Hinduja Group, BML University to train rural women as entrepreneurs in Alwar

Five years after completing a sustainable water management project in Alwar district of northwestern Rajasthan state, two companies and a local university are now training 450 rural women to become entrepreneurs.

The Hinduja Foundation, the philanthropic arm of Indian conglomerate Hinduja Group, and its subsidiary Ashok Leyland, have partnered with BML Munjal University to provide skills training to the women in the food and tailoring industries.

The training initiative, called Sujal Mahila Mahasangh Alwar, targets women from villages where the Hinduja Foundation and Ashok Leyland earlier implemented water stewardship projects to improve access to clean water under a Rs 90 million corporate social responsibility programme.

"We are pleased to establish a partnership with BML Munjal University to empower our Sujal Sahelis with the requisite skills and resources to become successful entrepreneurs," said Paul Abraham, president of the Hinduja Foundation.

In the first phase, 30 women will receive training to launch micro-businesses. The university said it aimed to help at least 80% of the 450 women, known as "Sujal Sahelis" or water friends, to start their own businesses successfully.

The project is being supported by several organizations including cement maker Ambuja Foundation and SWAN Livelihood as the training implementation partner.

Fetching water is a major household chore for women in rural India, with some areas seeing them spend up to four hours daily carrying water from sources several kilometres away to meet a family's needs.
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