New Delhi, Nov 7 (IANS) To strengthen its social presence in India, British defence major BAE Systems Wednesday signed an agreement with Smile Foundation, an Indian NGO, to support the underprivileged in primary education and healthcare.
A company statement here said the long-term partnership with Smile Foundation will enable it to "support development programmes in the areas of primary education and healthcare in rural and urban communities across seven states of the country".
Smile Foundation has projects across 25 Indian states and an outreach to over 200,000 children, women and youth, it said.
"Through the partnership, BAE Systems has committed support to the educational mainstreaming of over 1,000 children aged between six and 16 years across seven rural and urban locations in six states nationally," the company said.
These states are Chhattisgarh, Haryana, Maharashtra, Odisha, Tamil Nadu and Uttar Pradesh.
Further, the firm will help establish and operate a purpose-built mobile medical unit called 'Smile on Wheels' equipped with the latest equipment, trained personnel and supplies to serve selected under-served population clusters of Bangalore.
In the first year of operations, the outreach of the mobile medical unit is estimated at over 20,000 people.
"Our partnership with Smile Foundation is an expression of our commitment to make a positive contribution to the development priorities of the communities where we live and work," BAE systems India managing director and chief executive Dean McCumiskey said.
"We are delighted to join forces with Smile Foundation to establish a national footprint for our corporate responsibility programme in India," McCumiskey said.
"Employee volunteering is an integrated aspect of our commitment and we are looking forward to contribute our time and skills and work in the communities," he said.
Smile Foundation co-founder and managing trustee Santanu Mishra said the partnership design with BAE Systems would strengthen the flagship programmes such as 'Mission Education' and 'Smile on Wheels' and also enable expand their reach.
"The long-term nature of our engagement with BAE Systems signals the company's focus on community investment and is a positive trend in corporate support to national priorities," Mishra added.
As part of the partnership, BAE Systems will support the school infrastructure, teaching staff and classroom material requirements for children in Bilaspur in Chhattisgarh, Pune in Maharashtra, Subarnapur in Odisha, Chennai in Tamil Nadu, and Lucknow and Ghaziabad in Uttar Pradesh, with a greenfield site in Haryana.
BAE Systems' support to the mobile medical unit will enable underserved urban communities in Bangalore to avail doorstep access to a team of doctors and nurses and state-of-the-art medical equipment and facilities such as x-ray, ECG, I.V. fluid transmission and basic pathological testing.