IMT Ghaziabad (IMTG), India’s premier management school with a distinct focus on grooming leadership through Innovation, Execution, and Social Responsibility, marked the 4th edition of the I’M The Change Talk, an integral part its Sustainability and Social Responsibility (SSR) initiative ‘I’m The Change’, on December 23, 2017 with an inspiring session by Padma Shri Geeta Dharmarajan, founder of ‘Katha’, an inspirational storyteller, writer, publisher, educationalist, and community organiser.

The Talk was conducted alongside the ongoing 2nd Chapter of the 3-Credit experiential learning course – SSR- under the aegis of internationally acclaimed I’M The Change Initiative, unveiled in October 2016, on the eve of Gandhi Jayanthi.  Inspired by the eternal teaching of Mahatma Gandhi Ji, “Be the change you want to see in the world”, the primary objectives of the SSR course is to expose students to situations that allow them to observe how people live, especially the underprivileged, and enable students to experience the ‘joy of contribution’ through hands-on execution of live social projects with underprivileged communities.

Setting the tone of the event, Dr Kasturi Das, Faculty-in-Charge, Sustainability & Social Responsibility at IMTG took the audience through the journey of the SSR course which in its first year has been able to touch, even if in a modest way, the lives of an estimated 5, 231 people belonging to the bottom strata of the population all across Delhi-NCR. She added the current chapter of SSR is working on a total of 91 social projects spread all across Delhi-NCR in partnership with 13 NGO partners and the Ghaziabad District Magistrate’s Office.  Each of the 91 social projects is aligned with one or more Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) of the United Nations, and covered a whole range of areas including education; soft skills development; Life Skills Education through games and play; women empowerment; sustainable livelihood generation; generating awareness about child sexual abuse, disaster risk reduction; waste management; welfare of old and destitute; welfare of special people, environmental sustainability, social entrepreneurship, among others, she added. A few projects are also aligned to some of the flagship initiatives of the Government of India such as Swachh Bharat Mission; Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDU-GKY); Pradhan Mantri Jan-Dhan Yojana; Skill India etc., said Dr Das.

Ms Geeta Dharmarajan in her address applauded IMTG’s efforts in recognising the proverbial “Elephant in the Room” – the social and development challenges confronting the country - and taking constructive measures on this front by incorporating social responsibility and sustainability in the course curriculum. She also expressed her delight on the spirit of ‘change’ that has percolated amongst the students of IMTG, who are going to be the future leaders. While highlighting the unparalleled initiatives in the education domain undertaken by ‘Katha’, she emphasised on inculcating the joy of learning amongst children. She categorically said that merely making children able to read and write, without being adept at understanding the meaning of the text, is not learning. She further expressed her candid views on understanding the missing links while recognising and accommodating the diversity in our culture, as that would be the key to put values in the context.

On the sidelines of the event, Director, IMT Ghaziabad, Dr Atish Chattopadhyay, said that “Social Responsibility in one of the three important pillars that constitute the philosophy of the institute; other two being, innovation and execution. Management education, at large, in India, until now, has majorly remained glued to grooming managers for the corporate sector, who just look for generating profits; we at IMT Ghaziabad groom future leaders who look for revenue generation while balancing the social realities into context. The course structure, thus, aligns with our overall pedagogical philosophy of ‘doing’ leading to ‘knowing’. It comprises societal immersion for students wherein they work along with community-based organisations and local authorities, and undertake societal projects; thereby, learning the nuances of multiple societal challenges while directly working with the concerned communities.”

I'M The Change within a year of its commencement has brought laurels to the Institute by winning accolades and awards across various forums. In August 2017, IMTG bagged the Gold Award at 'IMC Award for Excellence in Management Education 2017' held at IIM Lucknow for its SSR initiative under the category ‘Developing a Future-ready Curriculum’. Earlier in July 2017, I’M The Change received accolades at the United Nations’ 2017 Global Forum for Responsible Management Education, which was held in conjunction with the UN Political Forum on Sustainable Development, in New York City, USA.  A compilation of short narratives on ten most impactful social projects undertaken by the IMTG students has also been launched recently by IMTG, titled "I'M The Change...Parables from a Developing World", compiled, narrated and edited by Dr Kasturi Das. The event was hosted by the Community Outreach & Social Projects (COSP) Committee, the nodal committee for SSR wherein IMTG students are actively involved in coordination of the SSR course under the guidance of the Faculty-in-Charge.  

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