|“World Rural Women’s Day Celebrated as “Okhai Day”|
An initiative by Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development
Ahmedabad, 15th October, 2009: Empowering a woman leads to the empowerment of the entire family, this ethos has been the core value behind Tata Chemicals Corporate Social responsibility mantra. Outlining this roadmap, Tata Chemicals Society for Rural Development (TCSRD), the CSR arm of Tata Chemicals, created and promoted ‘OKHAI’ in Mithapur, Gujarat with the aim of generating employment in rural areas.
TCSRD has undertaken a revolutionary initiative by forming a women’s Self Help Groups (SHGs) - Okhai, in the villages of Okhamandal region wherein the members of these groups are involved in handicrafts production. The products are sold under the same brand name and the proceeds go towards their betterment.
TCSRD has decided to celebrated Oct 15th, which is observed as the World Rural Women’s Day, as ‘OKHAI’ Day in Mithapur. The Okhai store in Ahmedabad city showcased the handicrafts skills of the tribal region of Gujarat.
The senior management officials from the Mithapur plant felicitated and interacted with members of the SHGs. Also, a small skit showing the initiatives was also performed by the local women.
The Okhamandal region in Gujarat is a drought prone area, where handicrafts have been identified as a promising means of generating livelihood for hundreds of women of this area.
Speaking on the initiative, Ms. Alka Talwar, Head Community Development, Tata Chemicals Limited, said, “We commemorate this special day every year by engaging the rural artisans in various activities to make them feel special. We have been taking similar initiatives constantly with an aim not only to keep the art of Okha region alive but also to take it to all parts of India and the world. This year co-incidentally the day falls on Dhanteras (Lakshmi Poojan) and since every female symbolizes Goddess Lakshmi therefore this day is not only to show respect to the women of our rural nation but also to empower them and bring to light their talent.”
At present, hundreds of women are benefiting from this programme. The handicrafts made by these women are promoted under the brand name ‘Okhai’.
The thought behind Okhai being women can work from their home, many women do not have the opportunity to meet other women from different villages and interact with them. The objective of Okhai Day was to create a platform thereby the members can showcase their talents in the form of competitions and performing skits to get a feeling of being a part of a bigger team.”