IT Giant Wipro’s philanthropic arm has donated Rs 1,000 crore of grants over and above the Rs 1,125-crore they had contributed when the pandemic began last year, its Founder Chairman Azim Premji announced on Tuesday.
This additional grant of Rs 1k crore will be dedicated to universal vaccination, Premji said while speaking at the event of foundation day of the Bombay Chartered Accountants’ Society.
Last year, when the pandemic began, Wipro had announced a Rs 1,125-crore aid, which included converting its facilities at Pune into hospitals. “As our work as well as our situation evolved, we realised that focus on universal vaccination was just as important as other initiatives. So, we have added that as a key element of our COVID-19 relief strategy, and committed an additional Rs 1,000 crore for it,” Premji said.
To work on the ground level, they made a team of 1,600 full-time employees of the Azim Premji Foundation, 55,000 employees working for its partners, 10,000 teachers and 2,500 alumni of the Azim Premji University.
Premji, who stressed the fact that education should not be ignored in the pandemic He vehemently opposed the idea of promoting school students to the next class.
“The worst thing that we could do is to ignore the past one and a half years and just keep promoting children to the next class without helping them to learn what they should have learnt. We can create an enormous deficit which can never be filled up otherwise,” he said.
In this pandemic, Even as the education sector grapples with how to proceed further amidst the covid-19, Premji suggested that the system should be made that allows classes to happen in open areas in neighbourhoods, teachers should be vaccinated as early as possible and education programmes have to undergo re-engineering to make up for the lost that students had to bear over the past one and half years is made up.
Premji said the foundation’s efforts helped 83 lakh people residing in rural communities and the hard-hit, vulnerable pockets regained their livelihoods with the help of field interventions like seed and fertiliser supply for farmers, and working capital for poultry farmers and handicraft industry.
The industry genius, who is committed to social sector activities, said his mother ran a hospital for children and Mahatma Gandhi, who advocated a trusteeship model for wealth, have impacted his life and they are his greatest inspirations to take the plunge into philanthropy.
Premji encouraged everyone to begin the habit of giving earlier in their lives, naming the late start to philanthropic activities, a “regret” in his life.
“It is only when we come together in this way we realise the dream of a just, equitable, humane and sustainable society as envisioned in the Indian Constitution,” he said.
“It is not possible to be emotionally detached. Being empathetic and emotional makes much good happen in this world. Please be moved by it,” Premji added.