The World Inequality Report 2022 revealed that India is one of the most ‘unequal’ countries globally. According to the report, the bottom half of India’s population earns just Rs. 53,610 annually. Contrast that to the earnings of the top 10 per cent at Rs. 11,66,520. This unequal distribution of wealth is a major impediment to the country’s comprehensive growth.
Equitable economic development is a must if India wishes to share the dais with global leaders. The needs of the underserved and underprivileged communities have to be met to reduce disparities while fostering growth and happiness. This is what the Sujana Foundation wishes to accomplish. A CSR initiative of the Sujana Group founded by YS Chowdary, Sujana Foundation is a model social entrepreneurship working for the holistic development of the community.
The founder of the Sujana Group of Companies, YS Chowdary a.k.a. Sujana Chowdary, grew up in relative prosperity but was introduced to the charitable art of giving and proactively engaging with the socially and economically under-privileged at a very early age. These childhood lessons stuck with him as he grew up and made a mark in the world and found their outlet in the form of the Sujana Foundation.
The foundation has been very active in the socio-economic of the underserved and underprivileged communities in the rural and semi-urban areas of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Through social initiatives that prioritized the transformation of lives in these regions, the foundation and SujanaChowdary himself, have made a significant difference.
Recognizing the indisputable role of education in the upliftment and development of the society, education became the main focus of the various programmes launched by the foundation. It has contributed immensely to the development of education by providing scholarships for the socially and economically backward; encouraging and protecting the interests of the girl child, and enabling primary, secondary and higher education to them.
Additionally, the physically and mentally challenged are also included in such programs. Guided by the vision of SujanaChowdary, the foundation provides quality education to such children across South India.
Health is wealth is an old adage that is still applicable today. Under the leadership of YS Chowdary himself, the Sujana Group began sponsoring various sporting events at various levels – from schools to colleges and even at the professional level. This resulted in a two-fold advantage – children were actively engaged in physical activities, and secondly, young prodigies could be identified and nurtured to become professional athletes who would go on to bag accolades for the nation.
In addition to the foundation, YS Chowdary also established the Sujana Charitable Trust with one sole purpose in mind – extending financial support to the economically weaker sections. The trust funds the higher education of financially weaker students so that their aspirations do not remain grounded. Moreover, patients who cannot afford expensive medical care and surgical treatments are also given financial help by the trust.
The foundation also went above and beyond during the recent pandemic and established a COVID-19 center at The Venue Convention Centre in Vijayawada. The 150-bed facility offered free COVID treatment along with services like free meals, high nutrition diets, along with free medication to ensure complete recovery of the patient.
While not exactly CSR, it is also worth noting that SujanaChowdary adopted two villages under the Sansad Adarsh Gram Yojana (SAGY) scheme introduced by Prime Minister Modi. SAGY calls for the adoption of villages by every member of Parliament, who will take up the responsibility for their development. Under this initiative, YS Chowdary adopted the two villages of Ponnavaram and Palaparru.
Ponnavaram, located in Krishna district, and Palaparru in Guntur district have witnessed major transformational changes ever since their adoption by SujanaChowdary. In accordance with his belief that good quality education, healthcare and a clean environment are the three basic pillars for nation-building, YS Chowdary translated it to action. Digital learning was introduced in the village schools along with free Wi-Fi and books. This ensured that the children were not left behind in the dust and quality education was accessible to all.
Medical camps were conducted, drainage systems and toilets constructed to improve sanitation and living standards. Cement roads were constructed to improve connectivity and facilitate travel. The transformational change has been felt in all spheres, taking it closer to YS Chowdary’s dream of turning them into self-sufficient model villages.
Charity surely begins at home and Sujana Chowdary’s life is the ideal example. The inquisitive kid who was introduced to the venerable art of giving selflessly has grown up to become an empathic leader and visionary for whom the upliftment and the equitable development of the community always takes precedence.
His entry into politics was not a spur-of-the-moment act, but rather a calculated decision taken for the service of the public. By his own admission, YS Chowdary is not a ‘career politician’. One could say that his political journey is by and large an extension of his efforts to ensure the community is empowered to surmount even greater heights.