Who says B-schools only roll out managers who aspire to earn in dollars? SIFE Somaiya Social Cell ascertains that B schools also play a part in making the managers more socially responsible and inculcate a feeling of giving back to the society.
Somaiya Social Cell, a voluntary student body was formed in 2004 by the students of KJ Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research, (also known as Somaiya Institute of Management Studies & Research – SIMSR) under the guidance of the faculty members and the management. It is an initiative to help the less privileged people of society by involving them in various activities/developing their skill sets so as to help them earn their livelihood in a sustainable manner, thus focusing on social entrepreneurship.
Somaiya Social Cell isalso associated with SIFE International thereby giving it the name SIFE Somaiya Social cell. SIFE, Students in Free Enterprise, is an international network of students, academia and business leaders committed to the cause of creating a better and more sustainable world through the positive power of business.
These students work for the betterment of the different sections of society. Some of the major communities reached out to are the Warli tribes in Dahanu village, Thane district. The people of these tribes have a unique gift – a special ‘Warli’ art form that was long forgotten, and yet extensively copied by many. This is where the SIFE Somaiya Social Cell team members come together, to help these communities, by providing a market to their products, thereby ensuring gains for the true value of their exclusive tribal art form.
The students at Somaiya Social Cell, have also worked extensively, towards uplifting the ladies infected with HIV by helping them get trained on various skills like stitching, embroidery, artificial jewellery. The idea is to empower these women with skills that will be their lifelong source of not only sustenance but also development. These training sessions are provided by industry professionals in the respective areas, ably facilitated by the students at SIMSR. This is further promoted to build financial viability for the products developed, with the support of the B-school students in garnering sales for the offerings. This year, this initiative was conducted successfully at the Kala Ghoda Festival giving the products due visibility at the stalls, set up and manned by the SIMSR Social Cell students. Taking it to next level, these products were also exported to the United States by using the student exchange programs and other activities targeting foreign students, as leverage.
Some of the other activities conducted by the Somaiya Social Cell includes imparting basic financial knowledge/skills to vocational trainees, conducting evening classes for construction workers’ kids and Blood Donation/AIDS awareness camps.
The work done by the Somaiya Social Cell has been given a lot of appreciation. Recently, the SIFE Somaiya Social Cell represented the college at SIFE National Championship 2010 and was among the Semi-Finalists. In appreciation and acknowledgment of the work, Social cell has been getting the HSBC Financial Literacy Grant for the last two years as well as the KPMG Ethics Grant for three consecutive years. The faculty advisor Prof. Radha Iyer, who has been consistently guiding and motivating the students in the SIFE Somaiya Social Cell, has been awarded the National SIFE Faculty Advisor Award, 2010.
Touching Hearts…Challenging Destinies…these words are what define the existence of the SIFE Somaiya Social Cell. Thus not only does this encourage the students to give back to society but also helps better integrate the social quotient with the real business ideologies, a lifelong lesson for the future managers, at SIMSR.