New Delhi: Bharti Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, believes in providing its workforce with an open and transparent environment.

Started in 2000, the foundation is working towards changing lives by providing quality education to underprivileged children. Learning is not restricted to the children; each employee of the foundation is motivated to upgrade his or her skills by attending various courses.

“We give an environment of learning to our employees and that is why they are valued in the industry after working with us. Many of them go back to the corporate world often, taking corporate social responsibility (CSR) profiles in big companies benefiting from what they have learned here," said Vijay Chadda, chief executive of Bharti Foundation.

The foundation provides free education through its 10-year old flagship initiative—Satya Bharti School Program—through 254 rural schools spread across six states.

Over 45,000 students have been enrolled in the programme, 49% of them girls and 76% from marginalized communities. The foundation also runs the Satya Bharti Quality Support Program, which strives to enhance the quality of education in government schools, and the Satya Bharti Learning Centre Program, which brings out-of-school children back to schools through remedial interventions.

In addition to its primary focus area of education, the Foundation runs the Satya Bharti Abhiyan to improve sanitation facilities, in rural Ludhiana and more recently in rural Amritsar; as well as Nyaya Bharti to provide legal and financial assistance to deserving underprivileged under-trials.

Since the foundation works in rural India, a large number of its employees work in the field; they not only need constant support but also motivation. Chadda said technology helps the foundation stay constantly connected with offsite employees.

“I can safely say that the engagement level is so high in our organization that nobody feels isolated. We often do field visits to better understand the challenges and growth of our offsite employees. Our trainers also keep visiting the Gurgaon office for training programmes and exposure," he said.

The foundation organizes teacher exposure programmes in partnership with organizations such as STiR Education and SRF Foundation.

The foundation employs over 10,000 teachers, a majority of them women. It claims to provide benefits including extended maternity leaves and postings closer to their home towns to employees.

“We ensure a safe and secure environment for women employees, especially the teachers, considering most of our schools are located in remote locations," said Chadda.

The foundation is focusing on taking the learnings from its Satya Bharti schools to over 300 government schools across the country. The objective is to partner with governments to expand its presence.

“We believe that enhancing the overall schooling experience through quality education initiatives in government schools is the way forward. While enough and more work is being done in this direction in cities, a focused and sustained effort in this aspect in the context of rural India can bring even greater dividends for the growth of the nation," said Chadda.

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