“In a free enterprise, the community is not just another stakeholder in the business but is in fact, the very purpose of its existence” .
This illustrious epigraph from our Founder, the Legendary Jamshetji Tata outlines the CSR goal of our company. Tata Sponge has always been conscious of its duty as a responsible corporate citizen to contribute to the societal wellbeing and benefits, and has played its part responsibly to bring about a perceptible change in its immediate surrounding. Its underlying objective has always been to transform the lives of the community through result oriented participatory approach.
Tata Sponge firmly believes that an enterprise must coexist with other essentials of the society. Through its current and future business activities, it affirms to continue its ceaseless strive in promoting collaborative ideas in association with its beneficiary groups and in the process, establish an inclusive & harmonious periphery, in line with company’s CSR objective
“to improve the quality of life of the communities we serve through long term value creation for all stakeholders”.
Tata Sponge’s CSR thrust areas have been promotion of education, healthcare, sanitation & providing drinking water, enhancement of livelihood, gender equality, environmental sustainability and rural development. Besides, the Company also undertakes programs to promote rural sports and regional culture, to conserve natural resources, develop skill, build entrepreneurship, undertake disaster relief interventions and meet other community needs. Company’s CSR agenda is also aligned with the framework on Affirmative Action (AA) prepared by the Confederation of Indian Industry, which focuses on employment, employability, entrepreneurship, education and essential amenities.
Tata Sponge with its multipronged CSR initiatives attempts to reach out to over 34,000 thousand beneficiaries residing in 38 revenue villages, and 27 hamlets under 5 surrounding gram panchayats viz. Anseikala, Birikala, Chamakpur, Deojhar and Kandara in Joda block of Keonjhar district in Odisha, where in ~44% of population belongs to Scheduled Tribe and 11.62% from Scheduled Caste categories.
Tata Sponge has forged partnerships with NGOs and Civil Societies of repute to ensure focused and tangible benefits to the community at large. Against these backdrop, some of the initiatives taken by the company within its CSR realm are detailed in the infographics.
CSR Media Gallery
Education scenario in the entire district of Keonjhar is far from encouraging. As has been generally observed in areas dominated by the tribal populace, education had not been given priority in these areas. Unlike the literacy levels in Keonjhar District (69%), the average literate rate in these 5-gram panchayats, during the last census, was 45% which was way below the State & National average literacy rate. Consciously, company has taken up several initiatives in the field catering to three major prerequisites to improve education i.e. Availability, Access and Quality. Some of the interventions taken by the company towards education, through these three approaches are as follows
Project Prarambh :
“Prarambh” aims to support government run Anganwadi Centers to enrich the preschool education process among children in the age group of 3- 6 years.
To promote a healthy and environment friendly childhood education, company has adopted a two-pronged approach under Prarambh – construction of model Anganwadi which will offer multiple child-friendly features and facilitate a teaching environment which will have a joyful simulative learning environment; and secondly, capability building of the Anganwadi workers to improve preschool education standards. In coordination with ICDS, training programs are organized every year for the Anganwadi workers to keep them updated on the contemporary ways of caring children.
Tata Sponge has constructed Eleven model Anganwadi centers(AWCs) keeping in mind the requirements of children from inaccessible mountain covered villages. These centers comprise a spacious classroom, office room, kitchen & store room, long verandah to take Mid-Day-Meal(MDM), toilets, water facility and compound wall, etc. All the walls have been adorned with many child friendly paintings based on the preschool syllabus (BaLA Painting), to aid the teaching & learning processes. The project cost is approx.Rs.225 lakhs for construction & implementation of entire facilities at 67 AWCs. Tata Sponge has also provided smokeless burners at all the 67 AWCs in these 5 GPs.
To identify the health problems of the children, provide nutrient supplements for their balanced growth, and also supplement the teachers towards better education, Vidya Shakti Niyas (VSN), an NGO developed by the spouses of company’s officers, supports the Anganwadi workers in maintaining an improved educational standard, provide free nutrients, conduct regular health inspections and provide free vitamin supplements, etc. This has impacted in the performance of these Anganwadis in terms of very high attendance in the classes, and delivery of better pre-primary standards, including a better health regime being followed for these kids.
