BALCO’s Child Development Initiatives Shape a Brighter Tomorrow
As the nation celebrated Children’s Day on November 14, it was an opportunity to shine a spotlight on Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO)’s transformative initiatives to nurture holistic environments for children in rural Chhattisgarh. Recognizing that the early years of childhood lay the foundation for a child’s future, the company is actively contributing to the all-round development of the youngest members of its communities through initiatives aimed at creating a healthier, safer, and better future for them.
Nutrition is the cornerstone of a child’s overall health and well-being, playing a pivotal role in shaping their physical and cognitive development. BALCO has been creating awareness around the importance of nutrition with several mother and child health care interventions under its Project Arogya, which encompasses myriad health initiatives. The company is not only creating greater awareness of the importance of breastfeeding in reducing malnutrition among children but is also training mothers through sessions on caregiving and preparing nutritious recipes using the supplementary provisions available under the government’s Take Home Ration (THR) program. The sessions also include Q&A sessions and audio-visual showcases on nutrition-related information and have led to improved health for over 270 children in FY23.
Ms. Savitri refers to her experience as a ‘miracle’, as she shares the story of her 19-month-old son Shresth, whose health stabilized through BALCO’s interventions. She says, “Turning to expensive packaged supplements for Shresth’s nutrition was straining our finances. I fretted over his constant health issues. But BALCO’s training sessions emerged as a blessing! Today, Shresth weighs a sturdy 9 kgs, with the regular nutritional recipes I make using the rations from the Take-Home Rations program.”
Moreover, to ensure the well-being of adolescent girls, BALCO is promoting menstrual health and hygiene in rural communities. Demystifying menstrual myths and taboos and encouraging sustainable hygiene practices, the company under its Project Nayi Kiran has sensitized over 48,000 people through awareness sessions in Chhattisgarh state. Harshita from Azad Nagar village, 16 years old, says “Menstruation is a normal process of life, and we’re embracing this natural part of our lives with confidence. We are now more comfortable discussing it at home and with peers.”
BALCO’s impact also extends into the realm of improving children’s education. Preschool education is important for the developmental journey of a child as it paves the way for lifelong learning, cognitive development, and essential social skills. Hence, BALCO actively supports 58 Nand Ghars, which are modern Anganwadi centers supported by Vedanta that proactively work towards women and child development, imparting a best-in-class learning experience through interactive models such as BALA (Building as Learning Aid) paintings and digital learning. Through its Nand Ghars, BALCO has enhanced the attendance levels, learning abilities, and school readiness for over 4000 children in Chhattisgarh state in FY23.
High school education is no different; it acts as a critical juncture bridging foundational knowledge and future pursuits. BALCO through its Project Connect focuses on improving the learning environment in government schools for students in 9th – 12th standards by working on improving their grades through classroom learning, preparing teachers on pedagogical training, and offering career counseling services to students through its experienced employee volunteers. From conducting regular and remedial classes on SEMA (Science, English, Mathematics, and Accountancy) subjects to counseling dropout students to resume learning, the project ensures an enhanced educational environment, benefiting over 1200 students through direct intervention in three government schools near its operational vicinity, currently.
Appreciating BALCO’s efforts in nurturing a supportive environment for education in communities, Ms. Rini Dubey, Principal of Government Higher Secondary School, Godhi, expresses, “BALCO’s initiatives provide invaluable learning and preparation opportunities for our students, ensuring they are well-equipped for upcoming exams. The addition of career counseling support is a commendable initiative, guiding them in making informed decisions about their academic and career paths.”
BALCO’s efforts emphasize the importance of a holistic learning approach, through a diverse array of skill-building and personality development activities. It organizes annual summer camps for children within its communities, offering an eclectic mix of activities such as music, singing, Zumba, pottery, and painting. Additionally, the company contributes to personality development through English-speaking classes and specialized training sessions. It also proactively engages in plantation activities at schools and spreads information within nearby schools on essential knowledge such as protection against fire incidents and obeying traffic rules. The company also frequently distributes sports kits in communities, helping instill a love for sports and physical fitness among the children.
BALCO’s steadfast dedication to deploying comprehensive child development initiatives is a testament to its commitment to nurturing a better tomorrow. By empowering young lives with knowledge, skills, and a supportive environment, BALCO is building resilient, capable individuals poised to make a positive contribution to society.
Bharat Aluminium Company Limited (BALCO) is India’s iconic aluminium producer. It is owned 51% by Vedanta Limited and 49% by the Government of India and. BALCO is part of Vedanta’s Aluminium Business, a division of Vedanta Limited, which is India’s largest manufacturer of aluminium. BALCO operates a 0.57 million tonne per annum aluminium smelter in Korba, Chhattisgarh. It is also a leader in value-added aluminium products that find critical applications in core industries. With its world-class smelter and power plants, the company fulfills its mission of spurring emerging applications of aluminium as the ‘Metal of the Future’ for a greener tomorrow.
About Vedanta Limited
Vedanta Limited, a subsidiary of Vedanta Resources Limited, is one of the world’s leading Oil & Gas and Metals company with significant operations in Oil & Gas, Zinc, Lead, Silver, Copper, Iron Ore, Steel, and Aluminium & Power across India, South Africa, Namibia, and Australia. For two decades, Vedanta has been contributing significantly to nation building. Governance and sustainable development are at the core of Vedanta's strategy, with a strong focus on health, safety, and environment. Giving back is in the DNA of Vedanta, which is focused on enhancing the lives of local communities. Under the aegis of Vedanta Cares, the flagship social impact program, Nand Ghars have been set up as model anganwadis focused on eradicating child malnutrition, providing education, healthcare, and empowering women with skill development. Vedanta and its group companies have been featured in Dow Jones Sustainability Index 2020, and were conferred Frost & Sullivan Sustainability Awards 2020, CII Environmental Best Practices Award 2020, CSR Health Impact Award 2020, CII National Award 2020 for Excellence in Water Management, CII Digital Transformation Award 2020, ICSI National Award 2020 for excellence in Corporate Governance, People First HR Excellence Award 2020, ‘Company with Great Managers 2020’ by People Business and certified as a Great Place to Work 2021. Vedanta’s flagship Nand Ghar Project was identified as best CSR project by the Government of Rajasthan. Vedanta Limited is listed on the Bombay Stock Exchange and the National Stock Exchange in India and has ADRs listed on the New York Stock Exchange.
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