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Essar's CSR initiatives in East India

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Besides its robust business operations in four Eastern states, Essar has also undertaken focused welfare initiatives for the region's rural communities

June 18, 2012 Bookmark and Share  
Essar, besides focusing on its vast and diversified business portfolio in the Eastern region of India (Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha and West Bengal), has, through the Essar Foundation, adopted a multi-pronged strategy to address the many aspects of sustainable and responsible business.

   A look at some of the many events and activities undertaken by the Essar Foundation
   in the region:
Essar Foundation initiatives in Eastern IndiaCelebrating joyful learning
in West Bengal
Foundation brings joy of
learning to Chhattisgarh

The Essar Foundation works within the framework of the 3E model — Entrepreneurship, Education and Environment — to adopt a future-focused approach to sustainability. The Foundation's activities, divided across six focus areas —education, livelihoods and entrepreneurship, women's empowerment, health, infrastructure and environment — are based on the principles of good governance and equity.

The Foundation has taken up the cause of education with considerable commitment and focus. Most recently, it organized a unique Supplementary Education Support Program in West Bengal. The program reaches out to 22 schools in the state and is designed to introduce a holistic and integrated approach to education through innovative learning aids. All through May-June 2012, a teacher training-cum-workshop program was conducted where teachers were taught how to use the specially designed material to improve classroom learning. The Foundation tied up with IL&FS Education & Technology Services for the implementation of the program.

Many of the Essar facilities in the east are located in geographically remote areas, where access to quality education becomes a significant issue. In its effort to uplift the communities around its areas of operation, the Foundation has undertaken a number of education projects in these remote rural areas. In addition to building students' skills, the Foundation seeks to promote among students a sense of responsibility and respect for peers, mentors and the immediate environment.

The projects aim to nurture students' curiosity by using alternative and more practical methods of teaching. In addition to providing books, learning aids, utilities and basic infrastructure to schools in rural areas, the Foundation also builds schools in isolated areas. It has established two schools in eastern India.

Livelihoods and women empowerment
A large part of the Foundation's activities are focused on the development of the villages of India. And much of the work undertaken by the Foundation is spread across the four states in eastern India where Essar has an active presence. 

In August 2012, Essar Steel launched Essar Industrial Training Centre (ITC) at Telkoi in the district of Keonjhar (Odisha) in an effort to empower the local community and make the youth employable.

In June 2012, the Bastar Career Festival organized in Chhatisgarh by the district administration in collaboration with the Essar Foundation served to interact with students of the strife-torn region and show them various job options available through professional courses. A helpline was also launched with the aim of providing career guidance to students living in remote areas of the region.

The Foundation also organized a self-help group (SHG) fair at Dabuna in Odisha, which resulted in the formation of and lending guidance to more than 25 SHGs in the region. Similar activities have been undertaken in Chhattisgarh.

Rural India offers limited employment opportunities and extremely low earnings, particularly for rural women who are typically uneducated. The Foundation provides them the necessary skills training, which helps them not only establish SHGs but manage and build on them to increase their earning potential.

It also links enterprising women with microfinance institutions, thus giving women entrepreneurs crucial financial support that might not be otherwise available to them.

Health and infrastructure
Essar companies in the region participate in a number of voluntary activities within the area of community health. Regular blood donation drives are organized at Essar sites, witnessing enthusiastic participation by Essarites. World Blood Donor Day (June 14) was commemorated in Durgapur (West Bengal) where 143 people, including 47 villagers from the neighboring areas, Essar employees, vendors and contractors, stepped forward to donate blood. A similar activity was undertaken at Tori (Jharkhand) where 64 Essar employees volunteered to donate blood.

In August 2012, a three-day family planning camp was organized by the Foundation on the occasion of World Population Day, at the Community Health Centre (CHC) in Chandwa town, Jharkhand. Apart from disseminating information on birth control methods, the camp also provided facilities for 25 men and women to undergo birth control procedures at the camp itself.

The Foundation also invests in rural infrastructure to make basic amenities available to remote communities. It enables villagers to access the government's electricity distribution network including wiring, transformers and other equipment. It provides rural households access to solar electricity which is both low-cost and energy efficient. Several households in rural Odisha have benefited from the program. The Foundation has also installed street lighting at Raniganj in West Bengal.

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