‘My mum drives a forklift!’ Godrej salutes #incrediblemothers

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We missed carrying this news at the right time, which was around Mother’s Day, but amongst the numerous pitches we received for that mother of all celebrate-on-Social-Media days, this initiative — from Godrej — is one that not only stands out in retrospect, but, we believe, will remain relevant for long.

It celebrates the power of women, and demonstrated the ability of young women to take up the never-done-before and excel at it – even if it was to do with driving fork lifts as drivers on the manufacture and transport line in large industrial factories. Shoulder to shoulder with the men.

Statistics reveal that majority of the female work force in India are unemployed due to lack of sufficient educational qualifications and social stigma. In an endeavour to empower women, Godrej Material Handling introduced the first of its kind woman forklift operator training programme in India.

The film, executed by Devji Media & Communications, captures the views and experiences of these incredible mothers (along with their children) who have joined the forklift operator family to compete in a predominantly male industry.

To salute women on — and commemorate – Mother’s Day, Godrej released a simple little film that captured the will and strength of young mothers, and the pride of their children at their accomplishments. What was their accomplishment?

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Anil Lingayat

“Only 26% of the female workforce is employed in India, and considering the lack of skilled forklift operators in the industry and rise in demand, we decided to train women to become forklift operators — which is a first of its kind in India,” says Anil Lingayat, Executive Vice President & Business Head, Godrej Material Handling. And Godrej called out to young women, who had never driven any heavy industrial vehicle,  to come in and discuss the opportunity and possibly take a shot at it, if they were basically capable of learning the skill of driving fork lifts. Once a fit was seen, the women were put through the paces and trained, and they shone!. As Lingayat says, “This initiative gives us an immense opportunity to build the skills of these women and empower them to lead a successful and fulfilling life with pride and confidence.”

What’s really good about this initiative is that as a company emotionally invested in India and the people it serves as its customers, Godrej decided to add value to every important stakeholder in the chain of growth and progress – at the individual level, the young mothers who learnt a new skill, for its own corporate self, finding and identifying a strong and capable workforce of smart, intelligent and capable women to help Godrej itself fill a workforce need-gap, and in the process, help empower the individuals, the company, and society too. The initiative to match up young mothers with the forklift driving training was perfect for Godrej Material Handling, which is a division of Godrej & Boyce Mfg. Co. Ltd and part of the USD $ 4.1 billion Godrej Group, and is India’s largest manufacturer of lift trucks. The range includes electric, and diesel counterbalanced forklifts up to 25 tonne capacity, warehouse trucks and special trucks for specific applications. These equipment are exported to over 40 countries throughout Asia, Middle East, Africa, Latin America and Europe.

Watch the film. It stands out for its extremely simplicity of production, but very realistically, it catches the gawkiness of the young mothers’ children who are dressed in their Sunday best and sitting motionless beside their mothers, waiting for their turns to express their pride in their champion mums! In a singsong manner. Sweet.

“Godrej Material Handling is extremely proud to present incredible mothers who have joined the forklift operator family,” says the intro to the video on their Facebook page. It also goes on to say: “If you know someone who can benefit from our Godrej Forklift Operator Training Programme let us know.” Now that’s the hallmark of a corporate that’s deeply invested across the entire stakeholder chain.

Heartwarming and meaningful, this Mother’s Day initiative. Sad that we missed sharing it in time, but better late… It’s relevant, and it salutes the strength and ability of women to take on any challenge and emerge victorious. On Mother’s Day, an apt salute to young mothers who are dedicated, relentless, and nothing less than super heroes.

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