Vedanta Providing Employability, Entrepreneurship for Students via CSR

Neelima Khetan

Employability, Innovation and Entrepreneurship can be best realised through sustained efforts and investments in education. At Vedanta, we believe in the importance of focusing on entire spectrum in education, says Neelima Khetan, Group CSR Head, Vedanta Resources Plc & Vice President, CSR, Hindustan Zinc Limited, in conversation with Elets News Network (ENN).

Vedanta has initiated a signature CSR project “Nand Ghar”. Tell us how it has been contributing towards nation building?

The Government of India, as part of fulfilling its Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) has been running Integrated Child Development Scheme (ICDS) with the objective to promote preschool education, eradicate child malnourishment and promote safe birth practices among mothers. The government delivers these services through a network of 13.7 lakh Anganwadis reaching over 8.5 crore infants and nearly 2 crore pregnant and lactating women across India.

As part of our commitment to nation building, Vedanta signed a MoU with the Government of India to modernise this network. The Nandghar Project is committed to the Prime Minister’s national vision of eradicating child malnutrition, providing education, healthcare and empowering women with skill development.

As part of our pilot for Project Nand Ghar, the team has rolled out nearly 100 modern Anganwadis “Nand Ghars” equipped with solar panels, TVs, toilets and a stimulating environment in four States. Special focus has been laid on improving learning outcomes for children and improving capacities of the last mile government workers for ensuring long term sustenance of the results.

In a unique addition to the Anganwadi idea, local women are being provided end-to-end support for promoting entrepreneurship at each Nand Ghar. More than 1,600 women benefited from the training programme in this FY and 158 of them have started their micro enterprises.

Education is one of the CSR activities of Vedanta. Tell us how the organisation’s CSR activities are contributing towards enhancing students’ employability, innovation and entrepreneurship?

Employability, innovation and entrepreneurship can be best realised through sustained efforts and investments in education. Working with the objective to reduce the widespread gap for education and employment in rural and urban areas, Vedanta has rolled out targeted interventions in education and entrepreneurship. At Vedanta, we believe in the importance of focusing on the entire spectrum in education. Accordingly, we are working on preschool, secondary school, college education, and skilling.

EmployabilitySome data reflecting on our reach is –

  • Impacting lives of almost 2,60,000 children through our school programmes and over 1,00,000 children below 6 years through our preschool initiatives.
  • In FY 2016-17, Vedanta trained a total of 1,7091 youth under different trades, ranging from electrician, data entry to highly skilled vocations like jumbo drill operators. We are working closely with the National Skills Development Corporation and proud to be contributing to this national                                                                            priority.
  • Working with the government and nongovernment partners, our KHUSHI project reaches 3,089 Anganwadis in Rajasthan, with a focus on 0 to 6-year-old children in communities.
  • Our “Shikhsa Sambal” project works with government senior secondary schools near our operational areas to strengthen teaching of Science, English and Maths (SEM) subjects.
  • Our “Unchi Udaan” project is built upon the Shiksha Sambal project where we identify promising students from government schools near our operations and provide them with residential schooling and coaching support to qualify for the IITs.
  • Our Yashad Sumedha Scholarship supports students at government engineering colleges in Rajasthan hailing from families who have an annual earning of less than Rs 1 lakh.
  • The Vedanta Post Graduate Girls College at Ringus is another institution where girls from communities near HZL locations are fully supported to pursue their education.

Direct Economic Impact through SHGs in FY 2016-17
Total number of SHGs 3,216
Total members in SHGs 38,765
SHGs engaged with livelihood activities 193
SHG members engaged in income generation activities 3,815
No. of women who established micro enterprises 1,464
  • The Hindustan Zinc Ltd (HZL) Mining Academy takes in about 100 plus ITI pass youth for an intensive 18-month program, after which they get placed in lucrative jobs in the mining sector across the country.
  • Our Jeevan Tarang initiative focuses on differently abled children, building capacities of institutions that educate them, in ways that help to impart effective education and skilling of their students.
  • So to answer your question – the key is a focused, comprehensive and long term approach which is sustained and measured.

Vedanta has floated a lot of schemes for women empowerment, especially of the rural location. Tell us how it has helped in their skill development and livelihood?

Development of society is closely linked with development of women. Which is why empowering and encouraging women lies at the core of all our CSR programs. We do it through embedding a gender perspective in most of our programs, but also we do it through direct interventions with women. The world over, women’s Self Help Groups (SHG) have successfully and systematically empowered marginalised women through awareness raising, capacity building, economic empowerment and solidarity. At Vedanta too, we are working with women’s Self Help Groups across several of our locations.

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