We at ABFRL present stories excerpted from our internal newsletter ‘In Touch’, where we celebrate our people and their contributions.
“The future of India lies in its villages”
– Mahatma Gandhi
There is a serene calmness as you stroll through Sollepura Village, Thally Block, Tamil Nadu, one of the ABFRL model villages. Each shop has neatly drawn social distancing circles to manage crowds and people promptly stand inside these boxes. You can see posters everywhere, explaining how to manage personal hygiene. A similar scene can be seen in front of our Village Information Centre. One of our ABFRL volunteers are busy helping returning migrants avail benefits of various Government employment schemes. Another volunteer waves at you cheerfully as you walk past the Public Distribution Scheme (PDS) shop, where he works to help distribute food grains to the villagers.
As you step inside a quaint house, you will see a young child happily playing with his crayons, sketching for the ‘Draw from Home’ competition, while his sister is peering into a smartphone screen, as her school lessons are on. In the kitchen, their mother is practicing an old tribal song that she will record in the community led competition. Once the sister is done with her school, she will help her brother and mother upload their competition entries to our team through WhatsApp.
The HUB and SPOKE Model: A Strong Base to Tide Over Difficult Times
Welcome to one of the eight model villages that we at ABFRL have helped build across Karnataka, Odisha and Tamil Nadu. We create ‘happy communities’ by developing model villages that bring holistic growth through various initiatives such as quality education, empowerment through health, livelihood, digitization and clean water.
We adopted the HUB and SPOKE model for its model villages to bring large scale community services. To extend benefits to maximum number of beneficiaries, our eight model villages serve as a HUB to surrounding SPOKE villages, catering to a total of 64 villages.
This HUB and SPOKE model worked well during the pandemic, resulting in a positive impact in the lives of 84,000+ beneficiaries.
The Guiding Force between the Government and our Communities
The Government is continuously rolling out thoughtful schemes that benefits various sections of the society. These schemes, however, don’t reach the intended audience for a variety of reasons. Our CSR teams have taken it upon themselves to educate and create awareness of these schemes to our village communities. In doing so, they have successfully taken MNREGA, Ayushman Bharat Yojana, Atma Nirbhar Bharat Abhiyan and Swatchh Bharat Mission to our villages. With these efforts, our team has built a strong emotional equity with both the stakeholders; the Government and the village communities.
The Silent Team that Worked Tirelessly
ABFRL’s CSR teams are a group of motivated and trained resources operating in five districts across four states. Our team of 30 employees, along with trained volunteers on the ground, have been working closely with frontline workers, Government functionaries, Panchayats and local stakeholders. During the pandemic, our innovative and enterprising teams ensured mobility of resources locally for essentials, masks, and soaps, etc. The proximity of factories in village communities further helped ensure protection and safety.
While the country grappled with large scale migration, our teams worked to help returning migrant workers secure employment through government schemes such as MGNREGA.
Building a Safe Haven
To overcome the pandemic, our teams had to think on their feet. They rolled out several initiatives to ensure safety within the communities.
A. COVID-19 Prevention: Creating Knowledge and Awareness Programs
Our teams chalked our several awareness programs to explain about the corona virus: how it spreads and recognizing the symptoms, the facilities available to the communities to seek help, what Government aid is available for the people and taking care of themselves, their children and the elderly. The benefit of these programs created a positive impact for 46,000+ beneficiaries.
B. Bringing Behavioral Changes in Health and Hygiene
The programs rolled out by the team dwelled on behavior change initiatives such as social distancing, proper ways of washing hands and the correct ways to use masks. We further liaised with the local Panchayats to undertake extensive village cleaning and sanitization, impacting 11,000+ beneficiaries.
C. Helping with Food Security and Distribution of Health Essentials
On a higher level, our teams worked seamlessly with the Panchayat and State Authorities to ensure medical support to the villagers and redirect affected patients to Public Health Centers. Our teams ensured availability of masks and assisted the Panchayats in distributing food and smooth running of the PDS. In semi-urban villages, which were closer to cities, our teams connected the affected people to local quarantine centers. We further supported 1,000+ migrant worker families with dry ration. Through these various initiatives, we made a meaningful impact to 26,000+ beneficiaries.
D. Counselling and Emotional Well-being
We conducted counselling sessions for our frontline staff to bring out the importance of mental health. To engage the young talent in the villages, our CSR team undertook several initiatives such as drawing and singing competitions and bring out their enthusiasm and fun spirit. This resulted in around 400+ children sharing their drawings with our teams.
Our strong team went beyond the call of duty during the pandemic to keep these villages safe and healthy. It makes us aware of our responsibilities and capacity to do good work. With dedication and passion, we are able to understand the challenges in the current scenario and work towards a unified goal of bringing goodness to the society as a whole.
At the heart of our CSR initiatives, we deeply care for the people and communities around us.
“CSR plays an integral role in ABFRL’s commitment towards our communities. We have designed a unique CSR value chain that creates a meaningful impact on people’s lives. It is heart-warming to see the difference we have brought to 2,32,291 beneficiaries in 2019-2020. We continue to support and bring a positive change in society with dedication and commitment.”
Dr Naresh Tyagi, Chief Sustainability Officer, ABFRL