Unilever Sri Lanka has embarked on the ninth year of its annual ‘Learning to Make a Difference’ initiative, designed to convert every employee manhour - spent on self- e-learning - to Rupees, to support the schoolchildren of its Saubhagya entrepreneurs. The funds collected are used to provide essential school supplies to aid the children in their education.
Saubhagya is one of the oldest government - private sector partnerships, operating in collaboration with the Samurdhi Authority of Sri Lanka. It helps rural women earn a sustainable livelihood by becoming direct-to-home ambassadors of Unilever products. Launched in 2003 with five brave women, the programme now engages with 5,000 Saubhagya entrepreneurs today.
‘Learning to Make a Difference’ has positively impacted the lives of over 7,000 schoolchildren since 2013, nourishing their learning ambitions. Among other things, each sponsored child receives a schoolbag, notebooks, colour pencils, pencil cases, mathematical instruments for geometry, and so on. In 2021, Unilever’s wellbeing team also contributed by converting their fitness hours towards this donation.
Said Ananya Sabharwal, HR Director of Unilever Sri Lanka, “We believe that the most meaningful way to learn, is to help others learn. Many of our employees shared with me that they took the time to engage in our e-learning courses knowing that it would make a difference in the life of a child. That is the power of purposeful learning which we have unlocked with our employees. Our ‘As you learn, they learn’ mindset has also given us the opportunity to invest in our own self-learning, digital and growth journey to sharpen our knowledge, skills and become more future-fit”.
To unlock the donation, employees are required to complete any number of courses that contribute to their individual and business growth on Unilever’s e-learning platforms. This is also based on the company’s global goal to ‘Reskill or upskill employees with future-fit skills by 2025’, a target which Unilever Sri Lanka hopes to accomplish sooner.
The Unilever Saubhagya programme also awards scholarships to the extended families of active Saubhagya entrepreneurs, who have excelled in diverse academic milestones such as Grade 5 scholarships, GCE O/L or A/L examinations. The programme also identifies students who display exceptional talents in arts and sports. Saubhagya so far has awarded 680 scholarships out of which, over 200 children have succeeded in their academic journeys and gained admission to Sri Lankan universities and vocational training centres.