We help people become self-reliant through their own efforts

Updated: Aug 19 2007, 03:57am hrs
The Alembic firmly believes that corporate social responsibility (CSR) is a long-term commitment, not a short-term investment. It is not just about philanthropy but about changing business ethos. We endeavour to make a positive contribution to underprivileged communities by supporting them in a wide range of socio-economic, educational, health, fine arts and rural development activities.

Our CSR activities are run by funds mobilised by the Alembic Group. Although some of them, over a period of time, have become self-supportive, we provide funds whenever the need arises.

Some of our main CSR activities are in rural development. In the 1980s, the company put its rural development initiative in a structured manner. Located near Panelav, close to Vadodara, the Rural Development Society started work amongst villagers in 50 villages. The objective was to provide self-employment and education opportunities for both the villagers and their children. Today, the society provides vocational training and education till the secondary level, and contribute-and-earn opportunities for women. The idea is to promote self-reliant people, with a motto of Learn to Earn. This training ensures that they become self-reliant through their own involvement. The society also conducts health check-up camps and awareness programmes for the villagers. These efforts have resulted in changing the lives and source of livelihood for

several villagers.

As with education, we attach great significance to health. In 1964, our company established a hospital in honour of its founder, Bhailalbhai Amin. Now Bhailal Amin General Hospital (BAGH) in Vadodara is rated one of the best in Gujarat, a far cry from its modest set up. It began as a one-room dispensary to cater to the employees of the company, and has since then grown to accommodate a 165-bed, four ICUs, secondary and tertiary care multi-specialty hospital with 150 doctors. It is the only hospital approved by the state and central government for cardiac treatment and surgery, kidney transplants/surgery and cadaver transplant, among other procedures. In keeping with Alembics CSR ethos, the daily management of BAGH is taken care of by family members to ensure seamless and quality healthcare.

Since 1959, the Alembic group (under the aegis of its Uday Education Trust) has been providing high quality, affordable education through its five schools based in Vadodara and Bangalore with over 5000 students across primary, secondary and higher secondary streams in Vadodara and over 1,500 students in Bangalore. The Space Studio in Vadodara was set up specially to provide a working facility and, hence, creative continuity to graduates in fine arts. It currently provides free working space for about 17 to 20 artists for a year.

The decisions with regard to CSR are taken at the top level and the execution of these activities is left to the team incharge of these activities. There are contributions from certain employees in the CSR activities. For, it takes people to help people.

The company completed 100 years on July 30, which was indeed a historic day for Vadodara and Alembic. Its quite overwhelming to experience the patronage that Alembic has enjoyed in these 100 years from the city and its people. We have lined up different social programmes in social domains such as tree plantation drives, blood donation camps, medical camps, and many such activities to celebrate our reaching this milestone.

As far as our CSR activities for the future are concerned, we shall continue to give back to society as we have done so over all these years. Our activities are based on community needs and revolve around the local areas of Vadodara.

(Chirayu Amin is chairman and managing director, Alembic Limited)

As told to Sulekha Nair