What began as an initiative to empower the girl child through a CSR programme called ‘NALCO KI LADLI’ is turning out to be a powerful trigger for positive change and mindset in villages of Odisha. NALCO has started a CSR programme ‘NALCO KI LADLI’ under ‘BETI BACHAO, BETI PADHAO’ programme of Govt. of India, to promote meritorious girl students belonging to Below Poverty Line (BPL) families and having minimum 60% marks in the schools located in periphery area of NALCO’s pants in Damanjodi, Angul and Pottangi in Odisha. The girl children are identified from class 8th, 9th and 10th standard belonging to marginalized section of the society.
It was far from an easy job to convince the villagers about the benefits of this initiative as many have never been to a school, leave alone understanding the importance of sending their girl child to school to pursue studies. The project managers and members of NALCO’s CSR team carried out a baseline study to gauge the mood before the initiative was finally launched in 2015. NALCO is providing monthly stipend /scholarship for meeting the educational expenses of the girl child till they complete class 10th standard. NALCO started the programme with an objective to extend a helping hand to the poor and meritorious students belonging to BPL category, to restrict the high drop-out rate owing to poor financial condition.
In the year 2015-16, 32 students meeting eligibility criteria from 18 schools in Angul were identified and covered under the programme. In 2016-17, 81 students from 25 schools have been identified and provided with financial assistance under the programme at Angul. There has been a marked increase in the number of children benefiting in the financial year 2017-18, with 277 girl children from 66 villages across Angul and Damanjodi getting enrolled in 45 schools under the programme. The scholarship amount is directly credited to Savings Bank account of beneficiaries through e-transfer after their bank linkage by opening of account.
The beneficiaries are exposed to various programmes and co-curricular activities organized by NALCO from time to time, including sports activities, workshops, seminars, celebration of various events, etc. There is a palpable change among the villagers who are witnessing the benefits from this programme. Reluctance and doubts has given way to hope and a sense of empowerment for these families who have seen their ‘ladli’ undergo a transformational change for a better and brighter tomorrow. Slowly, but surely, the revolution has begun to take shape and NALCO is playing a key role in making those dreams come true.