Coimbatore, January 29, 2024: In collaboration with NGO partner United Way Bengaluru (UWBe) and Vadavalli Gram Panchayat, in the Sulthanpet block of Coimbatore, Herbalife successfully rolled out an important initiative called Rural Rising, an integrated rural development program. Herbalife has continuously supported the program for the last three years in other districts of Karnataka and the Wayanad district of Kerala.
Vadavalli Gram Panchayat, with a Human Development Index well below the state average, faced challenges in various areas. To complement the Gram Panchayat’s efforts, the Rural Rising initiative addressed critical needs such as education, health and hygiene, water, livelihood, and clean energy, areas where communities encountered significant challenges.
Today marked a significant milestone as the initiatives rolled out last year were inaugurated with distinguished guests, including, Honourable Additional Collector; Shri Vijaya Kumar and Smt. Revathi, Block Development Officers from Sultanpet Shri E. Francis Charles, Assistant Educational Officer; Smt. Murugeshwari, DPO, Sulthanpet; Govinda Raj, Panchayat President from Vadavalli; , Regional Head Herbalife, and United Way Bengaluru team.
Under Early Childhood Care and Education (ECCE), the initiative rolled out a program called Born Learning Campaign to create a conducive learning and development environment in Vadavalli and Akkanaickenpalayam Anganwadi Centres (AWCs). This involved upgrading AWCs, providing teaching and learning resources, establishing libraries, and enhancing the capacity of Anganwadi Workers and Helpers through ECCE training. Additionally, one Nutrition Garden was developed in an Anganwadi Centre, along with the creation of 10 household-level kitchen gardens. A total of 663 Nutrition kits were distributed to children and their families.
As part of the School Empowerment Initiative, support was provided to Akkanaickenpalayam Govt Primary School and High School. This included setting up solar-powered classrooms, contribution of library books, renovating staff rooms and classrooms, toilets for girls and boys and providing an incinerator for girls, meeting the schools’ specific requirements.
Awareness sessions were conducted as part of the hygiene intervention, and 228 hygiene kits were distributed to students and school staff. The awareness sessions helped students understand the importance of hygiene in their daily routines. The interactive session covered vital practices, such as handwashing before and after meals, maintaining clean and trimmed nails, and regular teeth brushing. During a follow-up community visit, it was discovered that children consistently used the kits, adhering to the instructions provided during the awareness session and educating their parents about hygiene and sanitation.
An Overhead Tank (OHT) was installed in collaboration with the Panchayat to ensure quality drinking water. A 60,000-litre OHT tank was constructed with the installation of pipelines, benefiting 250 households and enhancing the availability and accessibility of drinking water.
Support was provided to Persons with Disabilities (PWDs) under the livelihood and inclusion initiative. Eleven PWDs received livestock, three individuals received mobility vehicles, and a school-going boy received a hearing aid.
In the interest of renewable energy, 50 solar streetlights were installed. These solar streetlights enhanced safety and security for villagers and triggered a ripple effect of economic and social benefits, uplifting the entire community. In one of the many cases, Saranya, a beautician, faced challenges due to inadequate lighting until solar streetlights changed everything. Previously, commuting during early or late hours was challenging, relying on family members for accompaniment. Well-lit streets now allow her to work longer hours without fear, transforming her family’s financial condition. Supporting a family of six, Saranya can now invest in her business, expand services, and hire women from her village, contributing to the economic growth of her community.
A total of 1631 people will be directly benefitted through this initiative.
“Our approach is not just implementing good initiatives; it’s about empowering communities to take ownership, ensuring sustainability far beyond our involvement. The Rural Rising Program exemplifies our vision. In collaboration with our CSR partner, we created a sustainable legacy of positive change in the community by engaging and developing the capacities of local administration and community members, formed strategic partnerships, and meticulously planned for maintenance.”, said Rajesh Krishnan, Chief Executive Officer, United Way of Bengaluru.
Ajay Khanna, Senior Vice President and Managing Director, Herbalife India, said, “Our vision, shared with United Way Bengaluru, has transformed lives across Karnataka, Kerala, and Tamil Nadu for over three years. Today, Vadavalli Gram Panchayat in Coimbatore stands as a testament to that commitment. From upgraded Anganwadis to empowered PWDs, each milestone fuels our confidence. We see families securing livelihoods and children armed with renewed dignity and hope, inspiring us to push forward, building a brighter future, together.”