Cairn India Empowers Rural women

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India CSR News Network

JAIPUR: 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.Skill training  is still a far cry for women in most of the rural India, where even stepping out of their household is a big achievement.

The company conducts specific CSR programs for the upliftment of rural women in its areas of operations – Rajasthan, Gujarat and Andhra Pradesh. The company undertakes targeted interventions built on the micro enterprise framework of skill development. The objective is to provide income generating opportunities to these women so that they can support themselves and their families. Improvement in their economic conditions also helps elevate the social stature of these women, who get more say in decision-making at homes and in the society.

Cairn India organizes programs on tailoring units, farming products, masonry training, maternal and child healthcare programs, sanitary napkin production units, job counseling for young women etc.

Trained Women Masons break taboos, build toilets for Swachh Bharat Abhiyan

A group of 26 women broke all social taboos to enroll themselves at Bhimda Spoke Centre, Rajasthan for a skill training course in masonry. This vocational programme is offered by Cairn India in partnership with ILFS Skills.

The three-month programme consists of using modern methods of teaching, including use of multimedia & audio visual aids, and practical hands-on training. During this period, apart from learning the technical skills, the enrolled women also imparted functional literacy. As a result, they can now sign their name, count currency notes and even read documents. The programme ensured that these women are not only financially independent but are also equipped to face the world confidently.

After completing the training, these women are currently working as masons for constructing toilets under Swachh Bharat campaign of Government of Rajasthan, supported by Cairn India. They now earn an average Rs. 500-600/day, something unimaginable for them even a few months ago. With increased income and a new socio-economic status, this has been path defining moment for them. Today, their opinion is sought in all family matters and they are seen as winds of change in the village.

Shugni Devi, a 44 year old graduate of the programme, is now treated with more respect and dignity. “I am confident of speaking my mind now. The training programme is changing the lives of women in each house of our Dhani (village). I hope Cairn India continues this initiative”  said Shugni.

Incense stick making in Jamnagar

In Khijadiya village, Jamnagar District, local women were trained to make incense sticks. Conducted with the help of NGO CEDRA, 27 women participated in the inaugural batch. These women were then introduced to the incense-stick market in Dhrol and Rajkot to further help them convert their learning into actively earning livelihood. This training was much appreciated by not just by the women but also by the Sarpanch and other important members of the village. Encouraged by the response, this programme will be taken forward to other villages in the district.

Like most women of her village Khiijadiya, Ritaben Dineshbhai Danidhariya used to spend most of her time doing household work or helping her husband in farming. 7th standard pass out and mother of four children, she enrolled in the training program just to learn a new hobby.It was only when she started taking the sessions that she realized this learning could convert into a source of income for her family.  Ritaben is now forming a Self Help Group with other women of her village to increase production. She plans to buy a machine soon to take the production on a larger scale.

Tailoring Training for Women of Morbi district, Gujarat

Implemented in partnership with CEDRA, a local NGO – a tailoring program was first inaugurated in Pipalyaraj village of Morbi district. The program saw participation by 24 young women. Encouraged by their response and interest shown by the Sarpanch and community, a second training program was organized in Palasdi village. 26 young women registered and participated in the training. After successfully completing of the program, more than 50% of the trainees are now gainfully engaged doing professional tailoring work on their own – and augmenting their household income.

Jasmin, the eldest among five siblings, joined the two-and-half month tailoring program to supplement her family income.After completion, she started stitching her own dresses and slowly moved to stitching clothes for family and neighbors. In a few months she has managed to establish a steady stream of customers for her tailoring work.  She now dreams of starting her own label and take her work outside the village.

Barmer Unnati – Mushrooms: Building a New Industry

The barren lands of Barmer support only a limited variety of crops and farmers rarely introduce new innovations.

Through ‘Barmer Unnati’-in partnership with Techno Serve- Cairn India is helping local farmers to introduce new crops and improve livelihoods. One such new crop is oyster mushroom. The Barmer Unnati team believed mushrooms would be an ideal livelihood for local women because of its limited labor requirement and short need for winter growing season.

The team helped farmers set up oyster mushroom cultivation units in their yards. Each unit consists of 20 three-kg bags of spore and straw, costing approximately INR 1,000 total to set up. Each unit is expected to produce a total of 60 kg of mushrooms. Just a few weeks into this pilot, four of the seven farmers have begun harvesting high-quality mushrooms for sale and home consumption.

To connect the farmers to market, the project team provided post-harvest handling, packaging and marketing, selling the mushrooms under the “Barmer Unnati”  brand. The team is broadening its marketing effort by reaching out to other local institutions, including the military. And because of the high quality of the mushrooms, initial buyers have expressed interest in purchasing more.

Based on this initial success, the seven cultivators are scaling up their production and women across the district are taking up mushroom cultivation as an additional source of income for their families.

Supporting Modern Banking Program in Barmer

Chanchal Jain, a 23 year old, smart & talented college going girl, is a part of the new generation Barmer girls who has dared to dream beyond conventional jobs and join corporate life. Belonging from a conservative family of Jain community in Barmer district Chanchal had always dreamt of joining a reputed corporate and creating an identity of her own. However like other college going youths of the district she had no idea how to make her dreams true, until this day.

The inputs shared in the seminar gave her a way ahead and that very day she made her decision of her career and there was no looking back.

The first step towards success began at CEC (Cairn Enterprise Centre) where Chanchal along with other youths of Barmer were trained for entrance test of HDFC. In a month long course they were not only taught aptitude, numeric ability and English proficiency but their Personality was also groomed to make them ready for corporate life.

With this strong foundation, Chanchal was immediately selected by HDFC and was sent for in house training at Jaipur.After completing the two month course now Chanchal has been offered an executive Bankers role in Barmer branch of HDFC Bank with a salary of 15,000rs. per month. Chanchal has made her first step to the career in the corporate Sector and now a model for many girls of her age in Barmer who dreams of creating an identity of their own and prove they are no less than boys of the district.

Chanchal says “The feeling of achieving something that you always dreamt of is speechless. It took me quite a long time to develop a voice, and now that I have it, I am not going to be silent”

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