January 02, 2023

Happy New Year, & May You Thrive in 2023!

Dear Friends, Family & Supporters, This time of year is always one of reflection, and we wanted to share with you some of the things we achieved over the last 12months, with thanks to your support and well wishes!

Here is a little look at what we managed to achieve in 2022:
  • We Scaled & Grew – Spurred on by the desperate need in rural India, we have been on a mission to scale and expand our impact.  What is scale really?  Yes, our funding has increased, we have entered new territories and the number of people we reached has improved.  But we are no fly-by-night organization, and once we enter a community, we tend to stick around, and go deep.  The depth and breadth of our programs, and work in communities, has therefore been a big focus – far more than simply ensuring we ‘grew’ in size and numbers.  For this is where the ‘juice’ is, and we reaped many rewards along the way as a result of that depth - seeing our rural people and communities flourish in so many ways.  But of course, they did all the hard work – we are simply the enablers and guides! 
  • We Saw the Transition in Ownership of Our Parent Company – Whilst we are a stand-alone non-profit today, our ‘mother company’ – Ambuja Cements Ltd – is still a very big part of who we are and what we stand for.  We owe a debt of gratitude to ACL for igniting our work and guiding us in our formative years; their steadfast support over the years; and instilling core processes and values that have served us over time.  2022 was a year of big change for ACL, as they saw a transition in ownership, from Holcim to the Adani Group.  We have navigated that change seamlessly and have been encouraged by the recognition of our work by the new owners.  Retaining our independence, with Narotam Sekhsaria at the helm, we look forward to a new period for ACL and wish the company every success in the coming years – feeling confident that with their continued success, our work will only continue to grow.
  • We Prioritised Skilling & Entrepreneurship as a Driver of Rural Growth – 2022 saw us reach a milestone at SEDI, with 96,000 graduates trained to enter the rural workforce and fulfilling both industrial and community needs.  Our Chairman has encouraged the support of a SEDI Alumni Network which was also launched this year, to provide ongoing support to graduates to grow and develop in their careers - supporting one another along the way.  Additionally, our Entrepreneurship Development Program has taken flight and we are seeing existing entrepreneurs double their turnover, and new entrepreneurs flourishing, as a result.  We believe that skills and rural entrepreneurship are crucial cogs in the rural machinery – contributing significantly to rural prosperity and success – and are doing everything in our power to enable its growth.

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It’s also important to define what we aspire for in the coming year ahead!  Looking forward, in the next 12months we resolve to: 
  • Do more on Climate Change – With Climate Change a very real part of our lives today, it is rural people who are the most vulnerable.  It is paramount that we do everything we can to enable them to adapt to the changing climate, and find ways to live with the extreme temperatures and erratic weather conditions, that impact both life and livelihood.  Whilst Climate Change Adaptation is something we have been working on for a while now, we confirm our commitment to do much more in this area, to help our communities protect soil health, conserve water and learn agricultural practices, which help them better deal with, and bounce back from, the shocks of climate change.  
  • Strengthen Gender Integration Across Our Programs – Gender remains at the forefront of our work at both a community and organization level.  In particular at the grassroots, women who are so often oppressed, can be the powerful drivers of change – if only they are given the chance!  We will continue empowering women to frontline community health across our villages - working tirelessly at the grassroots to ensure people are healthy and productive citizens!  However, across every thrust area, ACF commits to putting women front and centre, so that they can play a powerful role in finding and driving solutions to tackling their most pressing issues.  And so that they can realise their own potential – as breadwinners, entrepreneurs and community change-makers – receiving the recognition, respect and rewards that they so often deserve. 
  • Stand Up, And Use Our Voice to Advocate Rural Water & Soil Degradation – Culturally, ACF is a quiet and humble organization.  We don’t like to ‘tom tom’ or stand in the spotlight too much.  But the time has come for us, as a large organization with almost 3 decades of experience in driving rural change, to take a stance on some of the key issues affecting rural communities.  In 2023 we pledge to use our voice, influence and various platforms to advocate for rural water and the degradation of our soil.  Our newly launched ‘Ambuja for Water’ campaign will ramp up – in the media, online and via virtual and on-ground events – to highlight the urgency of these issues, and ways to solve them!  
As ever, I thank you for your friendship, faith and support of our work at ACF, and wish you a happy New Year!  May you and your family thrive in the coming year; and we look forward to working with you in 2023, so that rural India thrives, also! 

Warm Regards,
 PEARL TIWARIDirector & CEO - Ambuja Cement Foundation

January 02, 2023

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