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Here’s What We’ve Learned About Schools And Malawi

Philanthropy

I hope Madonna and Oprah read this. My nonprofit, the Face-to-Face AIDS Project, has realized many things about making the most meaningful impact with our charity dollars. A lot we’ve learned the hard way, and we’ve made our share of mistakes. But with regards to our program of offering scholarship to orphans (which includes transport fees, pocket money, and room & board where needed), I think we’ve arrived at something transformational. I’d love to share this with you.

MONEY WHERE THERE’S NO MONEY
Money flowing into places where people have no money — well, you better watch out. We gave a $4,000 grant to a rural Malawi community to support a cassava field and a bakery. A year later, we filmed ourselves happily munching on cassava and fresh buns. Seven months after that, we discovered the cassava field wasn’t ours, and the bakery was a sham. Petty corruption, power, and witchcraft were all contributing factors.

Other funders realized their grants were mismanaged as well and everyone stopped funding this area. So 40,000 subsistence farmers no longer received any outside help. You could argue that they were worse off now than before we went in.

We’ve learned that small grants make it easier for locals to wean themselves off charity. It’s a shorter distance to being sustainable. With small grants, you have a better chance of having locals focus on the project’s success, rather than the project’s dollars. Money where there’s no money is forbidden fruit. It’d be like paying New Yorkers to be polite by dumping a truckload of diamonds in Times Square.

EDUCATION WHERE THERE’S NO EDUCATION
Privileged education where there’s no education may not be such a good idea either. Here’s why.

In Malawi, most youth don’t go to secondary school. A great many never finish primary school and can’t read or write. We Americans view education as a school, a diploma, an upward motion progressing through university. This is our society’s education. This isn’t what Malawi needs right now.

Education in a place where education levels are so low requires thinking of the best next step for that place. Building schools in the thousands of villages is impractical and way too costly. A privileged boarding school can disconnect youth from their communities — it’s two different worlds. Would orphans return to life in a village after boarding school? Would the village want them?

I believe the best next step to educating youth must be relevant to the on-the-ground situation, and that means working with the community. It’s similar to my thoughts on feeding children. To feed a child, you must care for the cow. To educate youth, you should focus on the community. Community equals the cow. Even if it isn’t as cute as the child.

THE HARD QUESTIONS
Arichie, Mike, Lameck (shown left to right) and I had a quick retreat to rethink our orphan scholarship program, which supports orphans and vulnerable children attend secondary school (grades 9-12). We pay for school fees, uniforms, books, pocket and transport money, and room and board where needed.

Lameck has been crucial in guiding our community projects to be more self-sustainable. Mike and Arichie went from being our drivers six years ago to heading our Malawi office. All three understand the communities and people with whom we work.

We drove 80 minutes from Lilongwe to have a meeting at a place overlooking Lake Malawi. We glossed over our success stories, and focused in on our problems — how some orphans fail their exams, some get themselves or others pregnant, some drop out. Others graduate from secondary school, but, because university scholarships are scarce, simply disappear from our radar screen. It was clear that our orphans feared failure — failure to get good grades, to pass exams, to going to university.

We’ve given them the hope of education and the expectation of a life beyond their world. We were wrong to do that. Especially to those who tried hard, but just didn’t have the smarts to excel in school.

MEMORY AND GLADYS
Take Memory and Gladys, two orphans on our scholarship program.

We met Memory a week after she lost her mother to AIDS. (Her father died a few years before.) In a shy, quiet voice, 14-year-old Memory (right) told us she hoped to be an ambassador so she could change laws that weren’t good for Malawi. Separated from her younger sister, Maureen, Memory longs for the day when they can be reunited.

For now, Memory is a model student. She just finished “Anne Frank’s Diary,” and uses Anne’s secret code to communicate with friends at school. Memory is inspiring to us — if she goes to university, I’m sure she’ll do well. But because we don’t have a university fund, what will happen to her after she finishes secondary school?

Five years ago, Mike carried Gladys (right) in and out of hospitals as she waged a tough, lonely battle against death. After years of illness, Gladys became strong enough to attend school for the first time in her life. She was 16. Gladys managed to do well enough to skip several grades over the next few years. Now Gladys says she wants to be a doctor because she’s grateful to all who helped her at the hospitals. She’s well adjusted, listens to Mike and others, and is beginning to hope for a happy life. She’s twenty now, and she’s a lovely young woman.

But Gladys hasn’t advanced beyond eighth grade. If Gladys drops out of school, will she simply disappear?

