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Just say the Word and Excel: Macquarie volunteers lead computer workshops

28 Nov 2016

A collaboration between Macquarie offices in India has seen both financial support and hands-on volunteering make a difference for students at the Gurgaon-based social impact organisation Agrasar.

The non-profit offers skills training and support to enhance the employability for unemployed or underemployed migrants living in Gurgaon, an emerging business hub just outside Delhi, and facilitates their placement into paid work. Students’ backgrounds are diverse, including children of migrants from other parts of India, local youth who did not complete school and older people who want to develop their skills to access new jobs.

With Macquarie’s Mumbai office providing funding for Agrasar’s programs, it was also thought that Gurgaon staff could complement this support through face-to-face training as they are located only 20 minutes from Agrasar’s centre.

Macquarie Gurgaon employee Priya Arora Mukerji thus helped coordinate two, three-hour workshops at Agrasar, with six Macquarie employees volunteering to teach 40 students aspects of Excel and Word that had not previously been included in the Agrasar curriculum due to focus elsewhere.

“When we had an opportunity to visit Agrasar earlier this year to find out more about how the funds were being used and understand their work and set up, it was the opportunities around computer education that caught our attention immediately,” Priya said.

“Macquarie’s Foundation Week campaign tagline this year of ‘give differently’ also helped trigger the conversation around how we could assist beyond financial support.”

The five volunteers for Excel and one for Word ensured that each group of students they taught received consistent training, no matter which volunteer was assigned, by planning in detail what they would cover beforehand. This preparation paid off in positive student feedback, which included comments such as "Class was superb,” "I also want to work in a company like ma'am and help children like myself grow," and “This learning will help me in my job".

Shefali Bhola, one of the volunteers who helped draft the workshop outline, said it was her first time organising such an event and she found it very inspiring.

“The teaching was not just one-way – the students told us things we didn’t know either,” she said.

“They were so willing and enthusiastic to learn, their eagerness to participate made it a very enriching and fulfilling experience for us as volunteers too.”

Priya said the Gurgaon staff community committee was keen to continue the workshops and is thinking of other ways to contribute.

Image caption: Macquarie volunteers leading Excel and Word workshops proved a hit with students at Gurgaon non-profit Agrasar.