Education scenario in the entire district of Keonjhar is far from encouraging. The reasons are multiple, varied and genuine. Overall education development indices of Tata Sponge’s operational panchayats also depict negative results. Thus consciously company has taken up three major initiatives in the field of education ie. AVAILABILITY, ACCESS and QUALITY.
Education has been the prime intervention basket to build a strong foundation on Early Childhood education (pre-primary level). Company is supplementing government efforts in strengthening Early Childhood Education and Care (ECEC) by establishing Model Anganwadi Centers(AWC) at remotest un-reachable areas with all amenities inside for the kindergarten and staff of Anganwadi. Scaling from three now to Eleven such institutions have been built with an area of 10 plus decimal of land having special like a specious classroom, office room, kitchen & store room, long verandah to take MDM (Mid-Day-Meal), toilets, water facility and compound wall (wherever necessary), etc. All the walls have been adorned with a number of child friendly paintings based on the preschool syllabus (BaLA Painting), to aid the teaching & learning processes. Tata Sponge has provided smokeless burners at all AWCs as the firewood earlier used in kitchens smoke throughout the year causing unnoticeable health hazards for the toddlers.
This model is highly appreciated and now getting replicated by Women & Child Development Department (ICDS), state government to all other feasible locations of the district. Meanwhile, the Anganwadis are reaping the benefits of these improvements – in terms of ensuring presence of higher number of students in the classes and delivery of better pre-primary standards, including a better health regime being followed for these kids. This is one of the best practices narrated, company has many more such to share. These centers have been built keeping in mind the requirements of children from inaccessible mountain covered villages. Several training sessions were conducted for Anganwadi workers to promote quality pre-school teaching for over 2,000 children.
PRIMARY LEARNING CENTER
Education has been the prime intervention basket of Company to build a strong foundation from Early Childhood. The company is also supplementing government efforts in strengthening Primary Education by establishing Primary Learning Centers (PLC) at remotest un-reachable areas. This initiative is over & above the regular formal classes that children attend in schools during morning hours. Though physical infrastructure is no more a concern of these areas, resources in terms adequate teaching staff is extremely low. The students’ teacher ratio is as high as unmanageable. Thereby, off and on classes are running. Long absenteeism of teachers is an added problem attached to each periphery schools.
In order to guarantee minimum basic education to these children, company started PLC in five periphery schools for two hours daily beyond school hours. With a target to minimum 30 students per center, company followed a stringent process of recruiting local educated youths who had a bent of mind to impart education to these small children. These teachers were trained by ASPIRE and had conducted summer camps in the schools that lasted for 45 days. Around 14 local youths gone thru written and Personal Interviews conducted by Vidya Shakti Niyas (VSN). It was by design girls from AA community were chosen for all five centers.
Company took the District Education Office, Keonjhar in loop who welcomed the idea of PLC and permitted VSN to improve the quality of education. Five trained teachers by using multiple teaching learning materials and play-way method of education, engage these little hearts and ensured increased attendance in their schools. Parents of these kids who initially were of any interest, now guiding them till school on daily basis. The classes commenced from July 2018 after a vivid orientation of their roles, responsibilities, schedule. VSN is paying @5000/- month to each teacher.
For recognizing education and information as key enablers for all round development of higher class students of neighbouring five panchayats, Tata Sponge CSR team Vidya Shakti Niyas (VSN) in association with Vis working on creating an effective, supplementary system for education project name as Pre-Matric Coaching Classes (PMC). The PMC project seeks to improve the overall academic achievement of students studying in classes 8th, 9th and 10th particularly emphasizing on the subjects of Mathematics, English & Science. The concept practically stresses on providing remedial coaching by reaching out to students from class 8th onwards and to prepare them for the larger goal to pass and secure better grades in Matriculation examination. Pre-matric coaching is one of the key educational interventions of Tata Sponge’s social responsibility to ensure that quality education is made accessible to the deserving students from marginalized communities. The coaching is provided to strengthen the basic concept of subjects, which then reflects their performance during matriculation. In this financial year, pre-matric coaching classes is running in three High Schools (Bileipada, Deojhar, & Kandara).