COWS AT THE SWIMMING POOL
If we had unlimited funding, we could keep Memory and Gladys in school, along with the countless of other impoverished youth in Malawi. We don’t, of course, and dropping wads of money isn’t a solution in any case. But how could our scholarship program really help Memory, Gladys, and others like them?

As we discussed this over lunch, some cows lumbered over to drink at the swimming pool. Of course a boy came bounding over to shoo them on, but not before we were reminded of community and had come up with a new definition of education and clarified what success meant. Call it an enlightenment moment.

Here’s our new definition of education:
“Nurturing a love of learning, while developing a sense of compassion and community service.”

And this is how we measure success:
How well youth can sense the possibilities that open up to an inquisitive mind.”

Education isn’t about how much science or math you know, nor is success about grades, diplomas, or moving on to university. What we’re doing is recognizing that we’re in Malawi, and not the U.S. The next best step here in Malawi is for youth, and their guardians, to learn to love learning. To nurture a mindset that finds reward in raising the quality of life in their communities.

There are many reasons why orphans fail at school — they’re busy working at home or in the fields, they’re health compromised, they’re lonely at school, they just aren’t the brightest of students.

If our orphans drop out, we want them to know that they can remain in their villages and be one of the few people who can read or write. They can use their creativity to help their villages help themselves. They can use their minds to find joy in discovery.

THE POWER OF YOUTH CLUBS
In close association with sending orphans to school, our new scholarship program utilizes the power of youth clubs to bolster students who are in school, and to support those who have left. In these clubs, we offer guidance, tutoring, confidence building, volunteer opportunities, and vocational training. Through various activities, we reinforce their connections to their villages, and facilitate ways for them to engage in community service. This also raises their status in the eyes of the community — so in effect, we’re turning the discriminated into role models.

The youth clubs work side-by-side with the orphans attending school, complementing academic studies with practical help and experience. The clubs also give orphans a forum to discuss what’s on their minds, and a place where they feel special. We aim to keep our former students connected with our clubs as long as possible — and we anticipate they’ll continue the friendships they’ve developed in the clubs.

Over time, the clubs will help us be sustainable, as alumni take leadership roles in our projects or support us financially. The clubs, which operate on a small budget, serve as an investment in our own programs.

6O,OOO GIRLS FOR $15 MILLION
Our school/youth club program requires minimal funding, strengthens students’ ties to their communities, enables them to help each other, and doesn’t abandon them after they leave school.

Madonna and Oprah, I agree that your schools could nurture future leaders of Africa. But Mike, Arichie, Lameck, and I believe that our program can also produce good leaders, and at all levels of society — community volunteers, village chiefs, charity workers, teachers, nonprofit directors. At $250 per student per year, our program can touch so many more orphans. From what I’ve read, 400 girls were to be enrolled at Madonna’s $15 million school. Oprah’s school opened for 150 girls, reportedly at a cost of $40 million.

Per student, our program costs one-half of one percent of Madonna’s school. Sixty thousand girls could benefit from a $15 million scholarship fund. I know it’s not apples to apples, but you get my point.

A FUTURE IN THE COMMUNITY FOR MEMORY & GLADYS
After Memory (right) finishes high school, she’ll continue with our alumni youth club, which will expose her to working in community development. Not only will Memory gain grassroots experience, she’ll also have more opportunities to meet people and organizations that might offer her a university scholarship.

And Gladys (left, with Mike) can drop out of school if she wishes. We’ll use the alumni youth club to provide her with opportunities to volunteer in community health services. She might then go on to live and work in a community where she can become part of the community. And of course Gladys will still be a part of our Face-to-Face community as well. She’s family to us.

A REQUEST TO MADONNA AND OPRAH
We outsiders can help Malawi’s youth build confidence and nurture a mindset to think creatively and compassionately. We can facilitate strengthening ties among themselves and learning from each other. And we can emphasize sustainability and self-reliance. Yet I’d be foolish to say I know what’s best for Malawi’s one million orphans and vulnerable children.

But this I know: Only Malawians can lead Malawi to a better future. And the more youth — both girls and boys — who grow up believing that, the more likely that Malawi’s future will be driven by compassionate, dedicated youth who believe that happiness can be found right at home.

So this I request from you both. Please give the tens of thousands of Memories and Gladys a chance at helping them make their villages and cities exactly the place they want to be.

And that place may not necessarily be in our image.

