IIM-A alumnus CK Venkataraman keeps aside half of his pay to educate 1,700 underprivileged girls


For the 54-year-old CK Venkataraman, the contrast between the haves and the have-nots has always been more glaring in India than other countries. The IIM-A alumnus, who hails from Coimbatore, quotes Jared Diamond’s ‘Guns, Germs & Steel’ and argues how fate can make one person more successful than another with the same potential. “It is for this reason that educating and empowering the girl child has been a cause dear to me,” he told ET.

Venkataraman, CEO, jewellery, Titan Company, has always taken only half of his total remuneration home. The rest goes into educating 1,700 underprivileged girls in the backward villages of Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh. Heading the CSR activities in his organisation made him understand various social issues in close quarters three years ago. “It helped me clarify my own thinking on the subject (of reaching out to the larger community) and decide where I should focus,” he said.

A year later, Titan relieved him of CSR responsibilities, but Venkataraman started his own ISR — individual social responsibility. “I want to see all these girls through Std10, so that they not only attain a certain level of literacy but are also confident and employable,” he said.

Venkataraman’s involvement does not end with the cheques he signs. Taking the help of NGOs Nanhi Kali and IIMpact which have a strong presence in UP and MP, he also puts his time and skills to good use.

“I visit Ratlam, Shahjahanpur and the villages around it, where the girls are studying, and spend time with them. I asses the progress they are making and ensure that the organisations in-charge pursue the cause with the same zeal and purpose,” he said. “I also meet the village representatives and talk to them about what more they can do to improve the current system and quality of education provided to these girls.” Readying himself for another such trip to the villages he plans to undertake shortly, Venkataraman — also a cycling enthusiast who cares for around 10 street dogs in his locality with help from neighbours — believes that sparing some money and quality time to make a difference is something anyone can do. “The time and money we spend, say, shopping or having a meal at Indiranagar 100 ft road, we can see a child get past one year of education,” he said.

source :The Economic Times