“There is no better expenditure of money and it’s really important for these kids to stay in school and learn. I love this program; this is one of the finest commitments ever made in the 10 years history of Clinton Global Initiative.”
How beautiful and true these words are from former U.S. President Bill Clinton, about the mid-day meal program of Akshya Patra, which is Cisco India’s primary benefiting organization for our Global Hunger Relief Campaign. Through this program, over 1.4 million children from 10,661 schools across 10 states in India receive a good meal each day that they are in school. This is the world’s largest mid-day meal program and it makes an incredible impact.
According to the World Food Programme, one-third of the world’s hungry live in India. “Six days I would eat, then the next six days I wouldn’t eat at all,” said 9-year-old Roshan. The tiny girl grew up on a diet of 600 calories per day, not even half as much as a child her age should receive. And across India, millions of children like Roshan suffer from severe hunger.
Even before I started with Cisco, I was an active volunteer and had a focus on increasing educational access in rural China. After I joined Cisco, I quickly connected with the Civic Council to continue my passion for giving back. Civic Councils are teams of employees who plan volunteer events, develop partnerships, manage product donation programs, and make local cash donations. As our Civic Council leader, my main function is to create volunteer events and recruit employees to participate, and it has been very rewarding!
The China Research and Development Center (CRDC) Civic Council exists to identify volunteer opportunities and connect the demand to the supply of Cisco capital (employees and resources). You might be surprised as to how this helps me perform and excel in my Cisco role as an Engineering Manager. At the finish line of each volunteer program we manage and execute, I am rewarded to see how everyone benefits – not just those we served – but also the Cisco employees who volunteered. I use that momentum to fuel our next volunteer program.
The China team volunteering for Shanghai United Foundation
The people of Cisco in the United States and Canada can now buy or lease solar power for their homes at a discount, thanks to an initiative between the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) and Geostellar, an online marketer of solar systems.
The program uses bulk buying power to give employees, families, and friends access to solar power for their homes at a flat rate that is on average 35% lower than the national average and roughly 50% less expensive than the average electric utility rates. By providing both purchase and financing options, and a variety of panel choices, participants can select a system which meets their individual needs. Kimberly-Clark, 3M, National Geographic, as well as other companies and cities are also participating.
The offer will be available to over 100,000 people of the participating companies; if just 1% of them choose to power their homes with solar, more than 74,500 metric tons of carbon emissions would be avoided each year – the equivalent of taking more than 15,000 cars off the road, according to a World Wildlife Fund press release.
Ali Ahmed’s new solar installation in Cleveland, Ohio
Last week, more than 200 leaders from dozens of technology companies and international humanitarian and conservation organizations came together at the NetHope Global Member Summit on our San Jose, California campus. Experts in humanitarian relief, emergency response, and conservation from around the world participated in nearly 30 brainstorming sessions, and I was fortunate enough to attend a few and speak with some of the summit’s most innovative leaders.
NetHope is a collaboration of 41 leading international nonprofit nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) that provide humanitarian development, emergency response, disaster relief, and conservation programs. Cisco helped found NetHope in 2001, bringing together Chief Information Officers (CIOs) to better serve the developing world through smarter use of technology.
Within 24 hours of the deadly fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas almost 2 years ago, Cisco’s Community Relations team had already committed to help residents impacted by the devastation and contacted me in Cisco’s Richardson office.
Within another month, we decided to partner with Waco Habitat for Humanity to rebuild a family home, and to send Richardson employees to volunteer. After a lengthy application and vetting process, the new homeowner was selected and groundbreaking for the new home was scheduled for Friday, November 7.
Soon-to-be homeowner Gloria Alamos and her daughter with Beth Kolman and the team of Cisco employee volunteers with Waco Habitat for Humanity