Education is a great leveler. It holds the key to social welfare and economic prosperity. However, education is yet to reach the marginalized communities living in the hinterland of Sambalpur district in Odisha. Aditya Aluminium, an Aditya Birla Group Company, operating at Lapanga in Sambalpur district, is working for the spread of education in the project area as well as its periphery.
Mr. Bibhu Mishra, the Chief Operating Officer of Aditya Aluminium says, “Education is an area of focus for us in the Aditya Birla Group. Hindalco is deeply engaged in helping reach the benefits of learning and education for marginalized communities. At Aditya Aluminium as well to facilitate the learning process, we have a slew of initiatives. We hope over the coming years these will help truly raise the literacy level in Sambalpur district. We believe in the holistic development of children. So our learning programmes are a mix of educational and sports initiatives. Furthermore, we endeavour to better the school infrastructure so that children are drawn to school. “
Among Aditya Aluminum’s initiatives are two free coaching centres, named Kalika running in Pandaloi and Ludhapalli village, where over 104 students get extensive support. Teachers at these centres undergo special training to enable them to adopt simple and effective methods of teaching. Aditya Aluminium also provides students with free study material, school bags, uniforms and stationery. Additionally, parent-teacher meets are regularly held to assess the students’ performance and to think of ways to enhance their skills and increase their potential.
Various competitions and sports were organised in schools and prizes are awarded to the winners. This encourages participation, spirit camaraderie and outgoingness, besides fostering a spirit of competition among them, adds Mr. Misra.
Aditya Aluminium has also recourse to innovative ways to stem the dropout rate among students, especially girls. Last year, it successfully brought back as many as 22 children who had left school in the middle of the term. Girls who have discontinued their secondary education also get a chance to complete their schooling. In addition, around 60 elderly people have enrolled in the two adult education centres set up by the company. Nuadei Pradhan, an 85-year-old lady from Tarapoi village says, “Earlier I didn’t know the alphabets, but after coming to Aditya Aluminium’s adult literacy centre, I have learnt how to read as well as write a few words.
This achievement has given me immense satisfaction. The entire credit for educating us goes to Aditya Aluminium”. In its own way, Aditya Aluminium is contributing to Sambalpur’s progress by sparking the desire to learn among the marginalized communities.