12
MAR
2014
Tata Steel, a subsidiary of the globally respected Tata Group, has joined the TeachAIDS efforts as a financial sponsor for the Odia language version of the TeachAIDS software. Originating out of eastern India, Tata Steel currently operates in 26 countries with a local presence in over 50. Notably, much of their manufacturing continues to be based in Odisha, India, where Tata Steel has a long-standing commitment to contribute to the development of the state.

Aligned with this, Tata Steel has partnered with TeachAIDS to invest in the health and wellbeing of the people in Odisha through the creation of culturally-appropriate HIV prevention materials. Customized for the state in their most spoken language, these educational tools will feature the donated voices and animated likenesses of renowned local cultural icons Prashanta Nanda, Aruna Mohanty, Anu Choudhury, and Akash Das Nayak (male preview | female preview).

The state government’s official entity, the Orissa State AIDS Control Society, has formally approved the TeachAIDS animations and pledged to distribute the final versions throughout the state (pop. ~41MM). Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik has also endorsed the materials, and recorded a special “Message of Hope” for the youth of Odisha to be incorporated into the software.

“Odisha is one of the states in India that is known as a hot zone for this disease. Unfortunately, due to the stigma attached, infected persons are not reaching out for basic help. Therefore, we must come together as a state to educate our people about AIDS… As the TeachAIDS animation says, 'let’s work together' to spread the message on HIV prevention!”
– Naveen Patnaik, Chief Minister of Odisha

India has the third largest HIV-positive population in the world, and the TeachAIDS epidemiologists have identified 16 languages, including Odia, to address more than 1 billion people nationwide. Within India, the state of Odisha has been identified as one of the few states where HIV rates are still on the rise, with the Ganjam district having the highest HIV prevalence rate in the state. The national government has recognized Odisha as a highly vulnerable state, identifying it as a region where prevention effects will be particularly impactful.

Tata Steel is considered one of the top ten steel manufacturers worldwide, with work spanning five continents. Established over 100 years ago, they have been recognized multiple times as one of the most trusted and valued brands in India. A Fortune 500 company, they have received numerous awards and recognitions for their work, including, most recently, the Most Admired Knowledge Enterprises (MAKE) Award in recognition of their role as pioneers in their industry. They have funded numerous efforts in the Odisha community, including support for the Lifeline Express mobile hospital services, financial assistance to students who qualify for their Jyoti Fellowship, and an immediate response to the devastating Cyclone Phailin this past October.

TeachAIDS admires Tata Steel’s continued dedication to the welfare of Odisha, joining other esteemed institutions such as Barclays Bank, Cigna, and Yahoo! in funding the most effective and culturally sensitive HIV prevention for the communities in which they work.