Tata Steel Technical Institute (TSTI, Burma Mines) promoted by Tata Steel Skill Development Society (TSSDS) has earned promising name in offering Diploma courses in two streams i.e. Mechatronics (Mechanical + Electronics) and Electrical & Electronics. So far, placement record of students has been quite encouraging and its 100%. The three years’ diploma is both for boys and girls, having hostel with canteen facilities. This prompted Tata Sponge to forge partnership with Tata Steel for scouting prospecting youths for technical education and shaping their lives positively in right direction.
In absence of sheer encouragement from parents, even interested students of this region fail to pursue higher education as they will have to be away from family. Thereby, either they drop-out in middle of education or, have to remain satisfy through any adhoc engagement. TSIL re-designed its scholarship scheme in such a way that maximum students from D&T will avail the benefit of such technical courses from similar institute of repute. Scouting of students went on in full swing in five neighboring panchayats from 10th pass students possessing 50% in Math & Science subject and maximum 21 years of age with a preferential treatment to PWD & D&T Girls. The total tuition fees for 3 years (6 semesters) calculated to be around 3.5 lakhs excluding hostel cost around 90k for 3 years. Proposal about the scheme has been put up for approval with following structure:
- 90% (max) support of training cost by Tata Steel (subject to qualifying sponsorship criteria)
10% training cost to be borne by the student (which can be waived in case of extreme poverty and proper justification & physical check by TSSDS).
- Tata Sponge Contribution- Rs. 3000/- per student per month. (To be paid to TSSDS @ Rs. 36000/- yearly, in advance- in July every year).
- Out of Rs 3000/-, stipend @ Rs 1300/- to be paid to each student to partially cover monthly mess food cost (which is approx Rs. 3000/- pm) and balance Rs. 1700/- to be taken as contribution towards training cost.
Senior management has accorded its approval for such a great move towards Company’s AA endeavors. Simultaneously, Tata Steel welcomed such convergence for agreed sponsorship to all five D&T students. After due diligence of individual applicant, a total of 12 eligible students sat for online test in the institutes and five (2 girls+3 boys) qualified in the test followed by PI.
The family member is now dreaming BIG which is evident on their faces while CSR officials interacts with them. The local people representative expressed their happiness that five children from their vicinity have been able to start their 3-year Diploma program at TSTI. The return on these social investments which are never calculated should not go un-noticed.
- Two out of three boys had the habit of chewing Gutka which they gave up within a week’s time.
- Except Ms. Priyanka, no one could able to speak in our national language but now not only their parents/ relatives but also their friends have taken aback with their fluency in speaking Hindi.
- Participation in cultural functions and public speaking is another area where these five kids have excelled in annual function of the institute.
- These students are now free from prolonged celebration of traditional festivities where they used to get entangled leaving studies behind year on year.
Principal of TSTI has high appreciation for the social skills of these D&T students who started from scratch harbored from remote hinterland and their fast adaptability to the newer environment. However, he is aspirant of developing good soft skill in future days to come.
RESIDENTIAL BRIDGE COURSE CENTER
The rich soil of Keonjhar in Odisha is blessed with a bounty full of natural resources. Joda, situated around 60 km from Keonjhar town, is located in the heart of the district’s richest mining belt. The natives of the land comprise of mostly tribal population. For ages, the primary source of livelihood for the local natives has been farming and animal rearing, the forest being the source of their other needs.
With an inherent boom of the mining industry, there has been a steep rise in the number of local residents resorting to work in different mines as daily wage earners. While this gave the much needed financial support to the rural households, the overall development of the community lag behind as ought to be. Opportunity to earn quick cash pave the ways for many social evils like alcoholism, rampant polygamy and the like. These evils coupled with several other factors namely sparse schooling facilities, difficult terrain and low student to teacher ratio had badly undermined rural schooling. Severe lack of awareness in the tribal community resulted in many a child being engaged in child labor activities.
