India CSR News Network
NEW DELHI: In honor of the International Day of Rural Women (October 15), Cairn India celebrates all the ordinary and remarkable rural women and recognizes their critical role in the rural economies. In India, women empowerment has different connotations. The socio-economic empowerment of women is a prerequisite for development of the society.
“Rural women are main agents for achieving the transformational economic, environmental and social changes required for sustainable development. Cairn India is committed to enhance the social status of rural women in its operational areas. We understand the importance of skill development and access to employment opportunities. The company has been consistently working towards initiating programs for regular mentoring and creating opportunities for their overall socio-economic enhancement.” Sudhir Mathur, Acting CEO of Cairn India Ltd said.
To develop and modernise anganwadis in the country, the Ministry of Women and Child Development and Vedanta signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to build 4000 next generation anganwadis – Nand Ghar, a first of its kind public private partnership. The Nand Ghars are in line with Prime Minister of India’s vision of social development through initiatives such as Digital India, Swachh Bharat and Skilling India.
Cairn India is committed to this path breaking initiative. The project Nand Ghar will help uplift the communities on a national scale by educating children, eradicating malnutrition and developing vocational skills among women in India. In alignment with the government’s Skill India initiative The Cairn Enterprise Centre (CEC) provided skill training, career counselling and linkage to employment opportunities to over 12,000 youth including women since 2007.
Through the Cairn Enterprise Centre (CEC), various income generation activities have also been introduced to empower women. CEC also provides financial support to help these women start their own businesses. Breaking the barriers of gender roles is the Masonry training initiative by Cairn in the region. In a move away from the usual vocational training courses for women such as sewing or craft-making, Cairn India has empowered 50 women to be trained masons.
The masonry training proved to be a great boon for Soni Devi, a 28 year old widow at Bhimda village in Barmer. As a value addition all the women participants of the masonry training are also being made literate through a special provisional literacy program specifically designed for them. This ensures that after completion of the training, the women are not only financially independent but are also empowered to face new challenges.
Today, Soni and other inspiring women masons are now helping to build toilets as part of the Swachh Bharat Abhiyan. Cairn India has also initiated the Dairy Development Program in Barmer where women are an integral important part. This Dairy Development Program is run through a model of a cooperative and women self help groups. The program helps women sustain their socio-economic status in the community.
The program has been expanded to 2,398 households and milk production has increased from 7,500 to 9,500 liters per day. In the remote, desert district of Barmer, farmers struggle to earn enough money to support their families. They raise a limited variety of crops and rarely introduce new innovation. Cairn’s Barmer Unnati project, in partnership with Gravis, is working with farmers to introduce new crops and innovate new livelihoods. Under this project, Dhapu, a village woman was introduced to Oyster mushroom cultivation. She sold 45 kg packed mushroom under the brand ‘Barmer Unnati’ to local hotels and restaurants and Barmer market. She has trained women in her village Self Help Group (SHG) and now manages a booming mushroom crop.
The initiative has not just made her an earning member of her family, but it has also empowered all the women associated with this program. Surasaniyanam is a remote village in East Godavari district in coastal Andhra Pradesh. Absence of requisite education and skills resulted in unavailability of sustainable livelihoods, increased migration and socio – economic challenges. The Ravva JV onshore terminal, operated by Cairn India, is the village’s first and only tryst with industrialization.
Here a unique initiative has been started called The Suraksha Project. Under this project, micro units of women self – help groups produce various articles of daily use. One such example is broom making unit, started in December 2014 with 6 women as direct beneficiaries. Today, about 120 poor households from the project area are tied-up with this brooms unit as raw sticks suppliers.
The Suraksha brooms and Suraksha Agarbatti making unit is touching the lives of community members in villages around Cairn India’s operational areas in Ravva. The project has helped women, who are the driving force of this business, to save money, live a better life and help educate their children.
Cairn India, through various unique initiatives, aims to encourage more women to cross social barriers and chart out a new future for them and their families.