Other educational initiatives
In several other schools, the company has been building classrooms, halls, kitchen buildings, computer centres, etc. to improve the overall infrastructural standard. A large sum of the budget has been kept aside for gradually adding classrooms every year. The company has constructed 13 school buildings so far which excludes renovation of 25 buildings in the peripheral area of our company. Besides, a number of new class rooms have been constructed in various schools with modern facilities, thus replacing the old tiled roofed & frail class rooms. The company has also provided desks, benches & almirahs in the class rooms built by it, taking into consideration the ergonomic requirements & expediency of children. All the anganwadi Centres have been provided with a tube well which are maintained regularly.
Construction of Boundary walls :
In the absence of a compound wall, parents of girl students were particularly not very confident of sending their adolescent daughters in the fear of anti-social activities. Therefore, company decided to construct boundary walls in all Anganwadi Centres constructed by it and also provided the same at other primary schools. So far, the company has constructed 25 boundary walls in various AWCs and primary schools which has come up for noteworthy appreciations.
Support through play equipment & conveniences :
The company has provided recreational equipment in many schools in its surroundings some of which was unique, in the form of converting used tyres to give child friendly shapes.
In partnership with Anthill Creations, different play items have been developed with an aim to bring back physical development of all children by building sustainable plays capes, using waste material like scrap tyres and oil drums. These have fixed the play equipment at 4 Anganwadi Centres.
Residential Bridge Course :
In a unique approach to support destitute children who are school dropouts, or could not go to school, Tata Sponge has facilitated a residential Centre for such children to provide them age-appropriate education and mainstream them in regular government schools. Accordingly, 62 children from the surrounding villages have been admitted in this residential Centre where they are provided all facilities, with the help of an NGO, ASPIRE. Inmates are being imparted education as per designed schedule based on exact government syllabus and curriculum.
Project “Vidyarthi” :
To elicit the interest of students situated in the district of Keonjhar, which are dominated by D&T students, and showcase their propensity & talent in science, Tata Sponge Leadership decided to begin a science exhibition in 2014 which is held every year on 2nd November, to coincide with the inaugural day of our company. This is one of the several interventions undertaken by the company under its Educational endeavour.
With an objective to provide financial assistance for higher education to meritorious but economically backward students, to facilitate them in accomplishing their educational & career aspirations, company provides scholarship to the needy & meritorious children from the community. The consideration is always based on meritocracy of the students and his/her family income. A well laid policy has been developed to ensure that the grant is received by the most deserving candidates.
Pre-matric Coaching Classes (PMC) and Learning Enrichment Program (LEP):
Pre-matric coaching is one of the key educational interventions of Tata Sponge’s social responsibility to strengthen the basic concept on 3 key subjects for Math, English and Science, which then reflects their performance during matriculation. In current financial year, a new initiative has been taken in the form of providing remedial pre-matric classes in 3 High Schools for 3 prime subjects. Besides, to firm up the foundation of children at primary level, supplementary classes are being organized in 6 primary schools which have been appreciated by the parents and school administration alike.
INCOME GENERATION PROGRAMS
The company has felt the need of supplementing the income of villagers as many of them are depending on agriculture, being their area of expertise. However, for want of contemporary techniques, their income levels had been limited, leading to abject poverty. To address these, the company has taken the following initiatives:
- Organised loan from the District Mineral Fund (DMF) to start the Wadi Projects for a section of farmers at Ramchandrapur
- Facilitated increase in agricultural income through multi cropping and vegetable farming, distribution of agricultural implements and fertilizers,
- Organised agricultural training to farmers from time to time.
- VSN has promoted and sponsored expenditures on duckery, piggery, goatery, etc. to supplement the income of nearby villagers.
- Besides, several Self-Help Groups have been formed, who were given training to produce incense sticks, rice flakes, fried snacks, phenyl, etc. The members in these SHGs have been very successful in earning extra income through these small commerces.
- Company is in the process of organizing pisciculture in a major manner which is expected to delivery huge income to the beneficiary groups.
JOB ORIENTED TRAINING PROGRAMS
Project Sakshyam :
The company has, in collaboration with government agencies viz. ITI, Barbil and Board of Practical Training (BoPT), Kolkata, developed an in-house vocational training module, under which it imparts a one-year on-the-job trade skills and pays stipends. The trades, for which in-house training is provided, are Fitter, Welder, Mechanical, Electrical & Wiremen, as these have good demand in this area. Over the years, the company has intensified intake of such trainees. >200 candidates have so far been trained in the past 5 years.
