Royal Rajasthan Foundation: Facilitating and supporting the empowered women and making a social Impact
Historically, the women of Rajasthan have been known to be virtuous figures associated with valour, grit, integrity and resilience. Regardless of the area, they have always excelled and displayed exemplary proficiency in whatever they pursue. They were the precursors of the very thought of empowered women and have been the driving force behind social change. Over the centuries, women of Rajasthan have come a long way and have reached much deserved positions in all walks of life.
The Royal Rajasthan Foundation is a running social establishment of the Rajasthan Royals that celebrates womanhood and reaffirms its strong belief in supporting women by bringing them to the forefront. It believes in giving them opportunities and mediums to live a life full of possibilities, thereby facilitating empowerment for women of the state.
The foundation has driven key initiatives to drive social change across various spheres.
The Royal Sparks – Discovering potential, championing dreams
The Royal Sparks is spearheading the social development of women in Rajasthan through sports. The Royal Rajasthan Foundation has pioneered a one-of-its-kind grassroots programme to unearth fresh talent and to provide a platform to the young women of Rajasthan for showcasing their cricketing talent. This initiative is called ‘THE ROYAL SPARKS’ and focuses on the age group of 13 – 19 years.
The overarching goal is to usher in a better tomorrow for these young women by creating a conducive and holistic environment for their sports training and education. The platform will provide an opportunity to make a name for themselves, to progress both on the national and international stage. This is consistent with our brand ethos – ‘discovering potential, championing dreams’.
The first year of this program was conducted between October 2018 and March 2019. There were three finalists from the initiative that saw over 1000 participants from across Rajasthan, who are now eligible for a 3-year sports and education scholarship program.
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The Royal Rajasthan Self-sustainability Initiative, Inspired by Smt Amrita Devi – WE for us
Water – its conservation and sustainability – is a talking point of high importance across the globe. A vision to conserve and have sustainable resources of water is the need of the hour to ensure a future with potable water through the year; especially in areas such as Rajasthan that are known to face water scarcity. Here, it is a known fact that women are forced to travel several kilometres to collect water for their household usage. They spend hours standing in queues, and sometimes even make multiple trips to fetch enough water for their homes.
Collectively planting native and indigenous trees that are known for low water consumption, with a capacity to thrive even in the arid hinterlands of the state, thereby giving water tables appropriate time to replenish, can lay the foundation for creating sustainable resources of water and also help in land conservation.
Rajasthan has a proud heritage in being instrumental in leading social change through its women. Smt. Amrita Devi of the Bishnoi Community, is one such great example who inspired women world over by sacrificing her life while trying to save the felling of Khejri trees. Years later, this paved way for global movements to save mother nature, including the Chipko movement. Trees like the Khejri are known to help raise the water table levels by consuming less water, thus contributing widely to the environment, land management and sustainability of water. Therefore, conservation and restoration of water and natural resources and creating awareness among women is of great importance, because they can be a driving force to empower the society towards a better and sustainable livelihood.
The Royal Rajasthan Foundation takes inspiration from the same and aims to act as a facilitator to the empowered women of Rajasthan, who, in turn, aim to work towards leading self-sufficient lives and continue being the driving force of social change. The Foundation will provide support to the cause of promoting sustainable living with minimalistic use of natural resources, mainly water through the women who have been the goodwill ambassadors for such activities.
The Royal Rajasthan Foundation sees this as the first crucial step towards sustainability, driving long-term conservation and improving the water table levels in the state.
As a first step, the Foundation established the Royal Rajasthan Self-sustainability Initiative to contribute in conserving water and land management and help towards its sustainability and reiterating its focus on facilitating women empowerment. The initiative will plant saplings that native and indigenous, which in turn will help water tables appropriate time to replenish. The inauguration of this nursery was held on 2nd April 2019, prior to the Rajasthan Royals’ match with the Royal Challengers Bangalore. The host team presented a sapling of a Khejri tree to RCB skipper Virat Kohli to mark the team’s commitment in supporting women as the driving force for social change, and also as good will ambassadors promoting sustainable living with minimal use of natural resources like water.
Identifying that conservation and restoration are important, is what will create awareness among women who can be a driving force to empower society towards a better overall livelihood. By using long term solutions to increase water table level, one can think of cutting down travel time of women to fetch water and ensure their safety and better productivity.
Ranjit Barthakur, the Executive Chairman – Rajasthan Royals, commented and said “Women of India have always been the shining example of valour, integrity and resilience. One such dynamic persona has been that of Smt. Amrita Devi Bishnoi, who rose as a symbol of women’s empowerment, leading path for social and economic emancipation of women, along with highlighting the importance of ecological awareness among masses. She, singlehandedly led a movement that inspired the famous Chipko Movement.”
Stand against child trafficking and child labour through empowered women
Rajasthan is a world-leading centre for production of traditional handicrafts, jewellery and unique textiles with some of their products known to be manufactured by children working in hazardous and illegal conditions. These industries largely thrive on forced child labour and slavery and make Rajasthan the second highest state recording child labour incidents.
The Royal Rajasthan Foundation stands strongly against any act that encourages child labour in the state. The Foundation believes that the root cause of child labour can be addressed if its practice is curbed in local restaurants, shops and workshops. This can be achieved by rejecting all articles that are made in industries that involve child labour. In collaboration with BAT and other local NGOs, the Foundation would aid in building a defiant perspective among public and bring about a resistance to child labour for which major public participation is a pre-requisite. This can be achieved by creating mass awareness and promoting the cause through large scale social campaigns.
The specific results can be achieved only by people taking ownership of the issue and joining the Child Labour Free Rajasthan movement. The Royal Rajasthan Foundation aims to lead a rigorous amplification campaign to champion the cause and increase public awareness about this evil practice.
The CANCER OUT Initiative
A very startling fact about Rajasthan is that it ranks sixth in the estimated incidents of deaths due to cancer despite having meritorious medical infrastructure facilities available. The main reason for this is lack of awareness. Patients are diagnosed at very late stages leading to higher mortality rate which is up to 70% even with cancers that can be cured if detected timely. This prominently highlights the challenges the state is facing in terms of early screening and detection of cancer.
With a strong resolve and in a bid to address this issue, the Rajasthan Royals, the Government of Rajasthan and the TATA Trusts launched the campaign, “CANCER OUT” – CANCER KI JALDI JAANCH KARO, JALDI OUT KARO!, for breast, cervix and oral cancer.
The then CM of Rajasthan, respected Mrs. Vasundhara Raje, amplified the campaign on the 11th of May 2018, prior to RR’s match with CSK, which was dedicated to the cause. The key objective was to inform women of the state about chances of curability through early detection of breast and cervical cancers, encourage early screening and detection of cancer by making it a standard medical routine.
The result of this drive resulted in the screening of more than one lakh individuals (mix of oral, breast & cervical cancer) within a year.
The belief that one cannot grow or progress without the overall progress of the community and society is one that resonates deeply with the Rajasthan Royals. In a constantly changing world, it is incredibly important to recognise the ripple effect one’s actions can have on society as a whole and contribute towards its betterment.