Narendrapur : Under the flagship Women Empowerment and Entrepreneurship project (WEE), an initiative of Tata Steel Foundation Meramandali, Gruhalaxmi cooperative has conducted its 3rd Annual General Meeting (AGM) at Kusupanga village in Odapada Block of Dhenkanal district. The occasion was graced by the presence of Chief Procurement Officer, Tata Steel Meramandali and Tata Steel Kalinganagar Nina Singh as the chief guest and the Sarpanch of Kusupanga Panchayat Anita Nayak as guest of honour.
WEE, with the support of Tata Steel Foundation, the delivery arm of Tata Steel for Corporate Social Responsibility, has been strengthening the livelihoods and empowering more than 2000 women in Angul and Dhenkanal Districts of Odisha.
Addressing the members, Smt Singh said, being economically self-reliant is need of the hour and it gives the women confidence, self-esteem and encourage them to take steps in life. She appreciated the budding entrepreneurs, members of Board of Directors of the cooperative and their role in making this cooperative a self-sustained institution.
Thanking Tata Steel Meramandali(TSM) for the initiative, Smt Nayak urged the women present on the occasion to take advantage of the project and try to set up more enterprises through which they can support their family.
Gruhalxami cooperative, was formed with the very purpose of empowering the women of periphery villages around TSM plant in 2018. In just 3 years it has grown fivefold into a 1953-member strong all-women co-operative from around 400 members when it started. Women from 24 villages around the plant drive different enterprises like, mushroom cultivation, phenyl making, poultry, incense stick making, dairy, fish farming, goat rearing, small shops, vegetable vending etc.
Despite COVID pandemic, the cooperative has achieved a cumulative profit of Rs. 8.50 Lakh with a total entrepreneur base of 687. Business linkage with other institutions along with Tata Steel Meramandali was a milestone in FY21-22. With successful linkages with banks, the cooperative members have received loans worth Rs 4 crore from various banks for setting up micro-enterprises.