This was established in 2022. It aims to select students aged 14-15 and provide them with financial and other support so they might go into the maritime industry. It is reciprocal and incentive-based, and once they start earning Chakra beneficiaries are encouraged to reimburse the fund, in small instalments, to help support future scholars.
In November 2022 our CSR team was very active in increasing awareness of this marine education initiative, and of the industry in general.
SOS Children’s Village, Alibaug
On 18th November 2022 the team visited this international NGO south of Mumbai, which aims to build families for children in need, such as those who have been orphaned or abandoned, or whose relatives cannot care for them.
The session started with an introduction of our team, and also the students, and the guest speakers were Synergy’s Captain Viswanathan and Ms. Nutan Mhatre.
Captain Viswanathan introduced seafaring as a career by describing what the merchant navy is, everyday life in the industry and the possible ways to join. Seeking in particular to motivate the female students, Ms. Mhatre spoke of her own direct peer group - the women seafarers at Synergy - and highlighted the much wider industry acceptance, and so greater numbers, of women at sea.
The team then described the rationale of the Chakra Scholarship and its various components, like eligibility criteria and benefits. The students found the presentation engaging and many asked insightful questions about life in our maritime world, and how to progress.
There was also an activity to test teamwork and communication skills, with all showing a high level of enthusiasm and interest, and at the end each student received a small kit containing a folder, pen, notepad, pencil, eraser and lastly a small piece of chocolate.
As well as being a very noticeable success, this event was highly rewarding in raising awareness of the maritime industry and motivating the students in considering it as a career option. The team was deeply moved and greatly inspired by the children’s keen participation and by the zeal shown by youngsters from highly disadvantaged backgrounds. We hope to see as many as possible of them become leaders, and to support them in their journey ahead.
Lady Khatun Marium Navik School
On 24 November 2022 the team again presented on our Chakra Scholarship.
This was on the campus of TS Rahaman in Nhava, which houses the Lady Khatun Marium Navik School, an academy offering equal opportunities to all children irrespective of their background.
With an audience of nearly 100 students, a short introduction was followed by a video showing the life of a seafarer, to give an overview of roles and responsibilities on board ship. Our team also talked about Synergy and its foothold in the maritime industry.
The team outlined some of the career paths that can lead to a maritime role, whether ashore or at sea, and then introduced the students to the Chakra Scholarship and its criteria and potential benefits.
Our efforts were especially steered towards female students. We cited leading examples of women seafarers, such as Sonali Banerjee, India’s first female Marine Engineer, and showed a short film on Captain Radhika Menon’s journey to becoming the first woman Captain in the Indian Merchant Navy.
The brand ambassador was war veteran and India’s very own Blade Runner, retired Major D. P. Singh. Any form of exclusion means disconnection from social relations, and disabled people and their families often face isolation and ostracism from the wider society, with multiple barriers hindering amalgamation into the mainstream. Although about one in ten among the population has a disability, there is still an ‘embarrassment factor’, usually meaning self-consciousness and awkwardness in the presence of a disabled person.
The Inclusive Walkathon initiative was the first of its kind, and everyone, irrespective of disability, could take part in a 3K or 5K walk. The unique feature, though, was the ‘Buddy Walk’, which required those with no disability either to walk with someone who has one or to blindfold a partner and walk half the distance and then swap places.
Many told inspiring stories about the hardships they had faced, the problems they had overcome and what inspired them in never giving up. They also shared several examples of global companies that no longer discriminate, thus providing equal opportunities so disability does not get in their way.
We thank all the team members who helped make this a huge success. Naming just a few, we especially thank Capt. Ravi Kohli and Johnson Leonard for organising the event and ensuring that the participants all had snacks and drinks afterwards, Capt. Venkat from our Training Department for coordinating the event and Anand C.J. for volunteering as official photographer.