Bhubaneswar: Utkal Alumina International Limited (UAIL), a manufacturing unit of the Aditya Birla Group, is engaged deeply in meaningful welfare initiatives in communities living in the project area and its periphery. One such project is “Project Saksham”, an advanced training-cum-garment manufacturing unit, at Tikiri in Rayagada district. It is to enable unemployed rural women earn sustainable livelihood and become self-reliant.
Commenced in February 2015, the project has so far imparted training to around 45 women from the underprivileged sections of the society. Utkal has provided 30 Juki make industrial sewing machines along with four specialized machines. The company has provided the trainees with a 6-month training on operation and product development, including quality control, to cater to the market demand. During the training period, participants learnt basic machine operations, cutting and stitching of dress materials such as petticoats, tops, kurtis, chudidar, salwar kameez, skirts, shirts, trousers, etc.
The Commercial production of clothes, particularly school uniforms for institutional sales, has already started. In a short time, the products manufactured in the unit have received appreciation in the market. With concerted efforts in marketing, the unit has received major orders. Their customers are – Anganwadi Centres, Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya – Nawarangpur/Malkangiri, Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalaya – Koraput and Hirawats – Visakhapatnam, Employee Uniform for M/s Essel Mining, School Uniform from GNFA School, Tikiri, Half shirts for “BOYANIKA” through M/s. Ludupali Khadi & Silk Weaving Samity, Bargarh, Variety uniforms from JNV-Nabarangpu and Malkangiri and EMRS, Nabarangpur and Kids wear from M/s Ram & Sons and S R Vendor, Vizag.
Enthused by these achievements and the market linkage, the women are now developing their skill in making designer clothes with the help of a pattern cutter. Once the finesse in designer clothes is achieved, market linkage would be facilitated with Boyanika and similar large scale garment trading units.
Mr. Raghunath Pratihari, VP (HR, Admin and CSR) at Utkal, in one of his visits, urged the trainees “to put in their best efforts in learning the advanced skills required to produce designer clothes.” Reposing faith in the trainees and trainers, he hoped that the products from the unit would certainly carve out a niche for themselves in the market and said “this initiative will empower and transform the lives of the rural women for a better tomorrow”.
While interacting with the trainees, Mr. N. Nagesh, Unit Head and President, UAIL said, “the speed with which the trainees are acquiring skill, I am sure, they would certainly produce quality products for the market and earn substantially to supplement their family income. This is going to be a path breaking CSR initiatives of our Utkal Alumina.”
Trainees in garment manufacturing unit consider the unit as a boon. It will help fulfil their dreams.
Rajanti Semili (35) from Kampor village who works in the manufacturing unit is happy that now with a substantial income, she can accord better education to her two children and contribute to her family income. This lessens the burden on her husband.
“I am lucky to get an opportunity to be part of this garment manufacturing unit. I can earn and educate my two kids in an English medium school and send them to institutions of higher studies out of Tikiri. I want them to be educated and to lead a decent life,” said Rajanti, while expressing her gratitude to UAIL.
Malata (28), another tribal woman from Haridaspur village who is trained to operate industrial sewing machines, says, “Once the unit gets into the full commercial production mode, I am sure, I can earn sufficiently to solve my financial problems. Utkal Alumina which has changed my life.”
Says Mr. Nagesh, “This is a small step in our journey to help the underprivileged stand on their own feet. But as Lao Tzu remarked – “The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step”.