New Delhi: Anuja Bansal, secretary general, SOS Children’s Villages of India, says that if a mother in an SOS Village is not happy, the children cannot be happy. As the organization expands, reaching out to more children in distress, employee engagement is a top priority. Edited excerpts:

How do you engage employees to give them a break from everyday routine?

We have several programmes for employee engagement. At SOS Villages, for instance, we have provided computers to the family homes to promote self-learning among the mothers; we also promote the culture of meditation and yoga among them for their physical and emotional well-being.

We believe that innovation in an organization is not a prerogative of the senior management. It can come from any employee. Therefore, we are encouraging employees at all levels to come back to us and say ‘this is something we want to do, give us a pilot funding.’ If it is approved by the innovation committee, we would give them pilot funding, if that works well, we will replicate it across the organization.

Where do you get your funds from?

At least 70-75% of funds come from donors within the country—both corporate donors, individual donors. Around 30% comes from sponsors outside the country. In 2016, we raised Rs176.8 crore.

Going forward, what do you plan to focus on?

We have our 2030 strategy in place. We look forward to doing more work in the community family strengthening programme. We believe that poverty is one key reason why children lose parental care. We want to provide self-employment to help them generate extra income.

To ensure education and nutrition support to such children who are at risk of losing parental care, we will focus on providing livelihood support to the mother and help her become self-employed, thereby creating sustainable families.

We are also identifying older youth who are not in formal schooling and giving them vocational training. Currently, 300 girls are receiving IT (information technology) training across our 32 locations with an objective of (getting) employment.