Sanyogita joined Mahindra in 2010 as Executive Assistant to the head of Mahindra World City – Jaipur (MWCJ). Initially, she volunteered with ESOPS, Mahindra’s group-wide program that enables employees to volunteer for social and environmental causes.
An Army veteran’s daughter, she’s always had a sense of duty, and has been able to give back to the society through ESOPs. Last year alone, she was part of 10 initiatives, including engaging with children and undertaking cleanliness drives, amongst others. She also supports animal welfare through an NGO. At Mahindra, Sanyogita is also involved in efforts like the installation of LED tube lights to maintain MWCJ as a C40 city – C40 is a network of the world's megacities that are committed to addressing climate change.
“Women empowerment is a cause close to my heart. In my effort to change at least one girl child’s life in my personal capacity, I’m sponsoring a Nanhi Kali since the past 6 years.”
In 2014, she took over CSR as a complete department in MWCJ. This expanded her duties to planning, budgeting, reporting, and overlooking projects but she continued to focus on empowering women though skill development.
“Since the MWC site office is on the outskirts of Jaipur, we’re able to reach women in the neighbouring villages that are barely 10 minutes away.”
Since the women do not venture out of their homes as such for work, we train them in stitching, handicrafts, beautician and salon skills, hairstyling, and food preservation – everything that can be handled from their own homes or village.
While the women today exhibit confidence and are well skilled in their fields, it wasn’t exactly a smooth journey, considering the orthodox traditions and mindset in some villages. Convincing men was difficult and some even suggested for all communication to happen through the Gram Panchayat.
“Back in 2009, they were so hesitant, we couldn’t even find 10 women to come for the training. We opened our first centre in a lady’s house in Kalwaara village, so the women were comfortable.”
Over time, their efforts have seen the day of light. They’ve impacted 23 villages and Sanyogita has also been able to train them to improve hygiene practices – women and adolescent girls now use menstrual cups and biodegradable sanitary napkins.
“The initial hurdle of trying to convince families is fading. Women are now letting their daughters come to train. We’ve been able to go a step further and introduce electrical training to them.”
From the first year, when they trained a total of 25 women, they’ve come a long way in the past 10 years, with last year’s number crossing 275. At 1440, the number of women trained for skill development matches that of men – 1700. And this number keeps increasing every year.
She believes that the biggest testimony to all these efforts is the visible change in the lives of these women over the 10-year period. Apart from their confidence, they are self-dependent, and earn a reasonable amount of income.
“Most importantly, there’s been a shift in mindset – something that benefits not only the women but opens up a door of opportunities for their children, and also helps them financially support their families.”
About 40 women have already been hired by an international knitting tools manufacturer at MWCJ. Some women have joined in to work on MWCJ’s landscaping and as O&M staff. While they cannot change much immediately, they plan to keep introducing newer trainings to help women develop more skills. Eventually, she aims to help create jobs for them and hire them back into the workforce.
“I am humbled by the positive impact of our CSR engagement efforts in the lives and communities of our larger ecosystems. It allows me to live the RISE philosophy every day, one purpose at a time. Together we can and we must.”
ESOPs Star Performer & Award Winner