International Day of People with Disabilities: Vedanta Aluminium bats for greater inclusivity

The company employs several differently-abled individuals in functions as varied as Commercial, Human Resources, and Security

Bhubaneswar, 4thDecember 2023:On International Day of Persons with Disabilities,Vedanta Aluminium, India’s largest producer of aluminium, reaffirms its commitment to bolstering diversity, equity, and inclusivity (DE&I) across India’s manufacturing landscape. The company employs several differently-abled individuals within its operations at present. On the occasion, it organisednumerous initiatives aimed at driving greater awareness around the challenges faced by the differently-abled, and how a more inclusive world can be created by being empathetic to their unique needs. The company’s endeavour is especially significant, given the complexity of tasks in the heavy engineering, metals, and manufacturing sectors.

Differently-abled professionals at Vedanta Aluminium are provided specialized training from domain experts to excel in their respective responsibilities.These individuals, facing impairments ranging from loss of vision to limited mobility, have been strategically placed in roles that align most closely with their unique skillsets, spanning functions such as commercial, human resources, security, housekeeping, storekeeping, and carpentry.

On International Day of Persons with Disabilities, the initiatives organised were a blend of both community awareness and employee sensitisation initiatives. At its mega aluminium smelter in Jharsuguda, Vedanta Aluminium organised an interaction between differently-abled employees, their family members and theirextended team members. During the insightful session, the employees shed light on their lived experiences as differently-abled individuals.An awareness walkathon was also organized in collaboration with the Jharsuguda District Administration, with active participation from employees and community members.

Several employee volunteers from BALCO, India’s iconic aluminium producer in Korba, Chhattisgarh, also engaged with differently abled childrenat the Divya Jyoti School, a government school for the differently abled, through activities such as inspirational storytelling and hand painting.Differently-abled employees from BALCO shared their own journey with the children, demonstrating that despite their challenges, the children too could aspire for a dignified, equitable future for themselves.Thecompany also launched specially designed learning modules on Menstrual Health Management for visually, speech & hearing-impaired children.In addition, it undertook a ‘Stitch My Own Pad’ campaignto help fight period poverty in rural areas. Women with disabilities face greater challenges in ensuring menstrual hygiene, often contending withthe dual stigmasagainst menstruation and disabilities. Through this capacity building program, they are empoweredto stitch their own reusable cloth pads, providing safe menstrual health management alternatives.

Meanwhile, at the company’s alumina refinery in Lanjigarh, awareness & sensitization sessions were also undertaken for the students of Ambadola Samant Junior College, Rayagada, motivating them to better support those with special needs.An edutainment initiative was also held, with people tuning in to watch films spotlighting challenges faced by the differently-abled and their grit in overcoming the same. Over 50 such screenings were organised in a span of 3 days at the company’s Nand Ghars, which are modern anganwadis supported by Vedanta Aluminium as hubs of women and child development.The company also plans to hold an identification & appliance support camp for differently abled persons in close association with ‘Jaipur Foot’, an NGO that provides prosthetic limbs and other mobility aids free of cost to those in need.

On the occasion, Mr. John Slaven, CEO, Vedanta Aluminium said, “At Vedanta Aluminium, we believe that embracing diversity is not just a moral imperative but a strategic advantage. By hiring differently-abled individuals and ensuring that their diverse professional needs are met, we aim to create a workplace where unique perspectives contribute to our collective success. Our efforts focus on building a truly inclusive workplace that not only embraces diversity but also harnesses it for exponential growth and innovation. This has enabled us to remain at the forefront of people practices in the industry while also ensuring an equitable approach towards achieving sustainable progress.”

Vedanta Aluminium endeavours to build the capabilities of its differently-abled employees to handle job responsibilities at par with their colleagues and successfully join the socio-economic mainstream.The company facilitates this inclusion through a five-step strategy:

  1. Identifying potential individuals for hiring
  2. Comprehensive skill-focused training by experts
  3. Fostering an enabling environment via sensitisation sessions
  4. Deploying supportive policies and processes
  5. Infrastructure enhancements that ensure equitable approaches and accessibility

Hiring differently-abled personnel offers an opportunity for businesses to go beyond standardised approaches and focus on building a workplace that is truly inclusive. This outlook involves implementing safety measures, such as specialized alerts for hearing-impaired individuals, and process enhancements, like procuring customized tools that enhance mobility for those with mobility impairments.Moreover, Vedanta Aluminium has assigned dedicated Human Resources Business Partners to assist the professionals in accessing appropriate government services such as issuance of disability certificates.

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