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Ceremonial opening of the Savannah Seeds Community Center

Savannah, RiceTec's subsidiary in India, has funded the construction of a community center in the village of Lakhnora (200 km north of Delhi). The inaugural event was held June 3, where the center was inaugurated by Dr. Girish Nagpal, Deputy Director of Agriculture, and Ajai Rana, CEO and Managing Director of Savannah Seeds. The goal is to empower communities through educational opportunities, livelihood skills development support and community development. Savannah partnered with Rural Education and Development (READ) India for the project. 

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, work had been somewhat delayed, but the community center is now operational. 200 families living in the area are expected to benefit from the center. There will be regularly scheduled volunteer programs for Savannah employees.

The READ Center has more than 1,800 books in the library and in the Early Childhood Development (ECD) department. The books in the library are for students ages 6 and up, while those in the Early Childhood Development department are for children ages 2 to 6. ECD books vary from folktales and fables, picture books and alphabet books to counting books and informational books. Other books in the library relate to nutrition, health, academic support, fiction, non-fiction, politics, etc. The Early Childhood Development Department has been equipped with new furniture, games and toys for preschool children.

Women and girls can learn various skills or prepare for exams at the center. The READ center also offers various livelihood trainings, such as sewing and embroidery, which, along with computer training, are attracting a lot of interest. The young girls and women want to acquire these skills in order to better feed and support their families.

The project focuses on the following

  • English lessons (spoken)
  • Digital literacy through the use of computers
  • Lessons in household management and financial literacy
  • Raising awareness of the importance of education and empowerment through workshops and focus group discussions
  • Improving children's reading and writing skills through use of the library
  • Workshops for teenage girls and boys (life skills)
  • Tutoring to help young people prepare for selection tests
  • Training for selected community members in center management and librarianship
  • Support for families in relation to safe drinking water 
  • Training in basic health care and hygiene
  • Special workshops/training sessions with farming communities on innovative farming techniques, provided by RiceTec and local agricultural experts.