Hyderabad: Over the last 10 years, the Hyderabad chapter of United Way has made significant progress by serving a wide range of causes, mobilising over Rs 170 crores, transforming lives of over 1.35 million people. The organisation is keen on bringing 6.5 lakh people working in Hyderabad’s IT industry into volunteering by creating a broad platform in 2021.
Partnering with over 65 corporate houses and other donors, United Way of Hyderabad (UWH) has executed over 80 projects through 132 NGOs. The honorary Board of United Way of Hyderabad comprises a versatile group of senior leaders, individuals from various professions and industries.
The focus primarily has been on education, livelihood, healthcare and environment. There are also efforts in the areas of disaster response and management through financial and non-financial support.
Ramesh Kaza, chairperson, United Way of Hyderabad, told Telangana Today, “Partnerships have remained the core base for UWH’s activity. For instance, Wells Fargo wanted to support environment initiatives such as rejuvenation of lakes. We took up rejuvenation of a lake near Wells Fargo office with the help of GHMC. We later took up rejuvenation of two more lakes in the city.”
“We are also approaching donors to work on other environmental areas such as addressing single-use plastic, usage of water, recycling of water and rainwater harvesting. We are encouraging donors to look at multiple sectors for support. United Way has also encouraged corporates to adopt electric vehicles and help reduce vehicular pollution in the IT corridor while providing employee transportation. There can be efforts in e-waste management as well,” he added.
Collaborations at core
All the city chapters of United Way India also collaborate, share projects and practices among them. For instance, companies such as Deloitte, which has operations across India carries out deep and matured projects in different cities with United Way as the common platform across the cities. All the seven chapters of United Way had also been working together in ‘Wake the Lake’ initiative and enabling learning for children.
Efforts are also made to take the benefits of the initiatives of United Way of Hyderabad to districts and small towns of Telangana, wherever there is support of donors. “We are also working on extending digital platforms to schools and colleges to connect volunteers to enable education and training,” added Kaza.
Chitra Sood, director, Board of United Way of Hyderabad, said, “UWH is bringing all the NGOs from grassroots and volunteers on to a common platform and providing means to understanding the issues and causes that need support and presenting them to people who want to make a difference in the community development. The initiative goes beyond the contribution of money to creating a holistic umbrella for organisations and individuals to solve problems.”
She added, UWH helps organisations with actionable plans once they identify a sector they want to contribute. The team helps in bringing the programmes to life as well as structure the activities to achieve desired goals.
In the education sector, initiatives such as school transformation, science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) interventions in 181 government schools in Hyderabad, upgrading STEM skills of over 33,000 children, early childhood education and education for differently abled have been taken. “We have made direct interventions into addressing school dropouts particularly for girls. Then UWH has also worked on school infrastructure and administration to make education conducive for children,” she added.
In the healthcare sector, the organisation has mobilised Rs 9 crore through IT4TS programme, upgrading the State’s health facilities in testing and treating 4 lakh people for Covid-19, nutrition and sanitation supplies distributed to 4.5 lakh people during lockdown, besides supporting 20 children shelter homes and 23 elderly homes in Hyderabad.
Chitra said, Covid gave rise to challenges and UWH was able to mobilise funds, collect information on critical infrastructure needs and help the State government in treating people.
In terms of livelihood, over 2,500 women had been upskilled and placed on jobs. UWH also runs a skilling centre in Bahadurpura. On the environment front, so far Khajaguda, Barlakunta and Ranganakunta lakes have been restored benefiting 50,000 people directly. Over 10,000 saplings have also been planted in the Miyawaki method.