Bhubaneswar: For the last seven years, as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, Aditya Birla Group’s Hindalco – Hirakud unit in Sambalpur has been imparting tailoring skills to local girls and women. The areas covered around the plant periphery are Dengimacha, Nuajamda, Nuagujatal, Rickshawpara, Gundurpara, Shaktinagar, Christianpara and parts of Hirakud town.
Training programmes are held in six-month batches on rotation − a batch is started when a sizeable group of women from a particular village show interest in receiving training. Mr. A. Satyanarayan, GM − Land & CSR of Hindalco said, “Over 500 girls and women have benefitted from the programme, with training classes currently being held in Vegerapali, Lariapara and Rickshawpara.”
Speaking on the importance of women empowerment, Mr. Rajesh Kumar Gupta, Cluster Head, Sambalpur said, “Economic empowerment of women has become a major development priority. Making women self-reliant has always been a key focus area of the Group. When a woman is empowered, her family, especially her children, reap the benefits, which also helps increase the human development index.”
Some women beneficiaries from Hindalco’s tailoring training sessions have started home-based tailoring centres, while others have benefitted by doing minor alterations on their own. Furthermore, Bharati Bisoi, Alka Rani Barik and Lirima Nayak are now teachers themselves.
Another inspirational story involves Bharati Bisoi, a 26-year-old school dropout from Jhankarpara. She attended Hindalco’s tailoring training sessions and later formed a self-help group (SHG) ‘Sanskruti’, which has received a contract to stitch uniforms for the Government Girls High School, Hirakud.
Tanushree Sahu, President − ‘Annapurna’ SHG, whose husband is differently-abled, expressed her gratitude to Hindalco’s CSR team for providing women like her with training and support to improve their standard of living. Presently, her SHG supplies commercial cloth gloves to the Hirakud power plant.
Praising the initiative, a government official stated, “The company’s efforts towards women empowerment are commendable. These tailoring training sessions are not only enhancing women’s skills but also making them financially secure.”