Sat Hasta Samahara, Sahastra Hasta Sankira is written in the Hindu scriptures and means ‘generate wealth with 100 hands and share it with 1,000 hands.’
This message underpins the Purico ethos. It is not just a successful, enterprising business. The group has a strong sense of corporate social responsibility, using its wealth to benefit people and organisations in need.
When founder Professor Nat Puri set out on his business voyage he made it his mission to help others.
As Nat explains, “Quite early on I found that just working for money would make me mad, so I had to have some other reason.”
He found his purpose in philanthropy, influenced by the example of his late father, Munna Lal Puri, a banker who would help the poor – even if it meant borrowing money.
Nat’s generosity earned him the respect of the entire community in the Punjab region of India where he lived. When his father passed away, the family was told to prepare lunch for up to 600 people during the traditional 14-day mourning period. Instead 1,500 flocked to his house, many of them crying at the loss of a man they regarded as their saviour.
In July 1988, The Puri Foundation was set up with a personal donation of £1 million from Professor Puri which was matched by Purico. Two other charitable organisations were later established – The Three R’s Education Trust and The Puri Foundation for Education in India.
The Puri family and charities donate an average of £500,000 a year to good causes, mainly in the UK, India, Nepal and Africa, making a huge difference to the lives of tens of thousands of people.
Education has been the main focus of the group’s charitable activities. One of its greatest achievements is in Nepal, where a campaign has been launched to tackle illiteracy. Through The Three R’s Education Trust, Purico has provided funding for 1,000 single-teacher schools, with about 45,000 pupils benefiting in remote areas.
The Puri Foundation for Education in India has spent more than £3 million on creating an Indian institute for advanced research in biology and biotechnology.
The Puri Foundation has built around 50 houses and a new school for 1,000 pupils in Mullanpur, where Professor Puri grew up, as well as financing other school buildings in the Punjab.
In Nottingham, where the Purico Group has its headquarters, grants totalling tens of thousands of pounds have been handed out to buy computers and improve facilities at a string of local schools.
The foundation has also helped fund scholarships for overseas students at the city’s two universities and the London South Bank University, where Professor Puri studied. In 2011, the charity donated a further £1 million to LSBU to launch The Nathu Puri Institute for Engineering and Enterprise.
Providing humanitarian aid has long been high on the agenda. Following the 2001 Gujarat earthquake, which killed 25,000 people and left thousands more homeless, £1 million was donated towards the reconstruction of 10 villages.
The group’s charities have provided much needed cash for medical research and recreational facilities, particularly for young people, at home and abroad.