Mahan Coal Limited Empowering Women in Singrauli

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Thanks to Mahan Coal Limited and its various CSR initiatives towards inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development, lives of locals around its projects are being transformed.

Mahan Mahila Stitching Centre, a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of Mahan Coal Limited is working towards women empowerment in and around Singrauli district in the state of Madhya Pradesh. By imparting training in essential earning skills, the organization is helping these women evolve into self-assured, economically independent individuals.

IndiaCSR News Network

SINGRAULI (Madhya Pradesh): Lalita Shah, 21 daughter of Lalla Prasad Shah of Amiliya village is self-employed and earns Rs 200 per day through sewing. Like her over 100 womenfolk from the three villages of Amiliya, Budher and Suggo villages in Singrauli have been trained and certified in sewing at the Mahan Mahila Stitching Center, a CSR initiative of Mahan Coal Limited.

Manju Pandey 26, wife of Indradev Pandey of Amiliya village and a mother of two is self employed and earns a monthly income of Rs 4500 per month. “ I feel confident as my earnings have helped improve the lives of my family members, especially our two children. Learning sewing has opened up a new world of freedom for me.”, she says. Villagers, especially the womenfolk feel that Mahan Mahila Stitching Center has not only created avenues for earning but also empowered women to get out of their homes, learn new life skills and become more confident. Thanks to Mahan Coal Limited and its various CSR initiatives towards inclusive and sustainable socio-economic development, lives of locals around its projects are being transformed.

Since its opening, Mahan Mahila Stitching Centre has trained over 100 women in the basic skill of sewing; it currently runs batches of 30 students, for a duration of 4 months.

Life skills training facilitates an empowered, economically-independent future for the womenfolk of Singrauli district, especially in the backward villages of Amiliya, Budher and Suggo.

80% of the womenfolk have taken up sewing as a self-employment income generation activity, many of them today earn about Rs 250-300 per day. Previously these women did not even venture out of their homes.

A simple skill has redefined the social standing of the through empowerment, imparting self-confidence and driving economic freedom.

The success of the program under the Mahan Mahila Stitching Center has been unprecedented. Ramakant Tiwari, Chief Executive Officer, Mahan Coal Limited observes, “It is indeed remarkable how the village women have converted a simple skill into a source of income generation to support themselves and their families. As many as 80% of the women, who have completed the course, have bought their own sewing machines and are self-employed today.”

Ramakant TiwariHe says, “The success of this initiative further reinforces the progressive attitude of villagers and their ability to understand how development and economic freedom are critical to progress. At Mahan Coal Limited, we are committed to the overall development of the local populace around our project areas to create inclusive and sustainable socio-economic progress. As a logical next step, we will work towards handholding of some of the trained women to turn into entrepreneurs and facilitate setting-up of a business centre for stitching of readymade garments.”

Ram Kripal Singh Khairwa, ex Sarpanch, Amiliya Panchayat said, “The Mahan Mahila Stitching Center is a useful initiative which is helping our womenfolk not only earn but gain greater confidence and participate in home and village matters in a more assertive manner. We look forward to participate in the economic and overall development of our village with corporates like Mahan Coal Limited setting up projects in our areas. We believe development which takes care of locals through genuine dialogue, employment creation and overall progress of the local area is welcome and key to our future growth.”

Mahan Mahila Stitching Centre, a Corporate Social Responsibility initiative of Mahan Coal Limited is working towards women empowerment in and around Singrauli district in the state of Madhya Pradesh. By imparting training in essential earning skills, the organization is helping these women evolve into self-assured, economically independent individuals. Consequently, it is bringing forth a transformation in the socio-economic landscape of the region. Currently, it imparts training to women, albeit on a larger scale. Today, the Centre has scaled up to a two-room institution, offering a four-month program in sewing. Each program comprises of two batches of 30 women. The program has been developed under the National Commission of Vocational Training and a certificate is provided to candidates on successful completion.

Manju Pandey (w/o Indradev Pandey, Amiliya), Lalita Shah (d/o Lalla Prasad Shah, Amiliya), Yashoda Kharwar (d/o Lalla Prasad Kharwar, Budher), Indramati Bind (d/o Hiralal Bind, Budher) and over 125 womenfolk from the 3 villages are testimony to this revolution brought about by Mahan Coal Limited in and around its project areas where sewing was an unfamiliar skill about three years ago. Not only do the children are no more seen in torn clothes but it has become a self-employment avenue for the womenfolk of the village.

The Discovery of a Need

In March 2011, the organization conducted a socio-economic survey of the 3 villages by the reputed Xavier Institute of Development Action and Studies (XIDAS), Jabalpur. The survey and thereafter-ongoing field surveys and interaction by the CSR team revealed that the women were startlingly timid – shy of interacting with anyone, including women from outside the village. Their lack of confidence was attributed to illiteracy and the lack of basic life skills. For instance, the company volunteers observed that young children were moving around the village in tattered clothes. The survey revealed that the women were not acquainted with the basic skill of stitching, even for their own children and family members.

Realizing the urgent need for training in essential life skills, Mahan Coal Limited initiated the Mahan Mahila Stitching Centre in December 2011 as part of its CSR initiatives. The first batch comprised of a group of 25-30 illiterate women. Besides the basic infrastructure of a classroom and rugs, they were equipped with four hand and four leg machines. They were taught stitching under the guidance of Ms.Kamaljeet Kaur, a veteran social worker in Singrauli district, who has been teaching sewing as a part various CSR programs like the Northern Coal Field. She has over four decades of experience in running various courses in sewing in Singrauli.

An Empowering Initiative

The basic objective of this initiative is to teach women stitching. However, it also provides the hitherto shy womenfolk with a platform to interact with each other. This opportunity is helping them open up by instilling a great deal of confidence in them.

Mahan Coal Limited, a joint venture between Essar Power Limited and Hindalco Industries Limited, was formed in 2006 to develop the coal block. The end use projects of both the Organizations, being constructed at a total investment of close to Rs 20,000 crore, have started operations in 2013. The project will support the livelihood of nearly 15,000 families during its entire lifespan.

As a responsible corporate citizen, Mahan Coal Ltd has been working on community development and social welfare projects in the three villages around its project site. These villages have a total population of more than 4500. The social development engagement began much ahead of the coal block development, and covers areas of health, education, sustainable livelihoods, and widow pensions.

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