FAQs

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PARC is a platform/facility that can be used by students, volunteers and non-profit service providers to deliver services in and around Pilani.

PARC came about because of BITSians from the 1975-80 batch. During their 25th anniversary get-together, these alumni decided to give back to the supportive community both within and around the campus. Beginning with providing life insurance for mess workers (still operational), the plans evolved into establishing a space from which interested people could deliver services to the community around the campus.

Initial support came from BITS Pilani Administration in providing land for PARC on a long-term basis, and by way of financial contribution from numerous individuals from the BITSian fraternity, mostly but not only from 1975-80 batch for construction of PARC and related infrastructure. Names of initial donors are up on the wall inside PARC.

The first major Non-profit tie up was with Pratham, a highly respected organization with nationwide footprints in India that provides education and training for skills development to the underprivileged. Pratham has been training local youth in Pilani for working in the hospitality sector. Most students find employment in hotels and guest houses in nearby locations, although some have found jobs overseas too.

The other partner who has been active since the beginning of PARC is NIRMAAN, a Non-profit whose members are current students of BITS Pilani campus. They have been running coaching classes and tutorials in Maths & Science for school going children of the underprivileged local community.

The next major Non-profit partner that came on board is HelpAge, an international organization that works for the benefit of the elderly people; they set up a physiotherapy center in PARC.

Mostly contributions from alumni, beginning with those from 1975-80 batch and expanding to other batches. Names of initial donors are up on the wall in the building. (We are refurbishing the wall, now is the time to get your name in).

Not directly, though its roots are well enmeshed. PARC is a specific social component that complements scientific education and endeavour with the human angle. In many ways, it completes BITS. This understanding has led to PARC and its activities being highlighted by the Vice Chancellor and providing BITS with an edge across similar educational institutions.

PARC began as an experiment, with its share of successes and non-starters. PARC has now set its sights on involving local communities, women and BITS students to create start-ups, programming and companies that will change the face of Pilani.

PARC is an asset of the BITS Alumni Trust, a registered entity. The BITSAA Alumni Trust has income tax exemption, FCRA approval, and 80G approval that allows donations to be tax beneficial.

The present Trustees are all members of the 1975-80 batch, with one exception. The trust is based in Vadodara.

This was the batch that started PARC. However, the Trustees are eager to have their positions taken over by members from other batches.

PARC is run by a 6-member Local Governing Council in Pilani, supported by staff and volunteers.

The guards and sanitation staff are paid. The management staff are presently working in a voluntary capacity.

The Director is a retiree from CEERI Pilani. His belief in the idea of PARC has driven him to dedicate his time and money.

Legal compliance is managed from Vadodara, whereas yearly plans are approved by the trustees. The Local Governing Council in Pilani overseas planning, program execution and future ideation.

The Local Governing Council (LGC) is chaired by Dr. Chandrashekar, retired Director of Central Electronics and Electrical Research Institute (CEERI) who is presently teaching at BITS. There are also two members from BITS Pilani, two trustees and two Community members.

The BITS members of the LGC are people who have expressed an interest in PARC, are based at Pilani and are willing to devote time to its growth and future. Community members are those with good standing within the community, who speak for the marginalized and are willing to expand their opportunities using PARC.

Yes! They are our source of encouragement, our strength and our hope for the future. There is already Team AtmaNirbhar Student team in place with succession plans from batch to batch.

BITS student volunteers help organize health camps, run computer training courses for the local youth and coaching classes for community students, and hopefully, in the future will establish start-ups with the local community.

Volunteers are self-selected. We only ask for a commitment to complete the task that they have agreed to do.

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No, there is no payment required to be a volunteer.

Yes, they can.

No, PARC does not pay any stipends to volunteers.

If requested, PARC will provide the volunteer with a letter confirming the details of the time spent and the impact of the volunteer on PARC.

Most employers are looking at people with a well-rounded personality. Volunteering is seen as an expression of social concern, and an ability to prioritize time for greater impact.

