CSR Initiatives by TATA
The Tribal Culture Society
The Tribal Culture Society (TCS) of Tata Steel has done outstanding work for the tribals of Jamshedpur and the surrounding areas in Jharkhand. The society evolved from a pure company department for Adivasi affairs in 1974, to a Tribal and Harijan Welfare Cell in 1984. In 1993, it assumed its present form as a non-profit organisation, equipped with the expertise and financial resources to make a difference in the lives of marginalised tribal communities. The intention was extremely laudable since developmental concerns often have a way of neglecting indigenous people. TCS was set up to ensure that the voice of the tribal community did not go unheeded. Empowerment of the marginalised community was TCS’s primary aim. The society focuses on three important issues: education, improvement of livelihood opportunities and the preservation of the ethnic identity of the tribal community. At its basic level, education requires the creation of functional literacy within the community. Shakshar Samaj uses the software developed by Tata Consultancy Services to teach people to read and write. RK Singh, honorary joint secretary, TCS, says, “We have shifted from using only computers to using flip charts and alphabet charts.” Currently learners are taught how to write in the Devanagari script. Plans are on to teach them the local language, Santhali. Programmes like the Jyoti fellowship and other coaching programmes have served to create a positive impact on the lives of youngsters. SC/ST candidates appearing for the Trade Apprentice entrance exams are made to undergo a six-month residential training programme to increase their capabilities. Similar coaching classes are held for those wanting to appear for the civil services exam. Aspirants are also given training to become motor drivers, fitters and mechanics, pathologists and community health providers, etc. Project Sahyog helped youth to gain a better understanding of themselves, develop leadership skills, and inculcate a feeling of fellowship. Beyond this, TCS decided to work on building the capacities of adolescents. This gave rise to DISHA — Development Initiative on Supporting Healthy Adolescents, a programme seeking to delay the age of marriage, and provide access to information and better health services. SPARSH — Strategies for Promotion of Adolescent Reproductive and Sexual Health — provides information on issues related to adolescence and seeks to improve the status of the girl child in the community. All these steps have served to integrate tribal youth into the mainstream. TCS also nurtures the talent of youth chosen for their sporting abilities. They are given training and financial support to participate in meets around the country. They then secure an entry into the athletic, archery or football academies established by Tata Steel. TCS takes its goal of livelihood generation very seriously. The idea, says Singh, is not so much to guarantee livelihood as to improve their employability. Self-help groups enable TCS to fulfil dreams of running microenterprises. The society arranges for bead and jute handicraft making, paper making, candle making, stone carving classes, etc. TCS also supports numerous local clubs and promotes tribal customs and traditions in an attempt to help tribal children understand their heritage. This programme includes a tribal appreciation programme to promote indigenous value systems. A heritage hall has been created in Jamshedpur to showcase the rapidly dying culture and lifestyle of the four major and six minor tribes in Jharkhand. TCS has a library of books, which are available to students conducting research on tribal issues. TCS has also made arrangements for a number of mobile clinics to treat diseases like tuberculosis, diarrhoea, leprosy, cleft lip and other general ailments. It also looks into immunisation of babies and creates awareness on subjects like contraception, breast feeding, etc....
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