(Right: The Kang’oma Youth Group undertaking volunteer act of hoeing a residents field for planting.)
All photos taken by author.

Huffington Post, April 6, 2011

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GMR boss pledges $340m for education

Philanthropy, Uncategorized

MUMBAI: GMR Group chairman Grandhi Mallikarjuna Rao, a first-generation entrepreneur hailing from Srikakulam in Andhra Pradesh, on Tuesday pledged $340 million (Rs 1,540 crore), which is equivalent to his personal share in the infrastructure conglomerate, to improve education among the undeserved sections of the society.

The move comes on a day when Warren Buffet, the billionaire chairman of Berkshire Hathaway, arrived on his maiden trip to India to promote philanthropy among the the country’s richest. GMR, in a statement said,

Rao has committed his funds to the group’s charitable wing GMR Varalakshmi Foundation, which has a presence in India and abroad, focuses on education and vocational training for the underprivileged.

The 60-year-old G M Rao, who started as a jute trader three decades ago, went on to create a Rs 5,000-crore enterprise spread across energy, airports and roads. Rao joins the growing list of Indian industrialists who are creating endowments to support social causes. “I have always believed that we have a responsibility to give back to the society in which we thrive and we owe our success to,” Rao said in a statement.

Last year, tech czar Azim Premji donated over Rs 8,000 crore by transferring a small part of his stake in Wipro to his foundation focused on improving primary education. Reliance Industries created a foundation to provide affordable healthcare and meaningful rural development in 2009. India’s largest private sector firm set aside Rs 500 crore for this initiative.

Indian billionaires have ramped up their philanthropic work in recent past but still lag their western counterparts. A 2010 Bain & Co report said that India’s contribution to charity was just 0.6% of its GDP, while it was 2.2% in the US and 1.3% in the UK.

HCL founder Shiv Nadar gifted Rs 580 crore to his foundation that works to strengthen the country’s education framework. While these new-generation entrepreneurs are ploughing back a part of their wealth for the society, traditional conglomerates such as Tatas and Godrejs have gifted some of their holdings to charitable trusts engaged with learning institutes and hospitals.

Times of India, March 23, 2011

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Google’s ‘primary’ goal

Philanthropy

The education space in India has been growing in the recent years and several corporates have been eager to be a part of this change. Google is the latest entrant in this field.

“We are a 11-year-old company. We did not have any money seven years ago. But, considering the fact that every child in the world needs to be educated, the higher the number of companies that come forward to support the cause, the better it is. The objective is to make sure that every child in the world is educated so that he/she can do something worthwhile,” says Nikesh Arora, senior vice-president and chief business officer, Google.
Referring to the new initiative to support the Satya Bharti schools, run by the Bharti Foundation — the philanthropic arm of Bharti Enterprises, Arora informs that Google will provide financial support of US$ 5 million to upgrade and support 50 elementary schools run by the Bharti Foundation in the states of Punjab, Haryana, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh.

Arora reiterates that the role of public-private partnerships is becoming even more important. “It is important for everybody in any country to take on the responsibility of not just providing products and services to the society but also to try and see how they can make a difference,” he says, further adding that since most companies have the ability to organise and get things done, they should try and deploy some part of that human capital to make the world a better place to live in.

As far as human capital is concerned, India is one of the countries that produce the highest numbers of graduates, but the cause for concern is that they are not industry-ready. In this context, vocational education could work as a viable solution.

Arora agrees that education aims to provide people with the ability to go and fend for themselves. So education has to be not just for the purpose of learning but also for the purpose of allowing people to go out and make a living. “If there is any form of education that helps facilitate the process and makes it easier and quicker, why not?” Arora asks.

With a background as an analyst, one of Arora’s main areas of focus has been IT. And within the IT sector, he points out, the world is moving towards the ‘cloud.’ “Cloud computing is the future,” he adds.

Times of India, February 7, 2011

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Enter, the education professionals

Higher Education, Philanthropy

Sandwiched between the tall dazzle of Wipro’s steel-and-glass offices on Sarjapur Road in Bangalore, and its chairman Azim Hasham Premji’s tucked-away-from-prying-eyes expansive private residence, stands a modest two-storeyed building. Against the backdrop of thick woods, surrounded by falling leaves, the diminutive building paints a rather dreamy picture. The style is exposed brick, tile and green-blue glass. A small sign at the gate announces the Azim Premji Foundation.

