New Delhi: ‘Subhalaxmi Bahumukhee Mahila Samabaya Samiti Limited’- a women organisation has emerged as a model community-based organization in Jharsuguda district of Odisha. For the past decade, the organisation has been silently brewing a movement of entrepreneurship and empowerment. Commonly known as ‘Subhalaxmi Cooperative, the all-women organisation is the flagship CSR project of Vedanta Ltd., Jharsuguda in ‘Sustainable Livelihood & Women Empowerment.’
Started with ten women, Subhalaxmi had earned the trust of people and garnered a membership count of nearly 3800 women belonging to 315 Self-Help Groups to date. Women of Jharsuguda who earlier barely ventured beyond their hamlets, today own and run enterprises like fast food centers, packaged snacks, poultry farms, vegetable farms, grocery stores, beauty parlors, tailoring centers and many more.
Abhijit Pati, CEO – Vedanta Ltd. says, Jharsuguda, Subhalaxmi Co-op is a shining example of how companies and community can work together to build an institution of social good.
“We are proud to have contributed to financial inclusion, social security, and entrepreneurial development of thousands of women in Jharsuguda. Subhalaxmi is only of the beginning of all that we can achieve, and achieve we will”, says Pati.
Each member of Subhalaxmi has access to facilities like savings, loans, technical & skills training for enterprise development. The organisation has a special provision called- ‘Udyami Fund’ through which budding entrepreneurs can avail higher loan amounts, specialized training, help with raw material and market linkages, and machinery procurement.
Subhalaxmi also has a welfare fund- ‘Mahila Kalyan Panthi,’ created with contributions from all members, which helps support its members during critical phases in their lives, like pregnancy, matriculation of children, death in the family and so on.
The seed of this movement was sown by the then Vedanta Jharsuguda CSR team along with ACCESS Development Services, an NGO with a strong footprint in creating successful livelihood projects and strengthening community institutions.
Subhalaxmi has many laurels to its name, like the Vedanta Chairman CSR Award, FICCI CSR Award, India CSR Award, Fame Excellence Award, Greentech CSR Award, Best CSR Practice award in Odisha CSR Conclave, etc.
As of now, Subhalaxmi is the biggest women’s cooperative movement in western Odisha. With its Vision 2020 set on achieving financial inclusion of 5000 households in Jharsuguda, the organistaion aims to establish a women’s cooperative bank in the long run.