Our benefits are similar to those the corporates offer, says Sourav Banerjee

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Sourav Banerjee, country director in India for Room to Read. Photo: Pradeep Gaur/Mint

New Delhi: Sourav Banerjee, country director in India for Room to Read, a non-profit for children’s literacy and girls’ education with a presence across Asia and Africa, says the organization gives its workers the benefits that a corporate employee receives, like provident fund and gratuity, but in the less stressful work environment of a non-government organization. Excerpts from an interview:

How do you differentiate yourself from others in terms of employee benefits?

A lot of our benefits and structures are similar to the corporate, a feature that you do not find in companies in the non-government sector. Add to that the lower stress levels compared to any corporate job. There is an intrinsic value add in the work that one is doing here—making a difference to a child’s life.

Any special benefits for women employees?

Thirty-eight percent of the 600 employees in our organization are women. We try and create an enabling environment for women employees. Women employees are allowed to work from home, with flexi-timing options, during and after childbirth, over and above the mandatory six-month maternity leave. Ours is a travel-intrinsic job. For two years, women can carry their newborn to wherever they travel.

How has the mandatory 2% CSR (corporate social responsibility) spending impacted your company?

When the mandatory 2% spending started, companies launched their own foundation and parked the 2% there. Increasingly corporate India is realizing that it is not their area of expertise. The government on the other hand is insisting that corporate funds go to non-government organizations that are doing work in the field. As of today, 40% of our funding is raised locally, while the remaining comes from our global offices. Last three years, we have been growing exponentially, and our budget has increased from Rs 30 crore to Rs50 crore.