School girls studying at four districts, South and North 24-Parganas, Howrah and Hooghly were given away cycles on Tuesday.
To mark the occasion of International Women’s Day, RBL Bank, under its CSR initiative, Umeed 1000, donated 100 bicycles to the underprivileged girl children in Kolkata.
The Bank’s drive took place in presence of department of women and child development and social welfare Dr Shashi Panja, chairperson, West Bengal Commission for Women Prof Leena Gangopadhyay, mayor BMC Krishna Chakraborty, and principal secretary, department of women and child development and social welfare Sanghamitra Ghosh and senior representatives of the bank.
The beneficiaries were identified by the bank directly with the support of the West Bengal Commission for Women and district magistrates of the districts.
Minister Panja said that the girls grow up in a safe environment with all the facilities so that they can concentrate on their studies. Drawing attention to the dignitaries present on the dais, she said, “We are all women and we are all empowered and we hope that the young girls present here will soar higher than all of us.” She said that the cycle is not only a medium of transport, it is also a weapon to empowerment. She asked the bank to look at possibilities if they could start a zero balance account for the girls and give them financial literacy.
Principal secretary Ghosh said that she hoped that the bank will work with the department in future for more total empowerment of girls and the department will support their initiatives.
BMC mayor Chakraborty narrated her interaction with chief minister Mamata Banerjee where the CM told her about her inspiration to start the Sabooj Sathi and Kanyashree schemes. According to the mayor, the CM faced hardships while going to school and wanted the girls to have some ease while going to school.
Deepak Gaddhyan, head, branch and business banking, said, “Around 66 cycles will be distributed on the day while the rest will be directly sent to the schools as the girls are from far-off areas and it was not possible for them to come here. The girls will also be given away school bags and goody bags.”
One of the major reasons for children dropping out of School is distance. This initiative will provide the muchneeded means of transport to increase access to education. The Bank is distributing over 1,000 bicycles and schoolkits across India, including Kolkata, Hyderabad, Raipur, Chennai, Kolhapur, Guwahati, Siliguri and Goa.