This article has been sponsored by Salesforce.
Gaganashree, a Class 9 student of Anjana Vidya Kendra in Bengaluru was an under-confident girl hailing from a farming family. But when she received an opportunity to make use of her skills and communicate with students across the world, eventually her confidence grew. She now interacts well with her peers and initiates activities within and outside her school.
This was possible through a programme called Climate Action Club which was introduced in her school by Salesforce.
The cloud-based software company’s 1-1-1 philanthropy model was designed to create a positive impact on communities by donating 1% of the time, equity, and product each year. The 1-1-1 model has also turned into a movement beyond Salesforce employees. Today, more than 12,000 companies, from over 100 countries and 500 companies in India have pledged 1% to make a positive impact on the world.
While the last two years of the pandemic drastically changed our lives, bringing remote work and online learning to the forefront, a large number of children and young adults who do not have access to basic technology devices and internet connectivity were adversely affected by the nationwide lockdowns. The shift from traditional classrooms to digital platforms not only increased learning inequity amongst the children but also increased the digital divide. Now, more than ever, schools require support.
Headquartered in San Francisco, Salesforce is working towards ensuring that the upcoming generation of learners is benefitted from the employee volunteering initiatives and giving back programmes. The organisation aims to enable public educational systems with the implementation of numerous programmes at local and national levels to bridge the learning and employability gaps.
A Well-Rounded System
Salesforce believes that the keys to achieving a better future lie in Education, Workforce Development, and Racial Equality and Justice.
- Every child should have access to quality education,
- Every person should have the opportunity to build a meaningful career,
- And everyone, regardless of their race or ethnicity, should have an equal shot at prosperity, resilience and representation.
The holistic approach to the philanthropic model includes amplifying impact through grants, strategic programs, employee engagement, partnerships, technology, and influence. Salesforce invests broadly in three focus areas – education, workforce development and child welfare.
Education: Here, the organisation invests in academic success, educator support, higher education and career readiness. Through partnerships with school, district and education non-profit organisations, Salesforce works to provide students with the resources and experiences they need to realise their potential.
Some of the initiatives include providing engaging and inclusive academic experiences, supporting the mental, physical and socio-emotional wellness of individuals and providing access to higher education and work opportunities.
In partnership with United Way of Hyderabad, Salesforce has established Trailblazer Community Lab which provides children in semi-urban or rural areas a safe space with computers, digital content, maker-space, books and games to allow them to learn and explore.
Workforce development: In collaboration with their partners, Salesforce works to ensure that untapped talent can build social capital, help them succeed in meaningful careers and achieve economic prosperity.
Salesforce supports high school students to make informed choices about their career pathways by providing them with the opportunity to explore career tracks, gain work experience, build their skills, and grow their networks. The programs also help connect young people to professionals with technical skills, enabling them to develop professional networks and provide access to entry-level jobs that can advance into strong careers.
Arunima Sen, a 15-year-old student from Bengaluru, was part of Salesforce and its partner Unherd’s GirlsInTech programme says, “I got to meet a cool bunch of peers, Salesforce officials, and amazing mentors during my junior internship at the Salesforce office in Bengaluru. It was far beyond what I expected to gain from this programme. It helped me realise my passion for engineering and computer science and also for giving something back to society.”
She is currently pursuing her Bachelor of Science in Computer Science and Physics.
Like Arunima, who even went up to win The Prime Minister’s Award in 2019 and became Global Teen Leader 2020, Salesforce wishes to build a confident generation of youth who make career choices as per their talent and interest.
Child welfare: The programmes focus on the mental, emotional and social wellbeing of children, especially from underrepresented and underserved communities.
The activities include one-on-one interactions with students, in-person volunteering, providing early childhood education to children within the ages 3 to 6, career exposure to high-schoolers, etc.
Building a more just and equitable society by bringing community and opportunity together.
Kiran Mayi Botlaguduru, Senior Program Manager at Salesforce says, “Salesforce has always been committed to education. We believe an equitable future begins with equal access to a high-quality education. Through our education programs, we work to provide students with the resources and experiences they need to realise their potential.”
Through Salesforce’s global Circle the Schools program, employees participate in volunteer activities designed to advance student skills, including literacy in elementary schools, STEM in middle schools, and college and career readiness in high schools. Since 2013, Salesforce employees have adopted more than 130 schools globally in cities, including 34 schools in San Francisco and Oakland.
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