tisdag 13 oktober 2015

Initial meeting with H&M to discuss CSR

Meeting with H&M to discuss how they can play a role in rehabilitating the former victims of sex trafficking

Kiran Gokathoti
Recently I met with Sustainability Manager Kiran Gokathoti at H&Ms office, at World Trade Center. We discussed how the company could take part in the empowerment of the former trafficked victims. One possible way they could contribute would be to undertake income-generating activities for the women, and this would in that case be done in the vendors/ suppliers factories. The shelter provides for vocational training, such as how to use a sewing machine, so this could be a really good approach.

In this way the women would come one step further in their process of rehabilitation and reintegration, as well as to become self sustainable. H&M would be able to contribute to by emphasizing on women empowerment, which is one of the company's sustainability objectives, and by using some of their CSR-funds. This would be something not only the former victims would gain from, but also H&M. And as some of you already know, in India there is a law that says that 2 percent of a business net profit (depends on revenue) must be spent on CSR-activities.

The company really try to make sure that they produce fashion with a conscience. And it seems as they have come a long way now. A project such as this would mean that the company take responsibility for the world they are active in, and the people around them. Companies, such as H&M, can here play an invaluable role in combating injustices, such as saving a former victim from poverty, for example. Many times a former victim is left to rely on herself due to the fact that she can not get married after being sexually exploited, possibly with a child (from being raped), without any social safety nets or job. 

A non functioning support system (safety nets; governmental/ non-governmental) can also spur socio-economic injustices, as victims risk end up in poverty if they are not properly integrated back into society. There are many inter-related issues causing traffickers to do what they do, and sometimes for why some girls are easier to be targeted than others. But in order to solve injustices in the long run, such as sexual exploitation, poverty alleviation is required. It should not only be an issue for the people directly concerned, but the society in general as well. And it looks as some do take responsibility. At the end of the meeting we agreed to set up another meeting soon, to discuss a possible way forward.  

Brigade Gateway/ World Trade Centre

This day I also met with Mohammed Khan, Director of Food and Beverages, at Sheraton Hotel (as I was in the area). He approached me and told me that the plan to host a cocktail charity party at their premises was almost approved from the board now. The most amazing thing about this (well of course besides the fact that the victims would gain a lot) is that the party would actually take place at the terrace/ roof top, which would be really cool! Hopefully this would attract a lot of people to come. 

söndag 4 oktober 2015

Halli Habba - Village Festival

"Halli Habba Festival", which is a village festival, was organized on the special occasion of "Daan Utsav", or "joy of giving week". People from all walks of life are encouraged to do the acts of giving during this week. The Halli Habba festival was organized by the NGO Vidyaranya on the 3rd and 4th of October at Freedom Park, Bangalore. 

At this festival urban folks had the opportunity to experience village traditions of different states. The event focused on rural food, games, art and culture, as well as rural life. All to benefit guests, as well as less fortunate people - truly a win-win- situation! 

Support from expat friends :)
Not only urban locals, especially youth, but also expats had here the opportunity to truly experience Indian rural culture. Even though it is quite easy for us expats to stay in our comfy zones, some paid a visit to the festival. Many of us expats can also afford to help out by buying some fabric etc. In my opinion, there is only good causes to support when it comes to attending these type of events, especially since many beneficiaries most often are the lowest social strata of the community. 

Funds raised from the Halli Habba event will be utilized for infrastructure development of a residential school for the mentally challenged at Mandur. Women and girls were also empowered, as former victims of sex trafficking attended the event and sold handicraft. In addition to this other less fortunate people benefited from the event, such as vulnerable children, disabled people, elderly, marginalized girls and women, amongst others. 

Politicians also paid a visit to the event, and I managed to greet the Minister of Transport. The NGO and event also got a lot of good and well needed media exposure. Below are some of the organisations that Vidyaranya partnered with.

IndiaCares http://icfn.in