To contribute to the empowerment of women in a community is akin to contributing to the development and progress of society. Essar Foundation has several women’s empowerment initiatives in place across locations to ensure that there is a mutually beneficial relationship between businesses and the communities that they interact with. Scholarships for young women, Essar Lok Vikas Kendras, healthcare initiatives for children and expecting mothers are just a few ways in which Essar Foundation is helping this relationship to thrive. Essar Lok Vikas Kendras have ensured that women across India develop skills, which can help them become self-sufficient.
On 9th March, Essar Steel and Essar Foundation organised an event to felicitate the women who have not only empowered themselves, but also enabled other women in their communities to move forward. These women have become ‘changemakers’ in their community. The awards were based on five categories - volunteering for community health, being elected as a panchayat member, setting a successful example of self-employment, entrepreneurship, and individual achievements that became an inspiration for other community members
Over 500 women participated in the event. They hailed from the villages of Hazira, Junagam, Suvali, Rajgari, Mora, Bhatlai, Damka and Vanswa. The invitees included health functionaries, trainees of Essar Lok Vikas Kendras, ASHA workers, Panchayat members, and office bearers of Sakhi Mandal (SHGs).
Essar Foundation salutes these changemakers, who are creating many more, in a movement that is set to empower the women of rural India.
Meet a few changemakers:
Ilabhen Mohan Bhai Patel
The village of Rajgari, Ilabhen Mohan Bhai Patel has helped over a thousand women to make better financial choices, by educating and advising them on savings, credit and financial planning. She works for a Non-Banking Financial Company, and her guidance has ensured
that women understand the nuances of saving, borrowing and planning better.
Jashu Bhen takes care of the Anganwadi centre in Suvali village. She has been working there for the past 28 years. She is one of the respected opinion leaders in the village and has worked tirelessly to better the lives of women, children, and adolescent girls in the village.
Asha Chetan Bhai Patel
For the past 5 years, Asha Chetan Bhai Patel, has been taking care of expecting mothers in her village, by assisting with regular checkups for them. She takes care of the health needs of about 1200 villagers. She coordinates with the Sarpanch on the healthcare front, to ensure
sanitation, hygiene and efficient waste management in the village.
Niriksha Bhen has been involved with the Essar Lok Vikas Kendra, Hazira for over 10 years now. Under her watch, 450 women have been trained in sewing, and 50 women have even established small tailoring businesses of their own. At 34, her dedication towards her work and family is a source of motivation to the women of her community.