India, with the largest rural population in the world, is experiencing an increasing urban-rural divide. To improve the quality of life in the native milieu and prevent migration to urban centres, Biocon Foundation has taken a series of measures to address the needs of education, health, civic infrastructure, housing, water and sanitation in rural Karnataka.
As a response to the flooding of the Krishna river in 2009, the Foundation constructed a township with 411 units of habitations with attached sanitation units to resettle displaced families in Mangalgudda village of Bagalkot district in Karnataka. Safe and sufficient drinking water was provided by way of a community Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purification system and uninterrupted solar power was supplied to every home. A community centre for social activities and an Anganwadi centre for mother and childcare were constructed. Now entirely self-governed, the community of flood migrants has a significantly improved standard of living.
Biocon Foundation has constructed and equipped a hostel for women in Haliyal Taluk, Uttara Kannada district, Karnataka to encourage rural women to attend training programs and hone vocational skills at the Canara Bank Deshpande Rural Self-Employment Training Institute. The hostel with a capacity to accommodate 65 women at a time, has well-furnished dormitories, waiting room and dining facilities. The Trust offers 38 different training programs in fields as diverse as manufacturing & production, IT and agriculture and offer underprivileged women an opportunity to progress on the economic and social front.
In a concerted effort to make rural areas Open Defecation Free (ODF) to complement the Government of India’s Swachh Bharat Abhiyan (SBA), the Foundation has established multiple community sanitary complexes. The initiative includes the construction of school toilets with separate blocks for boys and girls as a step to encourage the attendance of the girl child. By installing, operating and maintaining Reverse Osmosis (RO) water purification units, safe drinking water has been provided to many village communities.
The improvement of civic, health and educational infrastructure is fundamental to boost economic growth and development of rural communities. Biocon Foundation has improved access to markets and employment opportunities by connecting rural settlements by road construction, to urban hubs. To augment learning and development at the local level, the Foundation has built and restored classrooms in schools and junior colleges. To protect and preserve community health, the Foundation works tirelessly to improve public health infrastructure and services in rural areas.