We have developed a wide range of ecosystem initiatives towards improving the quality of life of people belonging to the Economically Weaker Sections (EWS) and Low Income Groups (LIG). These initiatives are carried out through Equitas Development Initiatives Trust (EDIT). At ESFB, we have identified three areas (Health, Education and Employment), which affect the society, and in turn may affect the business in the long term. In addition to carrying out direct CSR activities, we contribute up to 5% of our net profit every year to EDIT.
To contribute to a healthy society
The quality of health has adverse impact on this segment as it can result in loss of income, especially for daily wage and small business earners. These shocks cause a severe deterioration of household income, pushing them into a vicious debt trap.
To provide holistic education at affordable cost
High-quality affordable education for a society that has high aspirations for their children is a crucial for their elevation from poverty. At Equitas, we realise this power of education and its strong link to improvement in household income and consumption.
To create income generation opportunities
Access to employment for the youth in rural and semiurban geographies is hard to come by and families prefer the youth to take up employment in the formal sector as it provides stability to household income that is predominantly agrarian.
Our social activities designed to support people from the low income and underprivileged communities continue to deliver value and improve the livelihood of the society that we operate in. We are confident that such initiatives over the long term will reduce business risks that arises from the inherent vulnerability of such societies among all participants in the ecosystem.
EDIT Impact Snapshot
Swasth Mahila Health Education
Equitas Birds Nest [Pavement Dwellers Rehabilitation programme]
Total CSR beneficiaries
Education is a key lever to enable upward social mobility for low-income Self-Help Group (SHG) members’ children. Equitas has rolled out its Gurukul initiatives to ‘empower children from low-income households, through high-quality education at affordable cost’. EDIT is currently running seven such schools at Trichy, Dindigul, Salem, Karur, Cuddalore, Coimbatore and Kumbakonam with more than 6,000 students. More such schools are being planned for the future. About 98% of Gurukul students are from Backward Class, Most Backward Class and Scheduled Caste categories and about 80% of Gurukul parents are from Economically Weaker Sections.
Equitas has imparted training to more than 5,49,953 SHG women members in skills such as tailoring and embroidery, agarbathi and candle making, detergent and phenyl manufacturing, and preparing processed foods such as pickles and jams.
These training programmes are structured as week-long programmes and have helped improve the income of the beneficiaries. Studies reveal that 52% of the trained members earn additional supplemental income in the range of `500 to `2,000 per month.
Equitas Birds Nest
This programme was started in 2010 for the rehabilitation of pavement dwellers in Chennai. Under this programme, the Trust pays the rent on their behalf for 6 months during which they are taught livelihood skills and linked to local markets. From the seventh month, they are required to make the rent payment by themselves. These families have attained self-sustenance status through this intervention. Many people have received Voter ID cards and have applied for ration cards for the first time in their lives.
In another proactive step, Equitas facilitates conduct of job fairs for unemployed youth of low‑income communities, with the help of recruiters and employers. Till date, gainful employment for over 1,87,087 youth has been arranged in companies and retail outlets like textile showrooms, malls, hospitals, BPOs etc.
Health care services
Equitas understands that access to affordable healthcare is of paramount importance.
Health Education for Healthy Living: A team of 500 women skill trainers have been trained with technical support from ‘Freedom from Hunger’ to impart health education to members which would help in early detection of non-communicable diseases. The training was imparted to over 2.68 lakhs women cumulatively.
Medical Camps: Through a tie up with about 900 hospitals spread across seven states, Equitas conducts nearly ~400 medical camps every month, benefiting ~50,000 people every month. Cumulatively ~6.10 million people have benefited so far under this programme.
Equitas Sugam Clinics
EDIT runs two evening clinics for the benefit of Economically Weaker Sections and other low‑income households who seek medical help after they come back home in the evening after the day’s work. Doctors offer quality consultation at a reasonable cost and health history of patients is tracked. The health educator follows up with a health education programme.
Primary Healthcare: We have conducted free primary healthcare medical camps, benefiting cumulatively 61,07,985 members so far.
Secondary: We also tied up with a large number of hospitals to help our clients get inpatient treatment for serious illnesses at a discount to normal cost. This initiative has benefited 32,056 members so far.