Unilever Hero: Rajagopalan Veeraraghavan
Drive for excellence
The schoolchildren laugh as they run outside to play on their new, brightly-coloured slides and seesaws. Indoors, a group gathers round to experiment with new musical instruments. The transformation of Ankur (‘Young Shoots’) School in 2016 is down to the vision of one man, Rajagopalan Veeraraghavan. But his legacy will benefit the local communities for years to come.
Raja has worked for Unilever for 15 years, most recently as Safety Manager in the nearby Doom Dooma factory. A talented project manager, with a passion for safety and a drive for excellence, he implemented an injury-free project in 11 months, achieving a milestone of 3 million safe working hours.
In his free time, Raja volunteered to lead the transformation of the Ankur School for children with special abilities. He planned the renovations after taking time to understand the children’s needs, daily routines and learning methods. But construction was challenging. Heavy rains meant that much of the work had to be done at night to stay on schedule, and materials had to be transported 600km to the remote site. And yet, in a short amount of time, Raja oversaw the complete renovation.
Happy children and parents
Every visitor to the school today is struck by the lively atmosphere, and by the delight of the children as they make the most of the music room, library, braille learning area and handicrafts equipment. As well as transforming the indoor space, Raja also created an entirely new play area on the lawns, with special facilities for outdoor activities.
Raja says: “Wellbeing and business are two faces of the same coin, and it is our duty as human beings to leave a better world for the next generation.”
He has without a doubt fulfilled that ambition. Ankur School will continue to serve children with special abilities in the communities around the factory for many years to come, demonstrating a genuine commitment to care for and connect with the local population.