CSR Workshop & Panel Discussion

Interview with Harsha Mukherjee, Founder of Ekjaa Foundation

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The youth of today are more aware of the outside world than what we were: Harsha Mukherjee, Founder Ekjaa Foundation

Harsha MukherjeeHarsha Mukherjee has completed her schooling and graduation from Mumbai in 2006 then she went on for MS to pursue her interest in Computer Science. It was during her MS that she discovered her passion for entrepreneurship while helping her friend to set up and run a venture dealing with Pashimnas and Jewellery in US.

She has been active in the entrepreneurial domain and has also completed her MBA from ICFAI university to further nurture her business skills. She is also very active in Social Welfare activities and has a global work experience and enjoys exploring diverse things ranging from learning about different cultures to analyzing economies to discussing international politics.

At Ekjaa, she works from the grass root level by networking with NGOs and various financial institutions, corporate, educational institutions to get things done at tactical level to taking strategic decisions and believes in working from bottom to top approach. A person with a vision and zeal to lead and manage Harsha Mukherjee based in Hyderabad shares about her project Ekjaa Foundation with INDIACSR.

What is vision of Ekjaa Foundation?

Making every individual contribute to the growth of the country and society at a large scale and thereby make every person live with self-dignity and pride.

What kind of services you launched?

Ekjaa provides Fund raising services, Fund monitoring and Humanitarian Support wherever possible.

In your point of view what is the emerging trends in funding?

CSRs of various companies are innovating different methods to raise funds. For example, they conduct in house competitions and games and give the proceeds for various causes. They conduct NGO melas in which all the NGOs registered with them showcase their causes, some of them sell of products whereas the NGOs working for children conduct programs and allow the children to show their talents.

Could you share about Crowd Funding Model in India

Crowd Funding  via offline is new to India whereby, people across the nation donate in Kind for example Joy of Giving week campaign. Crowd Funding via online has been prevalent through Give India and Range model since couple of years. Products of various companies and also in the entertainment sector minimal amount such as Rupee.1 or so is donated to causes on buying the products or tickets of a movie. Painters and photographers have started selling their art  for causes at a much higher rate.  India is accepting innovative modes of fundraising gradually with the increasing competition in the NPO sector.

Explain about Ekjaa

Ekjaa gives me a reason to live, so does it to its team. We all do our bit for the society by utilizing our talents for the betterment of the society. I should mention the today’s generation is more aware about the surroundings and are more than willing to give a helping hand for the upliftment of our society. In India, there are very few platforms which raise funds. The uniqueness of Ekjaa is that it doesn’t only concentrates on one part of the society ie. NGOs but also MFIs which empower people living BPL. Thus Ekjaa works for various causes as well as empower the people who have the ability to work and earn their livilihood.

In our donate model, we take up projects whereby donation is essential in order to survive, for example, educating differently abled children or supporting old age home. In these cases they cannot take money on loan and survive and we introduce that difference through our 2 different models. In the lend model, the people are physically and mentally fit enough to earn their living and just require a capital/financial boost for starting their lives or working towards making it better. Ekjaa is the only organization in the world to introduce this distinction through its work.

Moreover, Ekjaa performs Social Monitoring with the help of youth. Social monitoring is divided into pre-disbursal and post-disbursal whereby our volunteers check the genuineous of the organization we have collaborated with. We also try and provide Humanitarian support through volunteers who register with us and are looking for to collaborate with other organization who provide volunteers. Human logistics is a very important aspect of Ekjaa.

Why you have chosen social work as career?

There are few people who take it up as career when the need, requirement and demand in this sector is wide. The work in this sector is more satisfying and gives you a higher reason to live. Also the trend is changing since more  people are leaving their corporate jobs to join NPO sector. There are people who have started considering social work as a job by joining NPO sector since the packages in this industry has also got competent to the corporate sector.

As a young social entrepreneur how you visualize CSR in India?

Corporate Social Responsibility includes various aspects and starts from inside out of every company. It involves taking care of their employees by providing healthy, workable conditions to work, providing them with other benefits like educating their children or training them, pension benefits et al, these all initiatives are to be taken inside the organization. Outside the organization in India, usually they  fulfill CSR initiatives  by doing philanthropic activities  or taking active part in NGO related activities too. The corporates have been doing their part for the society since an age before CSR term was coined. After the term is introduced, many of the companies are taking it seriously and also setting up seperate CSR departments to undertake the activities. The meaning and impact of CSR is maturing everyday by Indian companies.

What is your view on role of youth in development?

The youth of today are more aware of the outside world than what we were. We can see it with the support Anna Hazare got recently for protesting against corruption in India and many other recent social events. Even though, they are aware about the ongoings of the current world scenario, they need to be more enlightened about the NPO sector and we need to guide them how and what all are the ways they can actively participate in social welfare activities of the country in a positive way.

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Posted by on Jul 14 2011. Filed under CSR Interviews. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Both comments and pings are currently closed.

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