Inside Hyundai Motor India: Driving social change

Feb 04 2013, 11:24 IST
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SummaryEight-year-old Selvam loved Mathematics. But sitting on the cold, hard floor to do his sums was uncomfortable.

While Hyundai is moving the world with automobiles, its public charitable trust HMIF is contributing to social upliftment around Sriperumbudur. It has done its bit, but a lot more needs to be accomplished

Eight-year-old Selvam loved Mathematics. But sitting on the cold, hard floor to do his sums was uncomfortable. His knees hurt from the awkward positions he had to sit in while writing. Soon, there was no joy left in learning even his favourite subject. But this changed once he saw a new desk and bench for himself,” R Sethuraman, senior vice-president, finance & corporate affairs, Hyundai Motor India Ltd (HMIL) tells me.

I am at the village Irungattukottai, right next to the HMIL plant in Sriperumbudur near Chennai, which has been adopted by Hyundai Motor India Foundation (HMIF) as part of larger HMIF plan to adopt villages. “Today, the village is on a healthy, sustainable and productive way of life,” adds R Sethuraman, who is also the trustee of HMIF.

“How did you go about it?” I ask. “The HMIF team examined every aspect of life in the village and evaluated existing facilities. A ‘needs list’ was drawn up in consultation with the villagers. This formed the foundation of a master plan of village development. Budgets were allotted and work was taken up,” Sethuraman replies. “And what did the project include?” I ask. “It was about raising awareness on the link between health and hygiene. For instance, of the 435 homes in Irungattukottai, only 200 had toilets. So, we constructed 235 toilets, which improved the overall hygiene of the village. Then we cleaned up the village pond and strengthened existing drainage facilities. We also funded the construction of an overhead water tank having a capacity of 60,000 litres. Now, clean water flows through the village taps. Additionally, we set up a children’s park and a library,” Sethuraman replies, before I interrupt, “And what about the desks for schoolchildren you talked about?” “Finding that government schools lacked even the basic amenities like benches and desks, HMIF began distributing them in these schools. Wooden boxes previously used for transporting car components are recycled for making desks and benches. In fact, to date, over 27,500 sets of desks and benches have been distributed to 133 government schools in Kancheepuram district,” Sethuraman says.

On the way back to the plant, Sethuraman tells me that HMIF was set up in 2006 with the purpose of ‘giving back’

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