We have been active in India for over a decade but, last year, we opened a regional office there as it is undoubtedly a country that has one of the most dynamic aviation industries in the world right now.

Corporate responsibility to the local community is really important in India and with this in mind, we have joined forces with the GMR Varalakshmi Foundation (GMRVF), which has a mandate to develop social infrastructure and enhance the quality of life of communities around the locations where GMR operates.

We are committed to playing our part and contributing to positive change in the communities in which we work. When we heard about the SMILE programme, a GMRVF project that supports marginalised individuals through livelihoods and empowerment, it seemed like a natural first step. So, we made a financial donation to support men and women become financially independent entrepreneurs.

The donation was used to purchase 25 ‘push-pull’ carts, so that individuals whose income had been decimated during the pandemic could re-establish themselves, run their own business and support their family once more. The carts can be for selling a variety of items, including food, clothes, shoes, and even transporting materials.

Recently, a team of us from NATS were privileged enough to visit the Foundation’s centre in New Delhi and meet some of the families who benefitted directly from our donation at an incredibly moving ceremony. The carts were presented to their owners and while it was hard-hitting to hear directly from the beneficiaries about how they and their families had suffered over the past few years, it was also clear to see the positive difference the carts would have on their lives.

Hosted at the Foundation’s centre in New Delhi, it was wonderful to speak with those working at the Foundation as well as tour the centre and speak with other trainees who are being upskilled in various trades and vocations, ensuring a successful future in careers of their choice.

We are looking forward to continuing our support of the GMR Varalakshmi Foundation over the coming months and years and following the progress of the SMILE individuals we have met. We are very grateful to GMR and the Foundation for their kind hospitality and for allowing us to contribute to such a wonderful project.


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