Tata Sponge situated at Bileipada under Joda Block, is a household name in the local community, thanks to its various path breaking community interventions. Company’s numerous CSR activities covers 5 gram panchayats with 38 revenue villages & 27 hamlets in the Joda Block, impacting the lives of more than 35,000 people in the region. In recent years, company’s involvement in community development activities has witnessed a multifold growth, spanning a radius of 20 km including Champua subdivision in the Keonjhar district.
Taking up the challenge to bring social equity by mainstreaming the school dropouts and those engaged in child labour, the company took another bold step towards breaking new ground, and the RBC or Residential Bridge Course came into inception.
As per a recent survey conducted by ASPIRE or ‘A Society for Promotion of Inclusive and Relevant Education’, there were about 860 out of school children in Tata Sponge’s five operational panchayats. The RBC project intends to cover every single child, resulting in zero out of school children while also laying the foundation to creation of a ‘Child Labour Free Zone’ in the operational villages.
It was Children’s Day, on 14th November 2017, when RBC Centre at Tata Sponge came into being. In the first phase, there were 62 students inducted into RBC. Objective is to mainstreamed these students to both residential and non-residential government run schools in the nearby panchayats after successful completion of the course.
The Residential Bridge Course Centre is inhabited by tribal boys only from the operational 38 villages, administered in collaboration with ASPIRE, which is the implementing partner NGO funded by Tata Steel. The RBC programme for out of the school children aims to bridge the learning gap compared to regular students and to gradually mainstream them in schools as per their age under Right to Education (RTE) norms. School dropouts, or never enlisted children are taken by RBC to reeducate them for their lost time while making them eligible to rejoin government schools.
The facility ensures that incumbents get ample opportunities for all round mental and physical development. The residential facility within the campus has all basic amenities, like well-equipped classrooms, comfortable student dormitory, kitchen, dining hall & an outdoor playing area. A full time residential, dedicated staff comprising 3 teachers & 3 support staff are engaged, who ensure that utmost care of the inmates is taken in the facility. The curriculum and teaching methodology ensures that the students get to choose their own pace of learning and development. During its first batch, the center has mainstreamed 28 boys to residential formal school of surrounding areas. The RBC project has been a ground breaking initiative bringing about a social change in the neighboring tribal community and the general opinion on the importance of education.
Company conducted the fourth Tata Sponge Science Exhibition in November, inside the Company’s township. Around 250 schools from Keonjhar district participated in the event.
To engage the unemployed youth into gainful employment, the Company organises various skill building programmes for the benefit of different sections of the society. In collaboration with ITI, Barbil, the Company imparts one-year on-the job trade skills to selected students, and also pays them stipends. Positive discrimination is exhibited in all permanent recruitments in the Company. As on date, 18% of permanent employees belong to the SC/ST community
INDUSTRIAL SEWING MACHINE OPERATOR
Shahi Exports Pvt. Ltd., Bangalore is one the leading garment export textile companies in India. In association with central government initiated Din Dayal Upadhaya Grameen Kaushal Yojana (DDU-GKY) scheme, Shahi Exports is empowering girls of rural periphery villages to opt for one of the brightest sustainable employment opportunities of apparel making & designing. CSR wing of Tata Sponge with active support from VSN came forward and mobilise, organize counselling session of girls, their parents and guardians who are interested and in need of livelihood option. Girls received quality training through such skill development program with stipend by Shahi Export at Bhubaneswar, Sundergarh later engage them as Industrial Sewing Machine Operator in their production factories at both Banglore and Bhubaneswar. Around 56 selected girls from five surrounding panchayats were imparted the training and employed them in their factories. 41 girls are now having an average monthly take home of Rs.8000/- after PF, ESI, Hostel dues deduction. Five batches have already been sent and more to come. These retained 41 girls are not only shouldering the financial burden of the family but also have become empowered in many more fronts in facing the complex society.
