BALCO’s Women-Centric Initiatives Inspire Positive Change and Progress
The festival of Navratri, deeply rooted in celebrating the divine feminine and the victory of good over evil, highlights the enduring strength and resilience of women. It emphasizes the need to empower women in society, and recognizes their potential to overcome challenges, much like the revered goddesses. Empowering women is thus central to the spirit of Navratri, a celebration of their power to transcend obstacles, spark change in society, and triumph over inequalities.
Symbolizing this endeavour, BALCO is actively enabling women with the opportunities, skills, and support that ensure that they not only overcome barriers but also emerge as an inspiration for other women. These stories of resilience, determination, and success embody the true spirit of Navratri, where women rise above challenges and shine bright, bringing transformation.
Himanshi Gupta is a new graduate trainee working in the crucial potlines function at BALCO, one among the several female professionals working in the organization’s core manufacturing functions. A misconceived notion often prevails in society that manufacturing is a domain more suited to men. However, when people enquire about her work, she says, “When I mention I work in smelters, people ask if I have any female colleagues around me. My answer is not one, but many.” With a smile, she continues, “Numerous young girls and their parents express curiosity in learning more about careers in the manufacturing industry, seeking information about education and job prospects as I enthusiastically share my passion for my work.”
BALCO has created several women leaders in the organization. Suneela MVS working as Head – Project Management Officer at BALCO, is a shining example. Not only does she oversee BALCO’s expansion project, but she also mentors a team of engineers who support her in this role. She says, “Managerial skillsets should not be confined by gender boundaries. Diversity and inclusion are of paramount importance at BALCO, where women enjoy access to equal opportunities. In fact, I currently manage an all-female team. As a manager, I aim to inspire my young team members to grow in their careers and rise up the ladder of success.”
BALCO has not only been raising torchbearers in the organization but also female icons in the community through its various women centric CSR initiatives, redefining women’s potential.
Sarika from Dondro, Chhattisgarh shines as a beacon of hope for many girls in her community as she leads a wave of change by openly initiating dialogues around menstrual hygiene, breaking barriers and creating safe menstrual spaces. A torchbearer in her community, Sarika, is trained under BALCO Project Nayi Kiran, that aims at demystifying menstrual myths and taboos, developing sustainable hygiene practices during menstruation, and raising awareness about product choices. Her confidence in this domain stems from undergoing extensive Menstrual Health Management (MHM) capacity-building to ensure safe reproductive health. She quotes, “I don’t shy away from buying sanitary napkins or talking about menstruation with anyone. BALCO’s project Nayi Kiran has brought me hope like never before, and today, I encourage everyone around me to understand menstruation and engage in hygienic practices for a healthy, happy life.
Divya, a student in class 10 at Govt. Girls Higher Secondary School expresses her desire to be like her teacher. When asked why, she smiles as she looks at her teacher, Urmila, and says, “I like to study when Ma’am teaches me.” Urmila is one of the many government teachers comprehensively trained under BALCO’s Project Connect on teaching pedagogy and practical-based models to create a more favorable environment for learning.
Success is not achieved without embracing risks. It’s crucial to have the ability to identify opportunities and act upon them promptly. And Kajal, a 22-year-old did exactly that. She is one of the most skilled students in the electrical trade at Vedanta Skill School, a CSR project under BALCO that imparts skills to young individuals for sustainable livelihoods. More efficient than most of her male classmates, Kajal remains unstoppable each day, like her other female batchmates who aim to become self-reliant. She says, “Coming from a farming family, I’ve witnessed uncertainties in my livelihood, but my perseverance was undeterred. I defied all odds and ventured into this skill training in the electrical trade, which has transformed my life. Not only can my family now rely on me for a stable source of income, but also the girls in my community seek inspiration from me to support their families by becoming independent themselves.
Finding something you’re passionate about and maintaining a deep interest in it should drive you to achieve the ultimate goal. Dhaneshwari, a participant who benefited from BALCO’s ‘Chhattisa – regional cuisine recipe workshops’, expressed, “I had never imagined that I would develop the art and skill of not only making chocolates but also selling it. These workshops have equipped me and other participants with valuable skills, enabling us to generate additional income by selling handmade chocolates. Today, I am not only involved in chocolate production and sales but am also privileged to mentor other women aspiring to pursue chocolate making as a livelihood, while we adapt and lead in an ever-evolving world.” Dhaneshwari is one of the 5700 women who have been undergone skill training under BALCO’s Project Unnati for entrepreneurship and building sustainable livelihoods in FY 2023.
An empowered mother has the potential to pave the way for a healthier and more prosperous society. Informing mothers about the nutrition required for their babies is a crucial aspect of maternal and child health. Providing the right nutrition from the very beginning can have a profound impact on a child’s growth, development, and overall well-being.
Through its educational initiatives on the significance of nutrition for mothers and children, BALCO has succeeded in empowering young mothers in the surrounding communities like never before. Salma, a young mother, vividly remembers how the well-being of her son, Ruhan, was significantly improved through these sessions, which enlightened her about the importance of healthy eating habits and nutritious food. Today, Salma, along with 430 other mothers, envisions a brighter and healthier future for their children, who have been identified for nutrition rehabilitation through BALCO’s PD Hearth sessions in FY 2023.
These stories are just a glimpse of the numerous initiatives that BALCO has celebrated in its mission to create a world where every woman can harness her full potential. At BALCO, we believe empowering young girls and mothers towards better livelihood and independence is a transformative process that involves education, skill development, financial literacy, access to healthcare, and the removal of gender-based barriers. With over 50% diverse hiring in FY 2023 and by addressing these aspects, we not only work towards improving the lives of these individuals but also contribute to the development and progress of society as a whole.
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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