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Rs 8,800-cr boost for education

Philanthropy

The Rs 8,846-crore endowment that comes from Mr Azim Premji’s share transfer to an “irrevocable” trust will be used to fund various social, not-for-profit initiatives, including the Azim Premji University. Mr Azim Premji, Chairman of the Azim Premji Foundation, on Wednesday announced that he would transfer 2.13 crore equity shares (an 8.6 per cent stake) of Wipro Ltd held by certain entities controlled by him to a trust. The transfer will be effected by December 7. The trust is controlled by Mr Premji and he will continue to retain the voting rights of the transferred shares.

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Education NGOs get maximum foreign funds, US leads the way

Finances & Budgets, Philanthropy

The top ten recipients of foreign funds in India are all in the education sector. While the United States doles out the maximum funds to Indian NGOs working in the education sector, the other countries which make it to the top five list are United Kingdom, Germany, Italy and Netherlands. According to the figures accessed by The Indian Express through RTI, the US sent Rs 170 crore to these NGOs in 2005-06. The figure went up to Rs 494.58 crore in 2007-08, despite the recession.

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Facebook Founder to Donate $100 Million to Help Remake Newark’s Schools

Philanthropy

Mark Zuckerberg, chief executive and a founder of Facebook, has agreed to donate $100 million to improve the long-troubled public schools in Newark, and Gov. Chris Christie will cede some control of the state-run system to Mayor Cory A. Booker in conjunction with the huge gift, officials said Wednesday. The changes would not formally relax the legal power the state seized in 1995, when it declared Newark’s schools a failure and took control of the system, replacing the elected school board with a mostly toothless advisory board. Rather, Mr. Christie plans to give the mayor a major role in choosing a new superintendent and redesigning the system, but to retain the right to take control back.

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Educating rural India: Can pvt players bridge quality gap?

Access to education, Corporate Social Responsibility, Philanthropy

Two schools of thought on how the private sector can make a difference in bringing good quality education to rural India.

Far away from the cut and thrust of running large corporate houses, there’s something that’s keeping Azim Premji and Sunil Mittal, among the most successful entrepreneurs in India, busy. For the last almost 10 years, both have committed serious money, managers and their own time to providing quality education for India’s underprivileged children. They recognise that education has perhaps the greatest “multiplier effect”.

The government’s initiatives so far have been largely tied with the spread of compulsory education. The Rs. 90,000-crore Sarva Shiksha Abhiyaan and the mid day meal programmes have achieved a measure of success in bringing more children into schools. But it’s been a victory of quantity over quality. Even though 80% of children aged six to 14 attend government schools where education is free, they remain effectively uneducated and therefore unemployable. Absenteeism is high, as is the dropout rate and those who attend hardly benefit.

According to the Annual Status of Education Report, 2009, more than 30% of the children in class I do not recognise numbers and letters. Half of class V students meet reading standards of just class II.

It is this gap that Premji and Mittal hope to bridge through the work of their philanthropic organisations, the Azim Premji Foundation (APF) and the Bharti Foundation (Bharti).

APF believes the best way to make an impact is by working with the state education departments to improve learning in classrooms. The logic is simple: With 7 million education professionals (teachers and support staff) and an annual spending of USD 13.5 billion (Rs. 62,000 crore), the government has already achieved scale that no private organisation could equal.

Bharti has chosen to build a parallel system of new schools Satya Bharti schools to provide quality education for free to the rural poor and set new benchmarks on how to educate children. Of course, it does still need to engage with local governments as it relies heavily on partnership from the villages. Typically, the village gives the land free on long lease on which the school is built.

It is not that these two are the only organisations working to find solutions in this field. From Intel to IBM, Deutsche Bank to ICICI Bank, companies are doing some philanthropic work in the education space. Shriram Foundation works with 25 government schools in Haryana; Thermax runs a few civic schools in Pune.

But what sets APF and Bharti apart is their scale and ambition. “What we do should be reflected in permanent, institutionalised change. It should not be an island of excellence or a one off thing,” says S. Giridhar, head, programmes – APF.

APF is already present in nine states, while Bharti has 236 schools across India and plans to take that number to 550 schools with 2 lakh children.

How can civil society engage with the government to bring large-scale systemic change? There are important lessons to be learnt from both the models.

The APF route

APF, started with a USD 125 million (about Rs. 575 crore) stock grant from Premji, was set up in 1999. To fulfil its agenda, it zeroed in on three things: One, train the teachers. A vibrant classroom would lead to better attendance and higher school completion rates. Two, build leadership skills among the education officers they control the resources for government schools (incentives for teachers, mid day meal programmes, supply of text books and uniforms). Three, assess children for critical thinking, not rote learning, as this has a direct bearing on the way they will be taught.