Entrepreneurs are identified and nurtured through personal support that includes their registration, assistance in clearance from the government authorities, arrangement/provision of loan, training, if required, and other amenities.
In a mission to create AA vendor from local village, a team of eight villagers from Gobindpur under Birikala panchayat were mobilized to form an enterprise in the name of M/s.Trishakti Udyoga for supply of vegetables to our canteen. Their vendor code (30002252) has been created taking help from all three related departments i.e. HRM, Purchase and CSR.
M/s Trishakti Udyog, as a group enterprise is suppling all fresh vegetables varieties to company’s employee canteen from 15th Sep 2018 as per the indent (avg. 20-25kg)/ requirements placed in the previous evening at prevailing market price on daily basis. The members of the firm have been oriented about all safety rules of TSIL while transacting with the company. The two nominated representatives of M/s. Trishakti Udyog were facilitated for using entry gate passes who will be responsible to supply vegetables to the canteen inside company. Fortnightly bill has been submitted to the a/c department duly signed and passed by Canteen supervisor with attached receipts of bills/challan for payment. Continuation of such groups will largely depend on the income that they earn. TSIL is putting its efforts to maximize their sale and ensure timely payments consistently. Depending on the group’s performance, order for another canteen may be considered. Till 31st Jan, the group enterprise has transacted a worth around 1.5 lakhs.
The company now is in the process of developing one or two more vendors from the AA.
As part of continuous AA journey for giving a preferential treatment to the AA community in all its endeavor, Tata Sponge has designed few projects for them. One such initiatives started rolling out in July 2018 for AA farmers of Ramchandrapur village. This project is known as WADI (SMALL ORCHARD) which aims at promoting sustainable livelihoods and enhancing their income security. Consequent to acceptance of invitation and visits made by Integrated Tribal Development Agency (ITDA) team to five of Company’s operational villages, farmers from Ramchandrapur village were made agreed for the said project. Around 10 lakhs of fund mobilised from government in the first phase for the said horticulture livelihood based project where in improved variety of Mango graft along with inter-cropping taken up in 13 plus acres of contiguous patch of land. Company facilitated each farmer’s online registration in the government portal. ITDA started transferring money to farmers’ registered account based on the mile stones set in the project like viz. pit digging, planting, manuring, watering etc. is directly getting transferred to beneficiary account. Inter cropping of maize has been developed with Horticulture department. Seeds, fertilizers, saplings have been totally supported by the department. Marketing of Maize begun from mid-september. Farmers are happy with the total produce and a substantial amount of profit to their basket.
Tata Sponge firmly believes rather than giving a person fish to eat, it’s better to teach him how to fish so that he can be self-reliant. And this why, CSR wing of Tata Sponge continues to provides a wide gamut of services that seek to equip local community members with important employment-generating skills. These include entrepreneurship development for women, vocational training, creation of small scale enterprises, cultivation of crops and many more. It is imperative to empower a group than an individual beneficiary for achieving the overall goal of development. Empowerment means making people able. Villagers have the right to determine their own choices in life. In this regard, several empowerment initiatives have been undertaken in peripheral villages. These initiatives aim to transfer the latest know how as well as provide training to enhance livelihood generation opportunities amongst farmers through Users Group formation. Tata Sponge provide them with the primary support in order to start with the production facility and basic know-how of these enterprises. This would in turn help in supplementing family incomes by utilizing idle community based resources. Also, different skill development training programs are regularly organised to upgrade their existing traditional skills and simultaneously promote new skills.
A demonstrative /pilot project of Pisciculture has been implemented from 1st Sep 2018 in five periphery villages namely Panchanananpur, Birikala Munda Sahi, Shankarpur, Gobardhanpur, Ramchandrapur. The project has been implemented in 05 community ponds covering water spread area of 6 acres. Around 50 village committee members are directly involved in this pilot project worth around 1 lakh of investment. Ms/ Ganagamata Fish Agency, the vendor has supplied @4000 fingerlings of Rohu and Mirkal/ acre in each pond along with fish feed, lime and medicines.
