Pratt & Whitney's philanthropic efforts in India were celebrated in July after many months of hard work. The company and its supplier partners inaugurated the expansion of a girls dormitory in cooperation with the Kasturba Gandhi National Memorial Trust (KGNMT) in Hyderabad, India as well as 10 e-learning centers across public schools in Bengaluru. Mahesh Patel, manager, Global Engineering Sourcing and Bharat Maharaj, manager, Engineering, two P&W employees who both played enormous roles in the success of the projects, proudly attended the events.
Patel first became involved in community outreach efforts in India just over 10 years ago while working on a project in Hyderabad. His efforts began with Project Krushi, an initiative in a local village that provides boys from difficult circumstances with a safe living environment. He immediately committed his personal assistance after his visit to the home where he witnessed heart-wrenching living conditions. Patel soon, however, realized that the task called for more help than he and his wife could provide.
"There were approximately 20 young boys living in a room the size of my office," Patel said while outstretching his arms as if to encompass his small office. "The number grew by six or seven when I returned next. I knew it was time to seek help from a larger backing, so I presented the idea to Pratt & Whitney and quickly received assistance that helped build a proper facility for the children."
Maharaj joined the company's philanthropic effort shortly after Patel relocated back to the U.S. As the two witnessed immense success with the boys of Project Krushi, they soon sought a way to benefit young girls from similar circumstances. And, KGNMT served as the perfect opportunity to do so.
The two began by working with volunteers from the Hyderabad and University of Connecticut chapters of Engineers Without Borders to plan renovations to the Krushi home and KGNMT facilities that enabled proper accommodation for more children. As a higher volume of children took up residency at each facility, local volunteers realized that it was not enough to simply house the children – they deserved an education as well.
"A lot of the children did not know what was beyond the facility walls," said Maharaj. "It was up to us to help educate them. So we constructed e-learning centers, technology-equipped classrooms that would specialize in teaching math and science."
While the construction of the KGNMT facility is still fairly recent, inaugurated in 2014, its positive impact is already being seen particularly in the academic performance of the children. And, the established Krushi home has clearly empowered its residents; some of its young men have become engineers, pharmacists and even entrepreneurs whom solely hire Krushi children. The gratitude amongst these children is immense.
"Some children were crying tears of joy at the inauguration of the KGNMT dining facility," Maharaj said. "They're simply so grateful to have basic opportunities, like a clean room to eat in, that they would not have otherwise."
Since 2004, Pratt & Whitney has made annual contributions to Project Krushi that now total more than $186,000 USD, including this year's contribution of $19,000 USD. Additionally, UTC, Pratt & Whitney and its supplier partners contributed more than $55,000 USD for a new kitchen and dining hall with environmentally-friendly facilities for girls at KGNMT and more than $53,000 USD for the set-up of the e-learning centers in Bengaluru.