Enriching the core

Through its consistent efforts and a range of women-centric projects, the Adani Foundation is empowering women — paving the way for familial, social and national progress; writes Meera Sethi

Enriching the core

When Maya Pramanik began her journey as a Suposhan Sangini (village health volunteer), she did not know her passion for community development would transform her life. For a housewife and a doting mother of two, her work in maternal and child health and nutrition is remarkable. Positive changes in health and nutrition in Brajalal Chak village of Haldia are visible, with villagers looking to her as their guiding light. So it wasn’t surprising when they elected her sarpanch; the housewife is now leading her community towards progress and prosperity.

When we educate a woman, like in the case of Maya, we educate a family, society, and the nation. Education opens channels for gainful employment, which empowers women and gives expression to their opinions. Don’t they say that change, which begins at home, builds a healthy and educated home that leads to a positive change. “There is growing evidence of social and health benefits to the family unit when women are economically engaged. More importantly, employed women are role models for their daughters — a critical factor, as closing the gap is a multi-generational effort,” Dr Priti Adani, Chairperson, Adani Foundation – the CSR arm of the Adani Group – had written in an opinion piece on International Women’s Day. Under the Adani Foundation’s project Fortune Suposhan, women are trained as volunteers to spread awareness about health, hygiene, and nutrition in their communities.

Both Dr Priti Adani and Adani Group Chairman Gautam Adani are champions of women’s empowerment. One can see where it comes from and how it has had a ripple effect, resulting in positive and lasting change. Dr Adani, who was studying dentistry, decided to marry a school dropout after her father persuaded her to marry the man “who had the intelligence to discover more than one way to stand on his feet and to make others grow with him”. Mr Adani admits his wife “took a bold decision to marry him”, and says she has been his pillar of strength through thick and thin.

The couple leads by example. As a leader, Mr Adani motivates and inspires women in his family to hold positions of power and takes pride in being surrounded by such confident women. His daughter-in-law Paridhi Adani is a law graduate and a partner at law firm Cyril Amarchand Mangaldas, nephew Mr Pranav Adani’s wife Namrata Adani runs the Adani International School and his three adorable granddaughters, who he considers his stress busters, rule over his heart.

At the core of the Adani Foundation’s vision is empowering women so that they know their worth; they know they can make their own choices; they know they have a right to opportunities and resources; they know they have the power to control their lives, both within and outside the home; and they know of their ability to influence change to create a more just, social and economic order.

Be it Fathima Begum of a small village in Tamil Nadu or Soga Mary of Muthukuru village in Nellore, the Foundation has helped channelise their strengths and empower them. “We were invisible and didn’t have a voice until our work began to speak for us,” says Fathima, whose shopping bags, lunch and chocolate boxes, mats, and trays made from palm leaves, have many buyers. Ask Soga Mary, who took the reins of her life when things came to a dead end and started her own bamboo craft business. She not only supports her autorickshaw driver husband in running their household but also makes a good profit that enables her to save for the future.

The Foundation strives to create sustainable opportunities to promote self-reliance through gainful livelihoods for women either through self-help groups or by providing training at Adani Skill Development Centres or through health volunteers at the village level to create awareness about health and hygiene.

Albert Einstein once said, “The world as we have created it is a process of our thinking. It cannot be changed without changing our thinking.” If we wish to see change, we will have to first change the way we think. Women comprise half the population of the world but are still fighting for their rights. It is time we bridge this gap so that their rights are recognised and respected. A nation develops if its citizens, especially women, develop and are given space to grow. As the Human Development Index, which the United Nations uses to gauge each nation, emphasizes, people and their capacities — rather than just economic growth — should be the criterion for evaluating a nation's level of development.

Views expressed are personal

Next Story
Share it