ACC AHEAD, an initiative of the spouses of ACC Limited's employees, stands for Association for Health, Education and Development and helps to improve the livelihood opportunities for women. The focus lies on vocational training as well as health and hygiene for the underprivileged. More than 200 women have benefited so far.

Each of ACC Limited's plants has an ACC Ladies Club, an informal association meant for social and recreational activities of the spouses of employees. There are 12 such clubs - one at each plant location. They have always played an important role in promoting a strong family spirit in ACC. Many ladies in these clubs are involved in voluntary social work in many different areas and in small but special ways - in teaching and helping with school activities, in supporting health camps and blood donation drives, organizing donations and relief measures and also in community work. The Ladies Clubs have always participated in promoting tree plantation drives and in trying to make the plant colonies green, clean and comfortable.

In 2007 the company decided to integrate these laudable social volunteering efforts of the ACC Ladies Clubs into the company's overall CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) plan by encouraging the creation of a separate CSR chapter for each club representing the social volunteering and community work being done by these women. Taking the cue, the women of ACC joined hands to supplement the community development programs of the company in a unique initiative. Called ACC AHEAD, this group is part of the ACC Ladies Clubs in which the women volunteer their time and energy to do social welfare and development work in the villages around the company's many cement plants.

Better health, education and development

ACC AHEAD is an acronym for Association for Health, Education and Development. The group helps in identifying and creating livelihood opportunities for women, adult vocational training, health and hygiene for the underprivileged in the target communities. ACC AHEAD is headed by Manjari Banerjee, wife of Sumit Banerjee, the company's Managing Director.

This group works to supplement the community development programs of ACC by tapping the energy of the women of ACC to do organized voluntary social work for the benefit of the underprivileged, especially women, around ACC Plants and in other areas of importance to ACC.

Within two years, the group has been successful in creating livelihood initiatives for numerous community women in the areas of tailoring, embroidery, masala-making, knitting, pickle-making and glove-making. Some plants have encouraged local women to produce items required by ACC workers, thus resulting in a mutual benefit to both parties. The efforts in the first year impacted the lives of more than 200 women in the communities around our plants.

Local cooperation with NGOs

In Mumbai, the ACC AHEAD team established contact with two NGOs, DEEDS Charitable Trust for the Deaf and Mobile Crèches. While DEEDS seeks to promote gainful vocational opportunities for the hearing impaired, the latter NGO provides facilities to nurture and educate the children of construction labor as childcare and educational amenities are completely absent from the city's construction sites, where the children are brought along by their parents.

ACC AHEAD has been able to inspire 180 women to enlist as volunteers. For most of them, this is a first-time experience and they have indicated that it has made them more self-confident. ACC AHEAD is a tribute to the women of ACC, to their talent, experience and also to their energy, commitment and generosity.