Newsletter June 2020, Issue 1 - Volume 1
MESSAGE FROM CHIEF SERVANT WE THE LEADERS FOUNDATION
Dear Friends, My greetings to you and your family. I’m sure you are keeping yourselves safe during these COVID times. Times like these are unique in human history and we can only wait for it to pass and take care of the needy among us. Our foundation, inaugurated on March 14th , 2020 kept its activities suspended till the third week of May, 2020, pursuant to local government guidelines. We have become active now with our field activities in Karur, Tamil Nadu. We are also very happy to let you know about our projects that have just started in the ground.
Our foundation has got into a tie up with 24.ai’s CSR arm to skill our students and to help them to find better placements post their graduation. We have done MOUs with three engineering and three arts colleges in Karur and will be offering their communication and behavioral training modules. This project aptly titled ‘Project Sunrise’ should do wonders to the confidence of students of Karur. Our volunteers are also in the process of mobilizing farmers to develop a Farmer Producing Organization (FPO). The initial meetings are very encouraging and we should achieve some success in a month from now.
Our foundation, which is in its nascent stages, needs volunteers to become active in making sure we rise up to the challenges. Managing our social media feeds and keeping our presence in the online world needs a set of volunteers who are willing to give their time online. Project Sunrise and FPOs also needs volunteers who can work at the grass roots level to manage it in Karur district. We also need more volunteers to work at the grass roots level in Coimbatore to where we will be expanding in August 2020. So, interested volunteers can kindly mail us to firstname.lastname@example.org. As promised, we will expand to Karnataka once we get a foot hold in Tamil Nadu and our projects gain some traction here. Till then I request your patience and contribution online rather than in the field.
Looking forward to meet you soon and till then keep yourselves safe. With Regards, K. Annamalai
1. PROJECT SUNRISE
The youths are our greatest assets and future nation builders. The greatest strength of our country is the availability of youth in large numbers and thereby offering us the Demographic Dividend. Our greatest strength is also our biggest weakness. The dichotomy of having a large young workforce and yet our industries struggling to find suitable talent is much too obvious. This lacuna stretches across skill and education domains. It could be our biggest challenge yet in 2020. It’s a common knowledge that there is huge gap between the industry expectations of the skillset required for a job and the readiness of a typical student post their graduation. As per research estimates, employability is a bigger problem than unemployment in India. 90 % of what we teach at our academic institutes is knowledge, whereas 90 % of jobs today require skills. To add to this 58 % of India’s youth face some form of skill deprivation. In fact even the ones that get employed are hired on salaries far lower than what their scale should be. The sad part is when 45 % of post graduates today make less than INR 10,000 per month.
We The Leaders (WTL) has partnered with “7.ai” India’s leading technology company to solve this problem. Through our “Project SUNRISE” we intend to provide students with an opportunity to learn industry-oriented communication and behavioral skills, which comprise of deep integration modules and this is in tune with the industry needs. A certification of being job-ready along with a regular course degree enables the students to hit the ground running on the first day of their job. This program is being offered to Engineering and Bachelor of Arts students pursuing their final and pre-final year of under-graduation program and we work towards mobilizing, training, employing and hence empowering them with a chance for a brighter future.
WTLF Volunteers SUNRISE Team - Mr Sengodan, Mr Prabakaran, Mrs Nallathai, Mrs Sharmila, & Mr Krishnamohan Technology Team - Mr Venk Sitaraman, Mr Shankhar Chinnathambi, & Mrs Saranya Anandan
KARUR 2. FARMERS PRODUCING ORGANIZATION (FPO) IN KARUR:
Introduction to FPO: Aggregating producers into collectives is universally accepted as one of the most effective means of reducing the risk in agriculture and improving the access for small and marginal producers to investments, technology and markets. Several thousand Farmer Producer Organisations (FPOs) exist across the country, registered under various statutes such as the Cooperative Laws, Trusts, and Federations and lately under the Companies Act as Producer Companies. However, the vast majority of FPOs continue to struggle to establish viable and sustainable business models and achieve significant revenues and returns to their members.
Who owns the FPO? The ownership of the FPO is with its members. It is an organization of the producers, by the producers and for the producers. One or more institutions and/or individuals may have promoted the FPO by way of assisting in mobilization, registration, business planning and operations. However, ownership control is always with members and management is through the representatives of the members.
WTL is in the process of facilitating the creation of a FPO for drumstick producing farmers. The preliminary meeting with the farmers have gone well and we are in the process of organising a farmers collective in the first week of July.
Why an FPO for Drum Stick is required in Karur: Drumstick is grown on more than 40,000 acres of land both as garden crop and field crop in Karur - Aravakurichi belt. The major drumstick producing areas include Tadakoil, Venjamangudalur, Santhapadi, Esanatham, Ammapatti, Koththapalayam, and 20 other villages from where around 20 to 30 truckloads of drumstick are despatched to various destinations every day. Traders from Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Delhi, Madhya Pradesh, and West Bengal come down to Aravakurichi and nearby areas routinely to buy moringa in lots at the special shandies that would come up on the roadsides. Moringa is a hardy plant that thrives in the water-deprived and rocky soil of Karur district. Its long and slender pods, also known as drumstick, are storehouse of nutrients and a common part of the daily diet in southern India. The leaf (murunga keerai in Tamil), is also valued for its medicinal qualities. There are days when a kilo of moringa can fetch ₹100. When there’s an oversupply, one gets only 40 paise per kilo. To cushion the price vagaries and to give the local farmers an assured return, FPOs could be a vehicle of choice. (Data Source: The Hindu) We The Leaders Team