has his/her own place
  • Raise public awareness about Child Rights: care, protection, development and education.”
Spending time with the team at Sparsha Trust, Bangalore

Spending time with the team at Sparsha Trust, Bangalore

The program is transforming the lives of children and allowing them to manifest their potential and talents. The foundation aims to create a safe home for every child, develop children’s creativity, provide quality and skill-oriented education, and build self-confidence. The incredible work undertaken by Sparsha – every day – means that for the first time in their lives, from morning to night, many children are able to study, play, eat, express themselves and sleep without the fear of becoming victims of neglect or abuse.

Playing their part are 52 truly inspirational IBMers who are volunteering to teach 45 children aged between 3-to-14 years of age. They do this six days a week, in the morning and in the evening. Activities for the children include reading, art projects, and learning about computers and science.

The team’s community efforts have seen them receive an IBM Community Grant that will be gifted to Sparsha. With the 2018 grant under the team’s belt, we are now working together to ensure the team is eligible for similar grants in 2019 and beyond.

In the Marketing & Communications A/NZ team, we are getting behind our colleagues in India. In the spirit of #WorldHumanitarianDay, we have dedicated this week as an opportunity to make a donation so that our team’s efforts in India can be expanded. We appreciate that every cent will make a MASSIVE difference to these children’s futures, and every cent will go directly to the children’s education vs being caught up in operational red tape.

The compassion of our IBM colleagues in India has reinforced for me a timely quote from Malala Yousafzai “When the whole world is silent, even one voice becomes powerful.” #WorldHumanitarianDay was a great reminder that all of us can make a powerful impact on the world we live in.

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