Women are empowered when they receive education, employment and sound healthcare. In an equal and just society, they also need to have a say in decision-making. To help women find their rightful place in society, Essar Foundation has adopted several skill development initiatives, and has set up training centres for tailoring and food processing at many places in Odisha.
The training centre at Balidia village of Nuagarh Panchayat, Paradeep, runs two batches for 20 women and young girls. An instructor conducts monthly exams, periodic evaluations and ensures the smooth functioning of the centre. While the centre supported 12 trainees to graduate, it also helped them secure orders for designing and stitching dresses for customers. The Essar stitching centre is thus supporting women to earn a livelihood through the skill imparted to them.
Similar centres have been set up at the Essar Lok Vikas Kendra at Bijaychandrapur (Handia) Village and at Dabuna in Odisha. While the former has two batches comprising 20 trainees, the latter has 10 trainees, with another 15 about to join in.
Training on food processing and phenyl production, and on other skill development initiatives, have been introduced under the aegis of Project Aajeevika. As many as 13 self-help group (SHG) members at Paradeepgarh Village, Paradeep (Odisha), have started commercial sale of bori (a lentil-based snack that is deep fried and widely used in eastern Indian cuisine), generating additional income for each member. Members of Maa Laxmi centre at Dabuna prepared 29 litres of phenyl, which was sold to customers. At Essar Pvt. ITI, Telkoi, Dabuna, 21 trainees are being trained in electrical trade. Following the SCVT syllabus, the trainees study trade theory, engineering drawing, employability skill training, workshop calculation, and science, with practical classes.
With a commitment to support and start more such initiatives, Essar Foundation aims to spread social and economic independence to more women in the remote areas of Odisha.