In the thick jungles of Saranda, about 270 kms from Ranchi, the capital city of Jharkhand, Steel Authority of India Limited (SAIL) has given shape to project that comes as a ray of hope to over hundred native women in the region. Aptly named as ‘Project Kiran’, SAIL’s Kiriburu Iron Ore Mine opened the Self-Employment Centre at Kiriburu in 2010 with the objective of mainstreaming tribal women, and bringing them out of near-poverty condition. Today, Kiran houses 109 women engaged in the creative work of weaving, stitching, candle/soap making etc, earning between Rs 2500 to Rs 3000 per month. SAIL facilitates marketing the products of Kiran, which are in popular demand for their superior quality and affordable prices, not just in SAIL colonies, plants and units, but also in the local market of Kiriburu and adjoining areas. Jharkraf, Jharkhand State’s handloom hub, is a bulk purchaser of Kiran’s product.
SAIL sources raw materials such as cotton and tussar from West Bengal, and also arranges professional training of women in the art of saree making, particularly fulia tant saree, different varieties of tussar, kurta/ towel/ candle-making etc by roping in experts from Fulia in Santipur, West Bengal, a place known for its famous handloom tant sarees. Plans are on anvil to bring experts from National Institute of Fashion Technology (NIFT) Kolkata to train these women in making designer sarees.
Kiran is only one example of how SAIL in involved in making a meaningful difference in people’s lives, true to its CSR motto. As part of its peripheral development plan, through its agencies such as Mahila Samiti, CSR and Town Administration, the company creates opportunities for skill enhancement and self-employment. It runs a number of schools exclusively for poor children and uneducated elderly. The training centres imparts vocational training in making spices, flour, safety gloves, soap, shawls, apparel and embroidered clothes, providing livelihood to countless men and women. Full-fledged multi-specialty hospitals, and free medical consultation for neonates and their mothers and mobile dispensary play a key role in providing primary healthcare to needy persons. Aid drives are also organized for lepers, victims of natural calamities, children from poor families and other resource-constrained people.