Vedanta Aluminium Limited, Lanjigarh with an objective to enhance the livelihood of tribal families, provided 40 Sewing Machines to 20 Tribal Women groups for leaf plate making. The sewing machines were distributed by Dr. Mukesh Kumar, Chief Operating Officer of VAL in a function, attended by about 300 Dongria Kondh Women on April 18, 2009 at Khemdipadar village (Trilochanpur GP).
Addressing the gathering, Dr. Mukesh Kumar said, “VAL is committed for overall development of the area and the impact of VAL‘s initiatives aimed for bringing drastic changes shall be visible very soon in the areas of education, health, communication besides maintaining and improving cultural heritage”. Recently, the Aluminium Company has launched a project ‘Jeevika’ for women residing in eight villages on the slope of Niyamgiri. Under the project the company has trained 300 tribal women on making of leaf plate and cups. Out of the 300 women, 120 women are from Dongria Kondh, 90 from Kutia Kondh community.
The rest 90 women are from Schedule Caste and other backward caste community. About 50 Joint Livelihood Groups (JLG), comprising 300 enterprising women have been formed under this project. “The Sewing Machines will help the tribal women in producing market standard leaf-plate and also increase their income. Other JLG members will also get their sewing machine very soon,” added Dr. Mukesh Kumar. The group members were taken on exposure trip to visit the enterprises in Bhawanipatna and Bolangir to gain practical knowledge about leaf plate making.
The stitched leaf-plate making business is expected to enhance the income of each JLG member by at least Rs. 100 per month as Sal or Siali leaves are available in the locality abundantly. Vedanta will also provide marketing support for the leaf-plate. The tribal women also see a new future in their newly found income opportunities. “After seeing leaf-plate making and its business in other places, our group members are highly motivated. With sewing machine we can earn more than Rs. 100 a day,” says Katli Majhi a Dongria Kondh women from
This is a pilot initiative by the Company and after seeing response from the tribal women. The company is all set to expand the livelihood intervention to other villages, as well.
Providing improved livelihood to the periphery area villagers has been the focus of the company. It has contributed in better income and living of several tribal people in Lanjigarh through various livelihood initiatives such as Shashya Shilpa Abhiyan (Vegetable cultivation program); Strawberry Cultivation; Phenyl making business by women, rice processing unit by SHG members and fishery.