Project Manavi :
In-house training programme on tailoring is regularly being conducted by VSN which has seen 325 ladies undergoing this 6-month course from the nearby villages, in the past 5 years. Many of them are either self-employed or engaged in other commercial establishments.
Project Abhiyan :
VSN also provides a comprehensive 1 ½ months Drivers’ training to youth from the vicinity. Besides driving, the training also includes basic knowledge of repair & maintenance of the vehicle. Being a mining area where requirement of different types of vehicles is high, this trade is quite popular. VSN authorities also facilitate issuance of license from District RTO Office whereby the candidates passing out from VSN’s driving school is not required to furnish any certificate or appear for a test, for issuance of license.
Project Liberty (Industrial Sewing Machine Operator’s Course) :
Beginning 2017-18, company began a new drive to seek employment for those young girls who had studied till Std.10, by getting into a partnership with M/s Shahi Udyog Pvt Ltd which has its training & industrial stitching centre at two locations in Odisha. The model imparts free training to the shortlisted girls for two months and upon successful completion, inducts them into permanent employment in their Centres at Bangalore & Bhubaneswar. 3 sessions have since been held and a total of 40 girls have already been sent to the Centre.
PREVENTING HEALTH CARE, DRINKING WATER & SANITATION
Project Swabhiman :
Swabhiman projects aims at covering the immediate five surrounding villages of Tata Sponge and reaching out over twelve hundred families, and make them open defecation free(ODF) villages by 2020. The project model includes a household toilet, bathroom and community water supply facilities. To facilitate in this mega project, Tata Sponge has forged partnership with a credible NGO named Gram Vikas and District RWSS wing.
As developed under the project Jal Dhara, the “Jala O Parimala Samiti’ of respective villages have been given the additional responsibilities of maintaining these toilets. Each impacted family has contributed Rs. 1000/- towards building corpus fund for future maintenance of the project.
Exposure visit and series of awareness camps are being organized for the villagers in order to bring about an attitudinal change towards health and sanitation.
Drinking Water :
At the time of company’s commissioning, there were no sufficient drinking water points and women in particular had to trudge long distances to fetch water. Since then, the company has provided more than 200 water points (bore wells, tube wells, ring wells, dug wells) which have brought the distance down to 500 metres to the nearest point.
Project Jaldhara :
Tata Sponge company has implemented a project at its Bilaipada village that ensures piped water connection to the houses of around 425 village families. The project activities include digging dug well & bore wells to store water, pumping of water to a cleaning station, and thereafter to an overhead tank, laying out pipes all around the village to reach out potable water to these families. To empower the community, the entire project was completed with the involvement of the village youth and opinion leaders. To sustain the project post completion, a “Bileipada Jala-O-Parimala Samiti” has been formed to oversee the maintenance, with contribution from the beneficiary families.
Following activities are undertaken under health care for villagers in our surrounding :
Health camps :
Several camps have been organized on different medical requirements, for the benefit of villagers. These include eye camp, skin camp, prevention of TB, heart camp, neuro camp, etc.
Mobile Health Camps :
On a periodical basis, a mobile camp of doctor & paramedics visit nearby villages for free diagnosis and distribution of medicines.
Organisation of health awareness camps :
The company sponsors and also organizes talks & camps to create awareness among the locals on hygiene, awareness about epidemics & prevention, living healthily with the livestock, etc. for which experts from the respective fields are invited to speak to the villagers.
OTHER CSR ACTIVITIES
”: Tata Sponge has also made a focused approach towards promoting sports in the Schools/villages through a special project called “Krida”, going by the fact that the tribal population possesses a hidden talent in some of the core sports. Annual Sports in Schools, Gram Panchayat level Panchasakha Football Tournament. Company sponsors annual sports in Youth Club and nearby schools. Arrangements are made for professional coaching of youth on football.
Project “Ama Sanskriti”:
Tata Sponge has sponsored organization of various cultural activities in villages which include HO Dance, Sankirtan, Jhumar, etc. amongst local tribal youths. Also, company has also constructed community centres for village youths where necessary entertainment facilities have also been provided.
Tata Sponge has evolved a CSR Vision of “mainstreaming the village Community in its immediate surrounding”. Company’s project based implementation programs in its surrounding villages is in the right direction of accomplishing its CSR Vision and create a platform for the inclusive growth of the disadvantaged community in its immediate neighbourhood.