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Spreading smiles: I

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The Essar Foundation is extending its support to communities across India through programs that promote holistic development

October 02, 2012 Bookmark and Share  

Essar has always endeavored to contribute meaningfully to the community it operates in and conduct business in a way that is both socially responsible and environmentally sustainable. The Essar Foundation has devised a 3E model – Entrepreneurship, Education and Environment – as its future-focused approach to sustainability. The Foundation's activities are divided across six focus areas — livelihoods and entrepreneurship, women's empowerment, health, education, infrastructure and environment. The Foundation engages with local NGOs and government institutions and actively encourages Essar employees to volunteer their time towards community development.

CSR with a difference
What sets the Foundation apart from other corporate is its focus on creating a culture of volunteerism among employees, where Essarites are encouraged to do their bit for society. Special programs and events are organized to give employees an opportunity to help the underprivileged members of the society and the credits earned by the employees helps Essar measure its CSR performance.

   A look at some of the efforts undertaken by the Foundation:
Essar Foundation and
its initiatives: Part I
Essar Foundation and
its initiatives: Part II
Essar Foundation and
its initiatives: Part III

In an effort to take its commitment to society to the next level, the Essar Foundation launched the One Million Hours program in February 2012 where the Foundation set an ambitious target of 1 million hours of staff volunteering. 

As part of the Million Hours program, Essar Foundation organizes road shows, special events and interventions. Each event not just facilitates meaningful exchange of knowledge, they serve to build an inclusive community and further the 3E directive of the Essar Foundation. The employee volunteering program kicked off in grand style in February 2012 with 64 employee volunteers creating a beautiful piece of art with 16 underprivileged children. The volunteers and children didn't just create a magnificent piece of art; they also created happy memories to last a lifetime.

Boosting education and employment
Education is a great leveler and many of Essar Foundation's programs revolve around furthering the cause of education. Volunteers from Essar Projects Jharkhand mentored standard 10 students by coaching them. In another unique program, volunteers at a school in Ulhasnagar (near Mumbai) prepared stationery kits for children. One of the reasons for children dropping out of school was the non-availability or expense of stationery and other school supplies. Organized in association with Umang Foundation, this event saw 16 Essar volunteers prepare 1,000 stationery kits for underprivileged school children.

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In Jamnagar, volunteers with the Essar Foundation teamed up with local NGOs to work towards the capacity-building of anganwadi caregivers (AWC), providing them the requisite skills for effective pedagogy. Essar volunteers created toys and learning aids from waste and other underutilized material, and all the learning material created were donated to the anganwadis of Jhakhar, Singach, Vadinar and Timdi villages in Gujarat.

The Foundation also celebrates local and international events to promote social causes. This year to commemorate Teachers' Day (September 5), Essar volunteers and their families spent the day with tribal teachers in the interiors of Wadi in Maharashtra. The volunteers visited the tribal school Tamarind Tree in Sogve Patil Pada Wadi in Dahanu and conducted a workshop to enable the tribal teachers with a better pedagogy of stories and performances for their pre-primary and primary students.

The Foundation celebrated World Literacy Day in September by organizing a story-telling and book-making session for school children in Mumbai and Hazira. This event was one of the many initiatives undertaken by the Essar Foundation aimed at 'building a reading India'.

The Foundation also promotes entrepreneurship and rural livelihoods by providing training to villagers in trades such as brick making and stitching. Towards this end, Essar set up the Industrial Training Centre in Keonjhar, Odisha; helps organize career fairs for rural youth; and lends assistance to women's self-help groups among other initiatives.

Some of the other activities that the Foundation undertakes are:

  • School enrolment drives
  • Teacher training sessions
  • Book pledge drives
  • Sports tournaments for rural youth

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