In line with Ford Motor Company’s objectives in any location that it operates around the globe, Ford India has a goal to empower communities surrounding its facilities. That’s why The Blue Oval recently launched its first community outreach initiative in the town of Sanand, Gujarat — the location of the second Ford manufacturing facility in India.
The initiative is in line with Ford India’s “vision to improve health, safety and education in communities surrounding its operations”, and the first phase of the plan revolves around making safe drinking water available to approximately 1,500 children between the ages of 3-6 years from 30 courtyard shelters (known in Hindu as anganwadis) across 18 villages in Sanand. To implement the plan, Ford India has partnered with Ahmedabad-based NGO Saath Charitable Trust, which aims to expand its own presence to eventually cover children across 70 villages.
“Henry Ford envisioned creating a Better World, together with building a strong business and designing products that people want and desire,” said Kel Kearns, Director – Manufacturing, Sanand Vehicle Assembly & Engine Plant, Ford India, at the launch of the project. “At Ford India, our people are equally passionate to work towards the betterment of the communities and engage with them. Our first community outreach in Sanand is no different and aims to enable a positive change and sustainable development towards children in the neighboring villages around the upcoming manufacturing facility.”
The integrated services of Saath Charitable Trust reach over 400,000 individuals from disadvantaged communities in India’s states of Gujarat and Rajasthan. The organization provides services including basic education, health, and nutrition to support uneducated, underprivileged, and poor children between 3-6 years old. Today, it operates in 7 pre-schools that reach out to more than 245 children every year.
“As part of the field research with Saath Charitable Trust, we realized that access to safe drinking water was a significant gap, resulting in various water-borne diseases, especially amongst children”, Kearns added. “This project will thus help us address a basic need.”
“We are extremely happy to partner with Ford for this project, to enable access to pure drinking water for children”, said Shyam Prakash Singh, Program Coordinator, Saath Charitable Trust. “Saath envisions inclusive communities with empowered individuals. We will ensure that the project is sustainable and work towards enhancing it over a period of time, to impact more people”.