Reliance Foundation will support as many as 50,000 students through undergraduate and post-graduate scholarships over the next 10 years, Nita Ambani said at Reliance Industries' 46th annual general meeting (AGM). The company has awarded 5,100 scholarships this year, says Ambani.

Ambani says that Reliance Foundation envisions connecting with 250 million children across India to provide quality education and employment opportunities.

According to Ambani, Reliance Foundation has so far worked with as many as 70 million Indians across the smallest towns and remotest villages in the country. "From Culture to Climate, Education and Sports to Women’s Empowerment, Healthcare to Livelihoods, and Rural Transformation to Disaster Management, we work in all states and over 54,000 villages across India," says Ambani.

Reliance Foundation also aims to support one lakh women entrepreneurs, in partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, to help them achieve an annual income of at least ₹1 lakh. "In partnership with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, we launched a special initiative to empower one million women entrepreneurs across India. Over the next three years, this initiative will support and engage women in farm and non-farm income-generating activities, helping them achieve an annual income of at least ₹1 lakh," says Ambani.

"Women and children have always been at the heart of all the work we do. In about a decade, India will have the largest number of women in the world. Empowering them is no longer just a responsibility, it is a necessity for our country to reach the heights that we aspire for and deserve. At Reliance Foundation, we are committed to encouraging, enabling and empowering women in every corner of our country. Because I firmly believe that what women cannot do, cannot be done," she adds.

Ambani also unveiled the expansion plan for Swadesh, an initiative to preserve and promote India's age-old arts and crafts through the Nita Ambani Arts and Cultural Centre (NMACC). NMACC was launched in April this year.

 "At Swadesh, we give a global platform to India’s traditional artisans whom the Reliance Foundation has been honoured to support for over a decade. Featuring arts like Pichwai and Pattachitra; weaves like Benarasi, Paithani, and Patola; crafts like Kashmiri carpets and shawls, and blue pottery, Swadesh spotlights the spirit of ‘Make in India’ and offers respect and sustenance to our skilled craftsmen and women. These artisans truly are the pride of our country. We have therefore drawn up exciting plans to grow the Swadesh brand globally," says Ambani.

"This will be supported by a new initiative, the Reliance Foundation Skilling Centres for Artisans. This digitally enabled capacity-building programme will transform the crafts sector by creating attractive livelihoods and raising the social prestige of Indian artisans across the country. It has been an honour for us to support them and their artistic legacy that has been passed down over generations," she adds.

On Monday, Nita Ambani stepped down from the Reliance Industries board. Her three children-Isha Ambani, Akash Ambani and Anant Ambani have been appointed as the non-executive directors of the company.

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