Bhubaneswar: For the last five years, as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives, the Aditya Birla Group’s Sambalpur-based Hindalco Hirakud unit has been imparting tailoring training to local girls and women.
It provides skill and training in and around its plant periphery, covering areas of Dengimacha, Nuajamda, Nuagujatal, Rickshawpara, Gundurpara, Shaktinagar, Christianpara and areas of Hirakud town.
Training programs are held in six-month batches on rotation. A batch is started when a sizeable group of women from a particular village shows interest in receiving training. Over 400 girls and women have benefitted from the program, with training classes currently being held at Vegerapali, Lariapara and Rickshawpara areas – Shivanand Mohanty, DGM External Affairs and CSR, Hindalco.
Economic empowerment of women has become a major development priority. Making women self-reliant has always been a key thrust area for the Group. When a woman is empowered, her entire family, especially her children reap the benefits, which also helps increase human development index – Rajesh Kumar Gupta, Head Hindalco-Hirakud.
Some women, who have benefitted from Hindalco’s tailoring training sessions, have started home-based tailoring centers, while others have benefitted by doing minor alterations on their own. A few, like Bharati Bisoi, Alka Rani Barik, and Lirima Nayak are now teachers themselves.
A school dropout, Bharati Bisoi, of Jhankarpara, aged 26 years, attended the tailoring training sessions conducted by Hindalco’s CSR team 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 imparting much-needed training, extending support, and helping women, like her, improve their standard of living. Presently, her self-help group is involved in supplying commercial cloth gloves to the Hirakud power plant.
The efforts of the Company towards women empowerment are praiseworthy. With these tailoring training sessions, not only is the company improving women’s skills but is also making them financially secure – Jhunu Swain, Programme Officer, Hirakud ICDS (Integrated Child Development Scheme).