Sundargarh/Bhubaneswar: Sundargarh Collector and District Magistrate Nikhil Pavan Kalyan on Thursday felicitated exemplar women entrepreneurs from Hemgir block of Sundargarh district at the “Empowering women with transformational Life Skills Women Conclave”. Over 250 women from 5 villages of Durubagapanchayat of Hemgir who have successfully completed the Personal Advancement & Career Enhancement (P.A.C.E.) Women Life Skill Training participated in the programme.
The event was organised by Humara Bachpan Trust (HBT), a not-for-profit pan-India organization founded by Dharitri Patnaik, advocating for safe and healthy living conditions along with enhancement of the socio-economic status of communities living in poverty.
Since 2017, HBT has been implementing the Gap Inc.’s P.A.C.E. Life Skill Training among women and adolescent girls of urban and rural communities. The P.A.C.E. Life Skill Training was launched in Sundargarh as “Empowering women with transformational Life Skills” project in partnership with Sundargarh District Periphery Development Society (SDPDS) and National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC), Dulunga. 3024 women were identified from different social backgrounds and were trained under the training.
The aim of the project was to provide skills to underprivileged women enabling them to earn an independent living and provide a sustainable pathway out of poverty. The training came as a boon for the women who had faced the wrath of the COVID-19 pandemic. Most of the women and their families had lost their source of livelihood during the pandemic and were facing difficulties in managing stress, time and dealing with the consequences of the pandemic. The training empowered the women to tackle these difficulties and become an active member in supporting themselves and their family.
Because of the training, 300 women were developed as nano entrepreneurs in vegetable growing, mushroom cultivation, vegetable vending, tailoring, and various other vocations. The training has also improved the self-efficacy and leadership qualities of the women, and 8 women groups have been formed in 8 villages with 190 members & 76 women leaders. The women were provided with financial literacy and 210 womenhave confirmed having a savings plan and household budget to meet the pandemic situation. Apart from that, 268 women have adopted drinking water purification method and improved menstrual hygiene practices.
During the felicitation event, five women trainees spoke about the changes the various modules of the training have brought in their life. The trainees shared how the training and the support from HBT has made a positive impact on their livelihoods. They also shared how because of the training their leadership has improved and they are able to voice their opinions with more confidence. Furthermore, the trainees expressed how they are now able to manage their time and stress and lead a healthier life.
DM and Collector, Sundargarh praised the work done by HBT and said, “This is the first time I have seen such a large collective of women in the district and it makes me happy to see the transformation and changes that the project has brought despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic. The Sundargarh Administration will continue to support such women empowerment, skilling and livelihood initiatives and we will take this further in nearby panchayats soon through HBT and other organisations.” He also urged the other stakeholders to give their support to such initiatives.
Head of Project, National Thermal Power Corporation (NTPC) Dulunga, Shivam Srivastava in his address shared that he is happy to hear the testimonials of the women and that NTPC is also developing a strategy on skill development and women empowerment in the periphery areas of the NTPC coal mine, and will soon begin their work towards it.
District Social Welfare Officer Prabasini Chakra was also present at the event and she shared that the work done by HBT in the district is praiseworthy and that such work must be replicated and more intensive work must be done towards achieving the same.
Dharitri Patnaik, the Founder Chairperson of HBT said, “Women empowerment has always been one of the main focus of HBT’s work. The achievements made by this project are commendable, but there is still a long way to go. Through its future initiatives, HBT will reach out to more and more women and support them through entrepreneurship and livelihood support.”
Among others, Joint Secretary, SDPDS Suman Kishore Dungdung, Sarpanch Durubaga Jyotsnarani Mallick, Panchayat Secretary Durubaga, Mukesh Panda, Block Development Officer Hemgir, Dr Jagdish Mahanandia, Block Chairman Hemgir, Sudharani Raudia, Child Development Project Officer Hemgir, Aparna Mallick, Program Officer, Chuleswari Patel and Humara Bachpan Trust team members were present.