In the health and education mode

As a $2 billion-plus, Fortune-1000 consulting, IT and BPO company with more than 40 global delivery centres and operations spread across four continents, Cognizant is convinced of its responsibility to a broader constituency that includes such key stakeholders as NGOs and the communities in which it operates around the world. At Cognizant, we firmly believe that corporate actions play a very important role in creating a climate of positive opinion and that giving back to the society is not only imperative to the company’s growth, but also an earnest reflection of the values it stands for.
This belief is what drives Cognizant Foundation (CF), our CSR arm. Established with the objective of improving, guiding and inspiring the lives of underprivileged people, CF focuses on the areas of education and healthcare. It facilitates community, rural development, disaster relief and educational and health care programmes by providing direct assistance to charitable organisations, educational institutions and rural-based organisations. For us, CSR activities are also a way to encourage social involvement of our employees and bond them as a team and with the organisation. Notably, all the proposals funded and approved by CF are referred by Cognizant employees. In a bid to sustain such developmental initiatives, CF has adopted a participatory approach, where Cognizant employees are encouraged to volunteer for, refer and sponsor CSR proposals, and gain better understanding of the implementation and utility of the measures funded by the Foundation.
CF has extended financial aid to several NGOs in India. Among other things, the aid has helped build or upgrade school infrastructure and provide medical help to the underprivileged sections of society. In Chennai and the rest of Tamil Nadu, we have provided help to Resource Group for Education and Advocacy for Community Health, CII-YI Akshara Learning Centre, Sri Ramani Ranganayaki Trust, Juvenile Home, Guild of Service, Sevabharathi, Ramakrishna Math, TANKER Foundation, Sri Vidyatheertha Foundation, Sri Saraswathi Pata Sala Girls’ Higher Secondary School, Child Trust Hospital, Shubhangam Trust, Ramakrishna Mission Students’ Home, Goodwill Foundation of India, Indian Red Cross Society, and many others. Recently, CF extended help to Chennai’s VHS Hospital for procuring non-invasive equipment in their cardiac scan centre and the Autotec TMT Centre to provide treatment either free of cost or at subsidised rates. CF has also sponsored four DOTS centres working towards tuberculosis control. With the Foundation leading the way, our associates in India and abroad have also undertaken various grassroot initiatives.
When Cognizant crossed the second billion dollar revenue mark in 2007, the company decided to celebrate this achievement by giving back to the society. This was the beginning of a novel program called “Outreach” that is focused on using a combination of voluntary efforts from Cognizant associates and funding from Cognizant to promote the cause of education. As part of this programme, we adopt orphanages and educational institutions catering to underprivileged children and help them raise the required infrastructure and meet their training needs.
With a young workforce increasingly keen to contribute to the cause of creating a better society, voluntarism has truly acquired a new dimension.
(The writer is vice chairman, Cognizant and director, Cognizant Foundation)


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