This last was validated through one of its earliest programmes, the Learning Guarantee Programme (LGP) in Karnataka (2002-05). Its aim was to showcase government schools with best practices in teaching. Schools would volunteer for assessment and would be selected if their students (classes I-IV) qualified for a threshold level of enrolment, attendance and learning. In the first year, 40 schools (4.5% of the participating schools) met all the criteria. By the third year, the number had gone up to 144 (7.8%).

APF discovered that changing the way questions were framed in exams led to a change in the way children were taught. For example, if you ask ‘What is the highest 4 digit number?’ Every child can memorise the answer, 9,999. But if you ask ‘What is the highest four digit number you can create from 7, 2, 1 and 9’, the child will need to understanding the concept of unit, tens, hundreds. Schools that participated in this exercise every year showed marked improvement in learning achievements.

Today, the programme has spread to Rajasthan, Gujarat and Uttarakhand, and is onto the next stage of its assessment-led reforms. Instead of expanding to new areas, APF is working towards improving classroom interactions in schools where LGP has been rolled out. It is working closely with the education departments to train teachers and administrators. “It’s the large government system that is actually doing the work, we are merely facilitating or helping,” says Anurag Behar, who joins as co-CEO from July 1.

The Bharti route

Set up in 2000, Bharti started with writing random cheques to help the underprivileged until one day in 2005-06 the Mittal family figured it wasn’t serving the purpose, recalls Rakesh Mittal, the eldest of the three Mittal brothers, and the head of the Bharti Foundation. “While we always talked about business and money we felt we need to look at areas where we could make a difference,” he says. So, the Mittal family started the Satya Bharti School, with a commitment of Rs 200 crore.

The curriculum places special emphasis on English and computer learning. These schools also have playgrounds, sports equipment for cricket and football, and well-stocked libraries to provide holistic development to the children.

Bharti’s schools have had a positive impact on government schools too. In some villages in Punjab, when Bharti started its school and enrolment increased, the district education officer began asking government schools why their enrolments were low. Antony N.J., state head, says, inspired by Bharti, government schools in Sherpur Kalan installed sports equipment for children on their own initiative. In many areas in Sangrur and Ludhiana, government school teachers dropped by at the Bharti school to see how the children were taught. “There is an induction effect. These schools have motivated our government schools to perform,” says Lalit K. Pawar, principal education secretary, Rajasthan government.

That both models have achieved results is clear.

One state where APF’s competency based assessment has been received well is Uttarakhand. APF has been working with the state government since 2005. In this time it has trained over 1,800 teachers in competency-based assessment. Each class (from I-IV) showed an improvement of between 6 and 10% in scores in 2007 over 2006. From this year the government of Uttarakhand has replaced annual examinations in the state for classes I-VIII with the competency-based system.

Over in Punjab and Rajasthan, Bharti’s efforts too are beginning to pay off. Hardayal Singh, 37, sends three of his kids to a Satya Bharti School in Punjab. Earlier they used to go to government schools. “There was no teaching even if the teachers came. Kids just fooled around,” he says. It is different now. The kids try to speak in English. Their academic results have improved. And they have become conscious about hygiene at home. “I am very satisfied,” he says.

Making it work

It is equally clear that scaling up either model and keeping it going has its own set of challenges. Both organisations have been careful about concentrating their efforts in a few states and starting in geographies they understand well. So Bharti has remained concentrated in the North, while APF started its initiative in Karnataka before taking it to other states.

Both have also been careful to not be seen as organisations with unlimited funds. As APF discovered, state governments think it has enormous funds, and expect it to bear a disproportionate share of the programme cost. “Our philosophy is that we will not invest even Rs 1 if it does not have a future implication,” says Dileep Ranjekar, CEO, APF. APF can fund it for a definite period if the government promises to institutionalise the budget. “We cannot do it indefinitely. Otherwise I am just creating a bubble and the moment APF is not there the programme goes away,” says Ranjekar. So APF shares half the cost of the programme in the beginning and then slowly reduces it, till the government bears the cost eventually.

Nevertheless, both will have to contend with one big issue: Sustainability of funds. Business will go through its ups and downs, so how do you insure against that? While the present generation supports the initiative heartily, who knows if the future generation will be interested and passionate about it?

