CSR agenda in national affairs

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR); philanthropic or social work; caring and sharing for the impoverished, looming in the lifestyles of the opulent and upper strata and prevalent in the policies of national and multinational organizations are such customary notions commonly called alms or charity, grants or loans, financial aid or assistance for the disadvantaged.
Imagine the less privileged of our schools, colleges and universities across Pakistan. Think about the toiling street vendors be it Sindh, Balochistan, Punjab and the KP. Look at exhausted road cobblers, labourers, car cleaners, cart pushers, street charmers, rickshaw drivers, what to talk of myriad beggars. See exploited office peons and lower staff, domestic servants, malis, chowkidars and drivers.
What is important is the sense of responsibility of the “haves” for the “have not’s” in helping the latter out in personal, social and financial crises. But what is vital is to carve out and act upon a pertinent and practical strategy in inculcating a life-changing spirit of self-reliance and self-confidence enabling our countless poor and pitiable to stand on their own feet towards a better and brighter society.
If CSR just focuses on temporary relief in cash or kind for the poor, it may lead to crippling dependence from customary begging to current practices of financial aid. It is ironical for CSR to neglect the vital factor of autarky in caring for the less privileged. What is needed is monetary and social relief blended with a strong and long lasting training in self-assurance and pertinent skills.
Among exemplary CSR initiatives is IoBM, being the first private university in Sindh to launch Four Year Fully Funded Engineering Education, leading to Degree of Bachelor of Electrical Engineering and Bachelor of Industrial Engineering for deserving and meritorious students from less-privileged areas of Sindh inculcating in them self-reliance and enabling them to stand on their own feet with grace, dignity and honour.
It is a twin strategy that CSR in national and multinational organizations need to incorporate in letter and spirit by addressing, on the one hand, the urgent situation needs of the less-privileged, and on the other, initiating a training and development program for them in enhancing their job oriented skills and helping to replace crippling dependence with self-assurance towards a better and brighter future.
Parvez Jamil
Karachi

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