Aditya Birla's CSR empowering women of Sambalpur
Bhubaneswar: Aditya Aluminium Company, a unit of Aditya Birla Group, has launched in Odisha's Sambalpur district a CSR initiative under which it is promoting self-help groups (SHGs) and helping rural women start ventures like phenyl production, poultry farming and tailoring.
Bibhu Mishra, COO of Aditya Aluminium, says, "We are concerned about the welfare of women from this region and by promoting the SHGs we want to imbibe a sense of entrepreneurship and independence so that they can live with pride and dignity. We have seen visible progress in this regard in Rengali block."
Sunaphula Chhuria from Dudhkabahal village of Rengalic
Block in Odisha's Sambalpur district was a daily labourer barely scraping together enough for one square meal a day. Sunaphula and her husband are from a poor OBC community.
Though both worked as daily labourers at that time, it was tough to make ends meet as there was very little money to keep them afloat, she said adding work too came off and on, sometimes in trickles, sometimes not at all.
But life changed one day for the couple and families like theirs when Sunaphula was introduced into the SHG mode of operation done by the CSR initiative in periphery development of Aditya Aluminium Company.
As Sunaphula puts it, she learnt about methods and guidelines of SHG. After a few months the group has agreed to prepare phenyl and supply to companies and market nearby. The idea has created a new buzz among group members who are trained by professionals hired by company's CSR-wing.
The company is not only promoting SHGs, but is also empowering women to become entrepreneurs by helping them start independent businesses such as phenyl production, poultry farming and tailoring, Mishra said.
Production of phenyl has gone up and made a continuous demand from the corporates nearby. Aditya Aluminium became the first consumer of the product. They have produced 1,325 units till date and notched up a net profit Rs 26,500 within a year.
At present, continuous demand from the corporates near the production of the phenyl has gone up to 400 liters a month. Like Sunaphula, many other women from the adjacent villages of Dudhkabahal of Rengali block have been benefitted from the SHG promoted by Aditya Aluminium.
These women were mostly illiterate and had neither the skills nor the courage to start something on their own. But the company has brought a ray of light into their lives, said another company official.
Aditya Aluminium's empowerment schemes are touching and changing lives in Sambalpur. As of now, the company is supporting 43 SHGs comprising of 430 women in Rengali block.Initially, these SHGs were taught how to mobilise savings, maintain accounts, become familiar with inter-lending norms and establish credit linkages with banks, he said.
Once the members became familiar with these, Aditya Aluminium undertook a second phase of development - running training programmes on system establishment and norm setting, book keeping, leadership development, communication and conflict resolution.
Stating that this hard work has shown results, the COO said, "We will add many more activities in the days to come and our endeavour will be to position the woman in the house as an important earning member of the family."
When a woman is empowered, she will make sure that children get schooling and family members get access to health care and live a better life, Mishra added.