Farmers are confident of the success of this pilot project based on which company will initiate a Mega Fishery Project benefitting 150 beneficiaries from 10 villages.
CENTRAL BOARD OF WORKERS’ EDUCATION
Central Board of Workers’ Education(CBWE)- CBWE is one of the credible partners of CSR department, TSIL. CSR Team has been arranging different kinds of training program for a variety of targeted villagers in collaboration with CBWE. The trainees used to get a stipend of @200 from CBWE and we could able to mobilize around 16K from CBWE for our target beneficiaries so far. Upon the request to conduct training programs for rural youths, women those who are engaged in both organised and unorganised sector, CBWE used to arrange full two-days programs for them. During this year, around 160 youths have been trained and community engagement continuing through CBWE two-days-long sessions.
Looking at the benefits derived from these training programmes, CSR department is eyeing for a long term partnership with CBWE.
DRINKING WATER AND SANITATION PROJECTS
Our company is surrounded by live mines and abandoned quarries. These not only has reduced the water table of the area but water availability becomes extremely difficult particularly during summer. Therefore, community around had to walk miles to fetch a bucket of water. Company pro-actively engaged with community to tap the perennial water sources to their door step.
Even after seventy plus years of country’s independence, people in rural India do not have access to basic facilities like drinking water. Tata Sponge operational areas are surrounded by live mines and abandoned quarries. These not only has reduced the water table of the area but water availability becomes extremely difficult particularly during summer. Therefore, community around had to walk miles to fetch a bucket of water. In order to address this gap, Company pro-actively engaged with community to tap the perennial water sources to their door step.
Drinking Water Project is the second thrust areas of CSR intervention. Tata Sponge has provided potable drinking water facility in 38 villages by digging 107 Tube wells, 16 Bore wells, 45 Ring wells and 01 dug well. Biliepada, being the key operational village among the rest, Company has constructed a water supply plant by putting bore well with submersible pump and 3000 liters capacity water tank which supplies purified water of 1500 liters per hour to each individual household through pipelines. Under this project, the Company is catering to the need of over 1,000 plus inhabitant.
The project is one of the BIG Ticket items of CSR taken up for long term purposes. In partnership with Rural Water and Sanitation Supply, GoO, the project was executed through company engaged contractors. Now each household is having piped water supply to their house, kitchen and toilets through a central overhead tank. This enabled uninterrupted drinking water supply during the dead summer. The project does have the provision of both the connection facility of regular pumping of water through solar system and through electricity. The village committee is empowered enough to take over the project for all future maintenance and smooth running of the project. Due to the availability of water in 24X7, the villagers have now started giving focus on their hygiene and sanitation part. The left out houses started constructing their own toilets and bathrooms without going for open defecation. The transition in such change in behavior is quite visible due to the availability of water supply. Such a has been highly appreciated by the local village leaders and they are thankful to the company for transforming the age old bad habits.
The project was taken up in partnership with Gram Vikas, leading NGO that promises an open defecation-free environment for 1,200 families living in five surrounding villages. Under this project, household toilets and bathrooms with piped water facility are being constructing phases. Besides, company has built toilets for students at various schools in Keonjhar district under “Swachh Bharat Abhiyan”. The main objective is to make Birikala Panchayat Open Defecation Free.
To raise awareness among villagers on sanitation and usage of toilets, Tata Sponge volunteers including employees and their family members conducted an awareness drive on sanitation at the prominent places of each village. Children were instructed on the benefits of personal hygiene and the need to wash their hands before every meal.