APF is heavily dependent on Premji, its chief sponsor, for funding. Premji’s elder son, Rishad, is an APF board member along with both his parents. Although no details are available at the moment, people close to Premji say that he has thought about this long and hard and has a plan that will ensure that APF’s work will have sustainable funding.

While Premji has set aside about Rs. 575 crore of stocks to fund APF’s work, Bharti is doing it through a web of initiatives, diversifying its funding base. The Mittal family, group companies, employees all contribute the funds. Bharti Foundation is also building an ecosystem of sponsors and partnerships to keep the fund pipeline full. Luxor provides free stationery, IBM is giving away computers. Many like Deutsche Bank, which was opening its branch in Ludhiana, decided to sponsor two schools in the city. Duraline India, a supplier to Bharti group, is giving Rs. 10 lakh in three-four tranches. “We couldn’t have done it on our own, but we can support from the outside,” says Mahendar Gambhir, senior director, Duraline India.

In Bharti’s case, one question that bothers observers is whether it will continue to find teachers. Perhaps that’s why Bharti trimmed its target of 1,000 primary schools to 500. It has now decided to also set up 50 senior secondary schools with a focus on vocational training. “We realised that our children passing out from Bharti schools needed to go somewhere,” says Rakesh Mittal.

“Scalability brings problems of quality,” says education consultant Abha Adams. Add to it the attrition rate of around 15%. Says Vijay Chadda, CEO, Bharti Foundation: “Attrition is a reality we have to live with. We are here to [also] energise the government system. Our teachers become the change agents when they quit.” Bharti is working hard to get better in training a large number of teachers at a minimal cost.

That’s a concern Premji echoes: “The real bottleneck today is not money either for us or the government, nor for some of the deeply committed NGOs that work in this space. The primary issue is shortage of talent in the education sector. This is why we are starting [a] University to help create a cadre of capable and committed education sector professionals.” The university, which will be operational from July 2011, will offer graduate and postgraduate degrees to those looking to make a career in education.

Malini Goyal, Mitu Jayashankar, Forbes India, July 1, 2010

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Nadar sells 2.5% stake in HCL, to give money to education sector

Philanthropy

HCL founder-chairman Shiv Nadar raised around Rs 585 crore by selling about 2.5% stake in HCL Technologies on Thursday, and said the proceeds will be donated towards philanthropic investments in India’s education sector. The Shiv Nadar Foundation, launched by Mr Nadar, will use this money for expanding its philanthropic efforts across thousands of schools and colleges in the country.

The stake sale was done by HCL Corp, the holding company of software services firm HCL Technologies and computer hardware company HCL Infosystems. It is headed by Mr Nadar’s daughter Roshni. As of March 31 this year, the Nadar family held around 50.27% stake in HCL Technologies.

HCL Corp sold 16.75 million shares of HCL Technologies in two tranches on BSE on Thursday. About 8.37 million shares changed hands at a volume-weighted average price of Rs 347.98 and another 8.37 million shares at Rs 350.79. Private fund house Citigroup Global Markets Mauritius bought a chunk of the shares. Citigroup and Deutsche Bank AG are learnt to have assisted HCL Corp in the transaction.

The first-generation entrepreneurs of the Indian IT industry have been driving their philanthropy agenda through focused initiatives. While Wipro chairman Azim Premji’s foundation focuses on improving the quality of primary education in the country, the Infosys Foundation works on rural development and social rehabilitation.

The Shiv Nadar Foundation was established to focus on areas related to transformational education. The work on the foundation began in 1994 with the establishment of SSN Trust. Later, the name of the foundation was changed to Shiv Nadar Foundation.

The total quantum of donations, as disclosed by listed companies, has grown over the past few years. In April, Infosys Technologies chief mentor NR Narayana Murthy and his family donated $5.2 million to Harvard University and Harvard University Press to establish a new publication series called The Murty Classical Library of India.

Early this year, 70-year-old Vineet Nayyar, managing director of IT services firm Tech Mahindra, donated a third of his shares in the company worth over Rs 30 crore to Essel Social Welfare Foundation, a Delhi-based charitable organisation. Just three firms—Reliance Industries, Jindal Steel & Power and Jaiprakash Associates—had donated more than Rs 30 crore each for the year ended March 31, 2009. HCL Technologies shares closed at Rs 358.85, down 3.90% from the previous close, on BSE on Thursday.

The Economic Times, 25 Jun 2010

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