Among the many ways in which we make a difference to the transport industry, the welfare of truck drivers is one of our biggest causes. We instituted the Mahindra Saarthi Abhiyaan programme in 2014 to provide the daughters of the truck drivers with scholarships so that they pursue their education beyond 10th standard and make a respectable life and career for themselves. Through this programme, a scholarship of Rs. 10,000 was awarded to each truck driver’s daughter who completed 10th standard and showed a strong interest in pursuing further educational or vocational courses. Till last year, we awarded scholarships to 4408 deserving girls in more than 55 locations across the country.
For over two decades, Project Nanhi Kali has taken more than 350,000 girls from underprivileged families through ten years of schooling, providing them with regular academic and material support. While doing this, they also ensured that the young girls were not married off early, sent to work or kept at home for chores or sibling care. Year after year, hundreds of Nanhi Kalis successfully completed Class 10 and ‘graduated’ from the programme.
However, our interactions with Nanhi Kali alumni indicate that the girls continued to be vulnerable after Class 10, and there was a need to support teenage girls in India beyond secondary education.
Moreover, with a tenth of the global population of adolescent girls, India is home to the largest and youngest workforce in the world today. This critical fact inspired us to invest in them, and in their well-being, education and providing them skills. Not just to make a big difference to them but also to tap into their productivity, economic potential and leadership for the well-being of the nation.
In order to design a programme that meets the needs of young girls, we conducted a survey - the Teen Age Girls Survey (TAG Survey) that reached over 74,000 households across 600 districts in all the 30 states of India. This survey, which was released in October 2018, echoed the voice of teenage girls in India and their biggest needs and aspirations …
- 86.9% want to learn English
- 86.5% want to learn how to use a Computer
- 76.5% wish to pursue Graduation
With this information, we joined hands with Nanhi Kali to make Mahindra Saarthi Abhiyaan even more robust and effective. And now, this 2.0 version will provide teenage girls the opportunity to pursue their dreams of higher education and obtain a university degree along with learning English and Computers. So they can go on to lead independent, dignified lives and contribute to the nation’s growth. Our new programme will start by adopting 500 daughters of Commercial Vehicle Drivers in Hyderabad and Pune and we’re sure it will go from strength to strength.