Essar Foundation: Salaya-Gujarat Women has their own bag brand ‘Salaai’

IndiaCSR News Network

MUMBAI: Essar Foundation, Corporate Social Responsibility arm of Essar, has brought about a positive change in the lives of women of Salaya in Devbhumi Dwarka district of Gujarat.

The Salaai Stitching Centre was initiated in the year 2012 with support from the Vagher MusliEssar Foundationm Jamat and Rashidaben Suelmanbhai Bhaya, a socially active lady. Now, for the last three years, Stitching Centre has been running successfully and emerged as a steady source of income for women.

The bags produced by local women are being marketed under the ‘Salaai’ brand name. Rexine and leather are being used as material for making bags.

The centre also giving trainings for improving skills, like operating the specialised machines that help in advance sewing of the materials.

Training are being provided through a three-month module and is endorsed by a certificate of completion. Over 500 women in Salaya have successfully completed the training.

The Foundation has organised two exhibitions for promoting and selling the products at the Essar Oil Township in Jamnagar. In addition, the centre’s products have also been showcased at the national-level NABARD exhibition in Ahmedabad.

deepak-aroraDeepak Arora, CEO of Essar Foundation said, “Skill development and women’s empowerment are core objectives in our efforts to engage with the communities near the manufacturing locations of various Essar businesses. It is gratifying to see the bags selling in large quantities and meeting a nascent demand for such products. While the menfolk in the community are in the fishing profession, the women of Salaya have used their newfound skills to supplement their household income and gain financial independence.”

The Devbhumi Dwarka district is home to several Essar businesses including the 20 million tonne Essar Oil refinery, multiple Essar Power plants, as well as ports that manage dry bulk and liquid cargoes. Apart from Salaai, the Essar Foundation is working on various community initiatives to bring about sustainable development. Says Rashidaben Khira, the Salaai Stitching Centre manager, and Ayeshaben, a trainer at the centre: “The Foundation has brought about a marked improvement in the economic condition of local women. The Salaai-branded schoolbags and purses are in great demand. We are now receiving bulk orders both from Gujarat and other states.”

This initiative is part of Essar Foundation’s comprehensive strategy of empowering local women in various states.

According to Deepak Arora, the Foundation operates 10 Lok Vikas Kendras in Gujarat, Odisha, Madhya Pradesh, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh, West Bengal and Maharashtra through a slew of projects.

The projects are aimed at skill development and enterprise for women across activities like handicraft and apparel production, food processing, setting and operating sanitary napkin manufacturing units, and organising exhibitions and events promoting sales & marketing opportunities to trained women.

Essar Foundation is committed to maintaining the standards of CSR in its business activities and aims to make a difference to the communities around its manufacturing locations. Foundation has collaborated with key stakeholders, especially the local administration and institutions, to facilitate development with initiatives in education, livelihoods, women’s empowerment and health. The interventions are in line with the provisions under the Companies’ Act 2013. It impacts more than a million lives positively across 500 villages in eight states of India.

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