HEALTHCARE & HYGIENE
CATARACT ARREST ZONE
In line with the objectives of providing better health services to the inhabitants in and around Tata Sponge, company has initiated a long term preventive health care project mostly targeting senior citizens. Of course the benefits is not restricted to them only. The partnership with Ms/ Purnima Netralaya (PN), an extended arm of Bramhananda Seva Sadan, Jamshedpur is turning out well in accomplishing Company’s mission on transforming all five periphery panchayats as Cataract Arrest Zone. As per the deal, Tata Sponge has obtained due permission from District Heath authorities/ Chief District Medical Officer for organizing screening and surgery camps in said five panchayats of Joda block. Company used to mobilize prospective patients from under-privileged sections of society by generating awareness thru out door visibility campaign. It was observed patients and their attendants followed set rules and procedures of PN, preserve and maintain utmost discipline during screening, post operation follows up camps. While PN provided pre-operative medicines and clinical procedures as per need, if the patient found to be medically fit for surgery then confirm patient’s cataract surgery on the next day. After surgery, patient was provided with one month post-operative medicines. In addition, two review camps were done by their medical team at the place of the selection camp then review after 7 days of surgery, 21st day of surgery for refraction. After refraction, spectacles provided to the operative patient within 10 days from the refractions camp. PN also furnished a record of all the patients treated and provide report after treatment of each patient per camp to TSIL. No such complication aroused out of any screening, treatment and follow up. A total of 468 villagers screened, 101 were detected with cataract and 76 have undergone successful operations so far in three consecutive camps. Two highly critical cases were dealt diligently by the company.
INCLUSION OF PERSON WITH DISABILITY
In general, Persons With Disability (PWD) are mostly invisible populations due to multiple and varied reasons. They are vulnerable from all corners, debarred of their rights, neglected by own family members, friends, relatives and society around. ‘SENSITIZATION’ of such vulnerability is the need of the hour. Company has thought of working on this front strategically. In partnership with SABAL Center of Tata Steel, Noamundi and Enable India, Banglore, CSR team of TSIL has been trying to get sensitized and build capacities of field staff on various issues associated with PWD for about last one year.
To begin with CSR front line staff were sent to SABAL, Center for Abilities to attend & learn from the workshop early during this financial year. Also other staff participated and contributed to a day-long training-cum-orientation named as SABAL SAHAYOG at Noamundi during July’18. Taking inputs from Enable India and Tata Steel, CSR team taken up couple of measures both short-term and long-term for the PWD living around Company’s five periphery panchayats.
A sensitization training-cum-orientation program to all the front-line grass root level workers of five panchayats of Tata Sponge on PWD, their mapping, issues and challenges they face in their everyday life. At first phase, 232 Anganwadi Workers and Self Help Group members were imparted training on the basic concept of disabilities, their physical-mental and socio-economic status, their health scenarios, efficacy of government schemes exclusively designed for PWD and many more by Mr. Kumar Gaurav, In-Charge of Skill Development of PWD, Tata Steel and Mr. Raman Gupta, Training Coordinator from Enable India on 25th Sep 2018. The mass was immensely benefited from the day-long vivid interaction and questioning. All the participants promised to map these vulnerable populations from their own and neighboring villages for a clear and complete data base so that TSIL can extend help to identified villagers in some way or other.
27 PWD having mobility problem were identified from our surrounding villages who needs urgent attention. They were taken today to Joda where the they will be provided with required Aids and Appliances by Tata Steel and Rotary Club.
Heartiest thanks to all who contributed in this journey towards saving lives of PWD and urge unconditional support, care in company’s endeavor for inclusive growth especially to these hidden and vulnerable groups living around close vicinity.
PANCHASAKHA-ENCOURAGING RURAL SPORTS
To inculcate healthy lifestyle habits, company encourages sporting activities. It also promotes rural sports in the community as a part of its rural welfare strategy. CSR team is organizing the Panchasakha Football & Cricket Tournament in TSIL playground. Panchasakha gives an opportunity to village youths to display their sporting talent on a Panchayat level platform. The aim behind organizing such sporting events is not just to promote cricket in villages but also to create harmony and friendship within the participants and also in the industry as a whole.