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Alwar, India: In rural India, where people depend on groundwater or weekly municipal water supply, getting fresh water daily is a major household chore, mostly shouldered by women. On average, it takes about three hours to fetch water to meet the needs of a family of four – a rough estimate for when the water source is within a 2 to 5 km radius.
In rural Rajasthan, however, the number can go up to four hours, including the time for travel on foot.
Things are albeit a bit different in Alwar, Rajasthan.
Five years after Hinduja Foundation (HF), the philanthropic arm of the 110-year-old Hinduja Group, and Ashok Leyland (AL), the Group’s flagship subsidiary, successfully carried out sustainable water resource management initiatives, 450 women beneficiaries are gearing up to be trained as women entrepreneurs in Alwar.
The new initiative – an off-shoot of HF’s flagship CSR Water Stewardship program, Jal Jeevan – will empower rural women through skill development and business outreach. In the first phase, 30 women will be trained in the food industry and running tailoring business.
The project will be implemented jointly by the Hinduja Foundation, Ashok Leyland, and BML Munjal University (a Hero Group initiative). Under this partnership, the University, through its Atal Community Innovation Centre – BML Munjal University, will collaborate with Sujal Mahila Mahasangh Alwar (SMMA), a grassroots organization supported by the Hinduja Foundation and Ashok Leyland.
SMMA is a collective of women leading village-level planning and promoting Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene (WASH) practices. In this pilot program, ACIC-BMU have initially identified about 450 women, known as Sujal Sahelis, who have entrepreneurial aspirations and a desire for self-reliance.
For the Hinduja Foundation, the new venture by Sujal Mahila Mahasangh Alwar is a testament to the resounding benefits accrued under Jal Jeevan, Hinduja Group’s flagship CSR program of Water Stewardship. The CSR project was started in Alwar in February 2020 with an investment of approximately Rs 9 Crore, and till date, it has benefited approximately 31,000 rural women.
With an objective to enable at least 80% of the participating Sujal Sahelis to launch their micro-businesses successfully, ACIC-BMU has said it is committed to fostering innovation, entrepreneurship, and community development. This collaboration with Sujal Mahila Mahasangh exemplifies its dedication to empowering marginalized communities.
Paul Abraham, President, Hinduja Foundation, commented: “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. This program is aligned with our mission to create sustainable livelihoods and foster economic independence among women in rural communities. By equipping these women with essential training and support, we endeavour to unlock their full potential and assist them in becoming self-reliant entrepreneurs, thereby contributing to the holistic development of their communities.”
Dr. Davinder Singh, CEO, ACIC-BMU said, “Our needs assessment indicated that the women in the village are keen to utilize their existing skills to generate income and support their families. The enthusiasm and resolve they have demonstrated to the concept of starting their own micro-businesses is indeed inspiring. This has impelled us to launch this program and furnish them with the requisite training and resources. We are grateful to Mr. Paul Abraham, President, Hinduja Foundation, for accepting our proposal and enabling this empowering training initiative for the Sujal Sahelis. Through this collaboration, our objective is to establish a sustainable entrepreneurial ecosystem that not only empowers these women but also contributes significantly to the economic development of the region.”
This program is a collaborative effort involving several organizations including Ambuja Foundation. SWAN Livelihood as the training implementation partner. Sujal Mahila Mahasangh, led by President Sangeeta, plays a crucial role in facilitating this initiative.





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