Beginning with a desire for change, PARC took on the shape of a start-up for empowering communities. PARC became a platform which non-profits could leverage, thus allowing several activities to be launched. This also helped close non-performing activities and removed direct ownership of programming from PARC. This key learning allows PARC to change direction rapidly, respond to community expressions early and model a new approach that does not speak for the poor but provides them with platforms to empower themselves.

PARC consolidated its platform strategy, providing a space and connections with which non-profits could deliver services. Agastya, Pratham and Helpage have been some of the non-profits that have used this platform to create impact.

Yes, the time has come to push the boundaries further. PARC has been used by scientists to explore bio-pesticides in rural areas and leveraged government grants to skill youth in computer literacy. While these are pilots, the way forward seems for PARC to become a start-up lab for poverty reduction and empowerment. The key players in the start-up lab would be students and marginalized communities. PARC is still formulating the contours of the strategy and inputs are welcome.

Absolutely. The non-profits provided resources for the upkeep of the facility, ensuring that BITS student volunteers had the space to provide coaching and experimenting. Secondly, they offered insights into working with the marginalized in the area as well as provided access and allowed deeper interactions – this in turn, opened PARC to newer approaches like health camps for women.

Students from BITS volunteer consistently, providing linkages with the community. Lately, they have also started offering strategy inputs through the Local Governing Council.

BITS faculty, especially those with roots (original or planted) in Pilani have been involved at various times in the life of PARC. Presently, two key faculty members are deeply involved in PARC processes.

Faculty are both ambassadors and bridges between students and PARC - start-up incubators need mentors and faculty are best placed to be mentors.

While this is generally true, local leaders also play a key role in enabling access, moving bureaucracy, and providing linkages with other villages in the area. PARC has ensured that the leaders involved are those who have embarked on a development role themselves before being part of PARC.

PARC believes that this will happen sooner than later. PARC has moved from being a platform that implementing activities to exploring the space of a start-up incubator for social change. When the incubator becomes active, the start-ups will need real-time situations and test-beds for simulations. The poorer/marginalized community members will be key participants in this activity.

Yes, PARC is an asset of BITSAA Alumni Trust, a registered trust under Government of India rules.

In India, PARC has received Guidestar credentials that are recognized internationally. The organization is also registered with ‘Global Giving’ in the US, allowing American citizens to receive tax deductions on donations. PARC has similar approvals from the Indian government.

PARC’s trustees are accountable to the Government of India regulatory authorities, legally. Morally, and formally, the trustees are accountable to faculty and administration at BITS Pilani as well as its students. The trustees are also informally accountable to the BITS Alumni globally since we are operating under the alumni banner.

PARC follows Indian standards of accounting. All accounts are audited by an independent auditor every year and it also reports to the Government of India’s Foreign Contribution department as required.

Yes, India’s present standards are internationally accepted.

PARC has not followed a standard implementation model, as seen, in other development responses. It is pioneering a new path where science and technology can be leveraged to both reduce poverty and provide the marginalized community members with the tools of development, enabling them to change their own lives as well as the environment that causes poverty.

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BITS Pilani is able to provide its students with world-class education largely due to its support staff who hail from villages around Pilani, Giving them the chance to change their lives as well as the lives of their children would be a way to show our gratefulness.

Take Action

The simplest way is to donate, regularly or even one time. PARC no upper limit to what you can contribute.

Take Action

You can connect your company’s CSR team with PARC’s trustees. Your advocacy with them to support PARC will also be helpful.

Definitely. These are the kind of networks that everyone can use to further the work of PARC.

Take Action

If you have experience with raising money from other corporates, developing world-class reporting templates or corporate CSR implementation approaches and delivery mechanisms, PARC can use your expertise. Please do get in touch.

Take Action

Surely, please bring your skill set to our team in Pilani and they will find a place for you .

Take Action

If your batch graduated from BITS Pilani, we would love to talk to the collective and plan a longer-term involvement.

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