Journey of VMS - Trials to Triumphs
The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step
Very true indeed! What follows here is an attempt to recall the journey of VISTEEL MAHILA SAMITI (VMS). Our first step in this journey began to take shape around the year 1981. Piloting this trip was an experience of a life-time for everyone involved. It is an experience we feel is really worth sharing and recalling many times over.
VMS began her sojourn three decades ago, taking baby steps, while the VIZAG STEEL PLANT had embarked on a long and ambitious journey to make one of the finest steel plants in the country. Today, VMS is a proud, well-travelled and a sprinting thirty eight-year old and still counting!
Ukkunagaram, being a good forty kilometres away from the “City of Destiny” VIZAG, kept us not just far away from the city, but also at a yearning distance from any form of entertainment and amenities. With very minimal transportation facility to even be able to travel around the township, this distance seemed rather arduous and it not only compounded the problem of boredom but also people here were devoid of the comfort and convenience of being in a city.
Life here for most women was limited to taking care of the educational needs of their children, besides, running their regular household chores. The ladies having come from various cities of India, to begin a new journey of their life here, were having a tough time coping with this new-life situation. The only form of socializing then was to visit each other’s homes and the big ”looked forward to” event was a monthly visit to the city, for most of the shopping and recreational activities.
A group of women, whom we choose to call as the “Change Drivers” here, decided to create a platform for the bored and stranded housewives to come together to go on a short trip. The VMS started off in a very simple way with the sole and simple objective of providing an opportunity for the ladies to meet for some recreation and sharing of information and ideas.
The focus of VMS support for development activities are centred in the areas of Health, Education, Environment and Women & Child Development. National festivals and other important days like the Republic Day, Independence Day, Women's Day, Teachers’ Day, Sports Day, Gandhi Jayanti are some of the days that were observed and marked by celebrations.
A host of activities are organized throughout the year to facilitate the recreation and participation of the ladies. Organizing cultural programs to showcase the talents of children and women of Ukkunagaram, is a regular activity. A platform is provided by the VMS to its members to participate in sports and cultural activities, and also ample opportunities are given to its members by organizing various events and competitions. To mention a few, Cookery, Dance and Flower Arrangement Competitions are organized which provided for some very wonderful and memorable moments to capture for posterity.
The motivated group of women wanted to undertake a longer journey and wanted to make the travel more meaningful, by taking up activities by reaching out to the needy and less reached. The VMS met with a lot of joy and success in the process of taking up development activities in and around the peripheral areas of the township and were growing from strength to strength.
Recognizing this dedication and potential of the VMS, RINL-VSP opined that it would be a good idea to get the VMS to travel to some more destinations by involving the VMS to channelize some of their CSR activities in order to upscale the ongoing CSR activities. VMS has been implementing multifarious activities in the areas of Education, Health, Gender, Environment and other areas of development.
In addition to the social and community development activities, VMS is successfully running three Jyothi Bala Vihars (Kindergarten Schools) and has helped initiate ARUNODAYA, a centre for Special Children in and around the township of Ukkunagaram.
People here are aware that VMS is involved in "Social Service" activities, but do not know enough about the good work. So, VMS undertook travel to another destination - SPARK. We attached a new bogie to our train of activities to travel to another beautiful destination. We called that bogie our magazine and the destination as SPARK. This is a quarterly magazine that not only showcases our activities and achievements of the VMS but is also a platform to communicate, inform, share and learn. The team of VMS had no doubt in their minds, that they were taking up another wonderful journey and the beginning of a meaningful association with every family in the township through this SPARK.
The VISTEEL MAHILA SAMITI is now a seasoned traveller, with rich experience and is growing from strength to strength, learning, enriching and reinventing, thereby, uplifting and improving not just the communities in and around Ukkunagaram, but also themselves in the process of extending support and contributing to the growth and development in its own humble little way.
The senior travellers got off for a break journey and many new travellers came along on this wonder train to continue the journey with renewed zeal and youthful energy. VMS - What once began as a sojourn, is today a well -travelled and meaningful journey dotted with wonderful memories to cherish. Of course, we do feel that there is so much more to be done, and that can be done. Members will be getting off the journey of VMS to move on to another destination on another journey. We have no doubt in our minds that this beautiful journey will continue with new passengers and new pilots. So, this beautiful journey shall go on and on!