Hindustan Zinc Announces ‘Sakhi’ Awards 2014

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NGOs and SHG women will be recognized for their contribution towards socio-economic empowerment of rural women of Rajasthan

IndiaCSR News Network

UDAIPUR: Hindustan Zinc today announced “Hindustan Zinc Announces Sakhi Awards 2014” to honour the rural and tribal women who are attached with self-help-groups and various NGOs who are engaged in bringing socio-economic empowerment in the rural and tribal women of Rajasthan. The total of about 25 Sakhi Awards are divided into two categories giving credit to individuals and NGOs in Rajasthan.

The forms are available in Dainik Bhaskar offices across Rajasthan and can be downloaded from www.vedantasakhi.blogspot.in . Forms can also be received through mail vedantasakhi@gmail.com .

It is said, when you empower a rural women, you in-turn make a complete family socially and economically independent, thereby energizing the whole village and ultimately contributing towards the progress of a nation.

The rural women in India have been proving their mettle and strength in every sphere of life; be it house-hold work, agriculture, traditional crafts or liberal arts, rural women of India have always been in forefront and have even dominated the global fashion industry with their creativity and understanding of traditional art & craft skills. These rural and tribal women are now more confident and determined to manage their finances through banks while educating their children and supporting families.

Hindustan Zinc, a Sesa-Sterlite Limited company in zinc, lead, silver and wind-energy business, realized the potential of these women and decided to engage with them in different interest areas that are also feasible for them.

Hindustan Zinc started a campaign to bring social and economic empowerment amongst these rural and tribal women, particularly those who were residing near its business locations in Rajasthan. The initiative aimed at bringing about 10-15 women of similar creative minds, behaviour and temperament under a single platform of “Sakhi” Self-Help-Group.

Once part of the “Sakhi” group, these women are groomed through intensive vocational training in Non-Farm based activities that included tailoring, stitching, tie & dye, meenakari, terracotta, embroidery, artificial jewellery making, beautician, home-furnishing, to name a few. For women engaged in agriculture and livestock, Hindustan Zinc provided training in agriculture, poultry farming, goatery and other such projects, under the campaign “Sakhi”. As part of their 360 degree development, these women also went through exposure trips for understanding the implementation of modern agriculture practices. Adult education camps have also been organized to make these women literate.

Eventually, these rural and tribal women have come up as “Sakhi” rural women entrepreneur.

Formation of self-help-groups has never been an easy task. The rural system has its own customs and traditions but the biggest has been the social system. It was never easy to convince these women for joining the “Sakhi” self-help-groups and spare about 4-5 hours almost daily for learning different vocational traits. The support of family members was imperative and to convince the family was a challenging task. Hindustan Zinc’s CSR representatives spent hours together to convince the families and make them understand the socio-economic empowerment “Sakhi” initiative will eventually bring.

Hindustan Zinc campaign “Sakhi” has two broad objectives. One, to bring all the Hindustan Zinc self-help-groups’ rural and tribal women under single umbrella of “Sakhi” and to reckon them as a collective force to the outside world. Second is to provide them training and exposure that includes searching for new markets for product selling, bringing “Sakhi” products online and provide micro financing.

Hindustan Zinc has weaved its 475 self-help-groups into a single entity “Sakhi” that has brought together more than 6,000 rural and tribal women under a single umbrella “Sakhi” and made them rural women entrepreneurs.

“Sakhi” campaign has given Hindustan Zinc a unique opportunity and edge to further scale-up and strengthen self-help-groups and encourage millions of other rural and tribal women to come forward towards their socio-economic empowerment.

The campaign has been launched through a blog www.vedantasakhi.blogspot.in, which uploads the success stories of these women and other important information/extracts of reports. The other platform, Facebook www.facebook.com/vedantasakhi is a knowledge sharing platform and promotes the cause by organizing discussions and deliberations. Each “Sakhi” (as these women entrepreneurs are addressed) has a success story to narrate and every success story gives birth to hundreds of more success stories. “Sakhi” is a voice of these rural and tribal women and the campaign is destined to improve their social and economic life.

Hindustan Zinc is now focusing on formation of new “Sakhi” self-help-groups and extend their outreach towards market and product innovation.

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