The quality of life of hundreds of rural families has improved significantly with the completion in 2007 of 468 micro water supply projects by Brandix Lanka Limited, Sri Lanka's top apparel exporter.
The Group's 'Care for our own' initiative, elevated to the status of a flagship corporate social responsibility project, provided tube wells, deep wells and pipe-borne water to the families of factory workers and the community in areas such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa, Kantalai, Trincomalee, Moneragala and Hambantota last year and will undertake similar work in 2008, Brandix announced this week.
This initiative followed the commencement in December 2006 of a Group-wide assessment of the water-related needs of individual employees of Brandix by the Group's CSR coordinators, Anusha Alles, Head of CSR at Brandix said.
"We found that some factory workers spent as much as two or three hours a day to collect their requirements of water, and that in some cases, the quality of water was very poor. This led to the launch of a project to facilitate access to better quality water," she explained. "The beneficiaries include the communities in which our associates live."
An articulation of the Brandix Group's "Water is Life" theme for community projects, the 'Care for our own' initiative will target to benefit 500 families each year and will be funded by the Group and its business partners, Ms Alles said. In 2007, Brandix spent Rs 23 million on this initiative, with contributions from Gap Inc. and MAST Industries.
The beneficial impact of this project has in many instances extended beyond the families being assisted to their neighbourhoods and villages
Anusha Alles, Head of CSR
Brandix associates (employees) who have served the company for a minimum of six months would be eligible to this assistance. The Group's CSR focal points in factories and strategic business units will begin accepting applications for 2008 in February.
"The beneficial impact of this project has in many instances extended beyond the families being assisted to their neighbourhoods and villages," she added. "This has strengthened the case for 'Care for our own' to evolve into a continuing effort by the Brandix Group to help improve the lives of rural communities."
In September last year, the Brandix Group in association with Gap Inc. built and donated to the government a fully-equipped Water Research and Training Centre located at Anuradhapura. Constructed and equipped at a cost of Rs 25 million, the Centre which is now managed by the Water Resources Board, conducts training and educational programmes on the ill-effects of the consumption of contaminated drinking water and on the use of cheap but effective purification and filtration techniques.Brandix pioneered the concept of total solutions in the Sri Lankan apparel industry and is Sri Lanka's largest apparel exporter with a consolidated annual turnover of over US$ 320 million (2006-07). The 22,000-employee Group's CSR initiatives are primarily focussed on water, which it uses in large volumes in its manufacturing processes. The scope of the Group's projects has also been extended to encompass sanitation.