International Day of Rural Women: Vedanta Aluminium enabling rural women’s participation in national development
New Delhi: Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium,is enabling thousands of rural women with skills, financial literacy, access to resources, technology & market, and welfare schemes, making them equal participants in the national socio-economic development. The company works on the fundamental principle that rural women’s involvement in sustainable development goals will be crucial to alleviating poverty and ending hunger.
At Odisha and Chhattisgarh, where Vedanta Aluminium has its operations, the company is enabling women to empower themselves economically, politically and socially. These interventions, which benefit more than 13,000 women today, bear testimony to the company’s commitment to the global goals of No Poverty, Zero Hunger and Gender Equality.Women who barely ventured beyond their homes and hamlets earlier, now own and run micro-enterprises like fast food centres, arts & decorative items, poultry & vegetable farms, grocery stores, beauty parlours, tailoring centres, and many more.
Some of the programs include:
Subhalaxmi Co-operative:Subhalaxmi Co-op, one of India’s largest rural women’s cooperatives based in Jharsuguda, Odisha, works at the intersection of sustainable livelihood and women’s empowerment. Created by Vedanta Aluminium in 2008, it has grown to have over 4,100 women members today, hailing from 72 villages. The co-op enables aspiring women entrepreneurs with micro-finance, skill development, financial literacy, market linkage and a support system of thousands of equally ambitious women. It also links them to various government welfare schemes.
Unnati:Under ‘Unnati’, BALCO, Vedanta Aluminium’s Chhattisgarh-based subsidiary, the company is mobilizing women into Self-Help Groups (SHGs) and honing their skills for creating sustainable livelihoods. Through this project, BALCO is assisting women in creating an effective framework of SHGs and federations that enables them to access micro-finance services, engage in remunerative and sustainable livelihood activities, and empowers them economically. In this year alone, 90 new SHGs have been formed, taking the total to over 450 SHGs and 5,000 women members who greatly benefit under the various training modules of the project.
Sakhi Project:With‘Sakhi’, an initiative to empower women through skill training and livelihood generation opportunities, Vedanta Aluminium is promoting social and financial inclusion, livelihood generation, and enterprise promotion in an underserved region like Lanjigarh, in Kalahandi, Odisha. A federation called Shaktimayee Foundation, has been created to help the women get market linkages to promote and sell their products, while guiding them in accessing social security services and institutional credit resources. Sakhi focuses on integrating different income generating activities in farm and non-farm sectorsand creating an environment for nearly 4,000 women to develop greater agency and decision-making skills.
Reiterating the company’s developmental agenda on International Day of Rural Women, Mr. Rahul Sharma, CEO – Vedanta Aluminium, said, “Participation of women in the socio-economic and political sphere, especially from the rural belts of India, will be crucial for achieving sustainable outcomes in quality education, access to healthcare, gender equality, poverty alleviation, and end hunger & malnutrition. And therefore, Vedanta Aluminium is working towards bridging this disparity by enabling them with the skills, knowledge, and resources they need to self-empower. We aim to increase the reach of our developmental programs significantly in the coming years and at the same time, tailor our programs to help these women become resilient in the face of changing times.”
Vedanta Aluminium, a business of Vedanta Limited, is India’s largest producer of aluminium, manufacturing more than half of India’s aluminium i.e., 2.26 million tonnes in FY22. It is a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. Vedanta Aluminium ranks 4th in the Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI) 2021 world rankings for aluminium industry, a reflection of its sustainable development practices. With its world-class aluminium smelters, alumina refinery and power plants in India, the company fulfils its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow. www.vedantaaluminium.com.