The Jawahar Foundation, an initiative by Riju Jhunjhunwala, renowned patron and businessman from LNJ Bhilwara Group, is working to bring about changes in the lives of people. The foundation which is an NGO and primarily operates in Ajmer, Banswara, Bhilwara and Jaipur, Rajasthan, working towards providing support and sustainable solutions to the people.
Operating since October 2019, Jawahar foundation claims to have carried out more than 200 programs ever since. The Foundation is undertaking short to medium term projects that bring immediate impact over different verticals like, healthcare, education, water & environment, food security and employment generation.
Businessfortnight.com in an email interview discussed more about its founder Riju Jhunjhunwala and the Foundation’s present future programmes.
Here are the excerpts-
How was Jawahar Foundation established? Please elaborate on the idea behind its inception.
I always wanted to do something for the welfare of the people of my country. I had contested Ajmer elections in 2019 to particularly centre my efforts in Rajasthan, which is also my janmabhoomi. I lost the elections, but I did not want my promises proven hollow. Despite all odds, I laid out a plan and put together a team for starting Jawahar Foundation. We embarked on this journey to empower and support the people of Ajmer and give them the life they deserve. But soon enough, we spread to other parts of the state.
What are the areas that the foundation focuses on?
Jawahar foundation is committed to helping people experience a better quality of life. We are making constant efforts every day towards our five key missions namely health and sanitization, food security, education, employability, and environment and water conservation.
Today, there are three major projects running in the state.
During the pandemic, we fought tooth and nail against the virus, whether it was organising testing drives or donating oxygen beds or even donating oxygen pipelines and concentrators. We mostly worked in the remote areas since they are often left untouched. We empowered women of the area by opening skill development centres.
Addressing the food inaccessibility in the state, we started the Swabhiman Bhoj program and established community kitchens to provide affordable and nutritious foods to the people in just Re 1. In the coming days, we aim to cover more areas and help more people in need.
Operational in Jaipur, Ajmer, Bhilwara, and Banswara, Swabhiman Bhoj program is a series of community kitchens serving nutritious and fresh meals for just one rupee per person every day. To date, the program has served 3,00,000+ meals.
We are striving to expand to 10 centres by the end of this year.
Two water purification plants in Banera (Bhilwara) and Sursura (Ajmer) are providing clean and safe drinking water. These Water ATMs are 24×7 operational, and one can simply swipe the smart card issued and fill up any amount of pure water at all hours.
The digital literacy program is working with the youth, especially government school students between 12 to 20 years of age to impart functional knowledge of computers and mobile applications to make them cyber-savvy. Currently, we are running a short-term certificate course educating on digital transactions, Microsoft office fundamentals, internet browsing and typing skills to uplift the less privileged. The litmus test is passing an online examination after which they get certified by LinkedIn. The program has benefitted 8500+ students with a 3:2 male to female ratio. The program has resulted in a 23% increase in attendance at government schools.
How is Jawahar Foundation empowering women in Rajasthan for a brighter future?
Empowering the women of Rajasthan is the foremost objective of our foundation. To help them become independent and confident, our foundation has been running the program, Swabhiman Shiksha with five computer centres in Ajmer and another one in Bhilwara. The aim of this initiative is to provide computer literacy, which is a basic requirement to become employable in this technology driven era. We are proud to say that more than 8,500 students are enrolled in our centres with 40% female population. Looking at its immense success, we aim to open more such centres in other parts of Ajmer and Bhilwara districts.
Through other skill development centres, the foundation also helps women upskill and polish their existing skills to get better employment opportunities and earn more money. We have set up several skill developments centres to upskill the women of Ajmer and Bhilwara.
What are the goals that the foundation wants to achieve in the next 5 years?
We aim to expand our programs and reach remote areas of Rajasthan to help more people in need. We are also planning to expand to other states of the country. By 2025, we are striving to scale the Swabhiman Bhoj program to a series of 30 community kitchens across Rajasthan. Through this initiative, we aim to serve 1 crore fresh and wholesome meals to aid in overcoming the hunger crisis and child wasting issue in India.
Our other programs such as Swabhiman Jal, providing easy access to safe drinking water along with Swabhiman Shiksha, providing digital literacy education to the youth are all aimed at supporting the people to live a more comfortable life. Our prime mission is to support the fundamental requirements of people so they can work and think better. This will result in overall growth and development of the state.