Imagine you are 17 years old, you live in Kenya, and you are deaf. In this part of the world, deaf and disabled people are considered “cursed.” Your family is ashamed of you. You can’t communicate with them or with anyone else. Nor can you go to school, see a doctor, get a job, or make friends. You are alone, with little hope that your life will ever change. Now, imagine being able to personally help teenagers like this, without even leaving your office building.
Karim Remu, a Cisco systems engineer in Toronto, is doing it — by mentoring a group of deaf students who participate in a Cisco Networking Academy program in Nairobi, Kenya designed just for them. If you aren’t already familiar with Cisco Networking Academy, it is a global program that teaches students how to design, build, manage, and secure computer networks. Networking Academy helps fill a mounting demand for network professionals worldwide, and also provides a path to a career and financial independence for participants.
Today, we released Cisco’s 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Report. It’s our seventh and it covers our CSR efforts in the areas of governance and ethics, value chain, our people, society, and the environment.
Since the founding of our longest-running CSR program, the Cisco Networking Academy in 1997, our efforts have been authentically grown from the inside out with enthusiastic support from our employees. We believe technology is a powerful tool that can not only help our customers thrive, but bring people together to transform lives, build communities and preserve the environment.
In 2006, then-President George Bush reached out to Cisco and other major corporations. He wanted to see how the business sector could help the Middle Eastern nation recover from a conflict that had displaced one-quarter of its population and destroyed entire communities.
Cisco CEO John Chambers traveled to Lebanon, and he was moved by what he saw. Tremendous structural damage was everywhere. Businesses struggled to recover from the crisis, limiting job opportunities. Lebanon’s slow and expensive information technology infrastructure cut off its residents from the rest of the global marketplace.
Even worse, its young people – known for being smart, creative, well educated, and energetic – had lost hope for the future. They felt they had to leave Lebanon to find professional success.
From this visit, the Partnership for Lebanon was born. Cisco and four other corporations – Intel, Microsoft, GHAFARI, Inc. and Occidental Petroleum – joined forces to help Lebanon improve its networking technology infrastructure and move its people toward long-term economic growth and stability. Read More »