INDIA: SUPPORTING ORPHANED CHILDREN
The SNCF Foundation India was created at the beginning of this year to support solidarity initiatives implemented by Keolis as part of the subsidiary’s development of urban transport solutions in India.
Some alarming statistics
Keolis has been operating Hyderabad’s automated metro system since 2017. Eric Moinier, Director of Keolis Hyderabad, states: “One million migrants are working on more than 300 construction sites across the city, 200,000 of those migrants are children”. Indeed, in India more than 50 million migrants live in extreme poverty; 15% of them are children. To support the neediest in Indian society, all companies in the country making above a certain level of profit are required to contribute at least 3% of this profit to corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities via registered NGOs. SNCF and Keolis have therefore created their own Public Charitable Trust − ‘SNCF Foundation India’ − to provide financial support to Indian NGOs.
Solutions tailored to local needs
The Foundation’s first major project in Hyderabad concerns the funding of five shelters for young migrants. The facilities are managed by ‘Aide et Action’, an NGO that promotes access to education in more than 20 countries, including India. Eric Moinier visited the Aparna Hill Park Shelter: “700 people live in this shelter, Aide et Action supports 120 families and cares for 30 to 40 children”. The association organises developmental play for infants and supports 3 to 6-year-olds with reading, writing and arithmetic, as well as helping them to learn English and the regional dialect. In 2018, more than 400 children were cared for in the five centres. SNCF Foundation India currently supports two NGOs: Pawmencap, an association that helps mentally handicapped children to become more independent; and Agape, an NGO that cares for HIV-positive children.
The first initiatives of the Foundation have naturally been transport-related, with the support of its local subsidiary partner Keolis Hyderabad. This has seen the funding of a minivan for both of these NGOs, so that children can travel safely to a range of locations and activities, including school, hospital and educational outings.
Many more projects are set to follow. “The SNCF Foundation India is in it for the long run, there are so many ways it can help. We have our work cut out for the next 10 years!” declared Eric Moinier. During a visit to India at the beginning of this year, Guillaume Pepy, President of the SNCF, described the partnership as ‘’truly useful”. Mr Pepy also underlined the importance of building strong links with local communities and implementing long-term actions to support underprivileged populations in countries where SNCF is carrying out major projects. The solidarity initiatives implemented by the Group in India are an example to follow.