"Tell me and I forget. Teach me and I remember. Involve me and I learn."
How true are these memorable words of Benjamin Franklin, polymath and one of the founding fathers of the United States. Involving children in valuable projects ensures that they learn good habits and later adopt these best practices in their daily lives.
Environment awareness is a strong focus area for the Essar Foundation and to further its cause, the Foundation from time to time organizes school awareness programs on environment and biodiversity, sensitizing kids towards global conservation efforts.
When the monsoon arrived this year in Mumbai, India, the Essar Foundation, sought to make the best of the weather by inviting Essarites to accompany 50 kids on a nature trail right in the heart of the bustling city.
The group traveled to the Maharashtra Nature Park, which is a man-made reserve
created in Dharavi, one of the the most congested spaces of the city. Twelve volunteers accompanied the students (aged
between 10 and 12) from one of Mumbai's non-profit schools on the day-trip that involved a three-hour journey through dense grasslands and
The children learned about the biodiversity of the Western Ghats – the different species of birds and butterflies, trees and flowers. They were also taught about vermi-compost and organic farming.
At another event earlier this year, around 100-odd children from 15 schools in Jamnagar, Gujarat, participated in a 'no plastics' campaign organized by the Essar Foundation. Today, these students boycott plastic and use cloth bags instead.
And at every event in these schools, including Bal Vividha, a festival held at Timdi village in Jamnagar district in February, and which saw 3,000 children from 22 schools in attendance, they make sure that no plastic is used. They also ensure that there is no littering at the events.
Indeed, looking at the success of the 'no plastic' campaign at Jamnagar, the Essar Foundation plans to extend this to another 75 schools supported by the company over the next one year. The Foundation promotes environmentally-responsible living among India's rural and tribal communities, besides encouraging children to adopt environmentally-friendly practices.
The success of its environment program is reflected in the fact that over 10,000 students have been educated on environmental responsibility. The Foundation conducts awareness programs for children, focusing on the importance of preserving nature.
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Essar marks World
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|Initiatives at Essar Oil, Vadinar||Initiatives at Essar Steel Hazira|
It encourages schools and students to participate in the annual national-level painting competition, organized by the Union Power Ministry and the Bureau of Energy Efficiency, which focuses on energy conservation and efficiency. The Essar Foundation coordinates with the district administrations and ensures that all schools participate in the competition.
It also conducts orientation programs for teachers, besides screening environmental films for the benefit of children. Activities such as awareness sessions at schools, colleges and through community meetings on the need to protect the environment and conserve scarce natural resources are also taken up. Educational videos, posters, competitions and campaigns are employed to explain topics of local significance to rural communities that live near Essar facilities.
In fact, the Foundation works closely with communities living near its facilities to protect the environment. Importantly, it ensures that the environmental balance is maintained by blending the traditional knowledge of local communities with contemporary technology.
The objectives of its environmental program include:
- Increase environmental awareness
- Conserve natural resources and improve waste management
- Promote villages as an integrated eco-system
- Encourage use of alternate sources of energy
Essar has planted more than a million plants across its operating sites and has preserved more than 20 plant species that were in danger of becoming extinct.
The Foundation also encourages water conservation through harvesting wells, developing wastelands and constructing check dams. It provides community water storage to improve the ground water conditions in water-scarce areas and provides equipment such as solar panels to encourage the use of renewable energy. The panels are distributed to people at its project sites and in the neighboring villages. The program also enables access to various government projects that promote the use of alternative energy.
The company took up a project to preserve and sustain the environment around the Lonavla-Sahyadri region in Maharashtra. It introduced coco-peat farming, which preserves the mountain soil, ensuring sustainability of the eco-system. It also prevents soil erosion at the Sahyadri habitat.
It is through initiatives like these that the company, through the Essar Foundation, is paving the path towards a greener tomorrow.
The 3E framework
The company promotes entrepreneurship by providing skills, creating new
business opportunities and nurturing social development. The Essar Foundation
is helping rural communities become self-sufficient and sustainable by
providing training in self-employment and supporting entrepreneurship.