Umeed, under the thematic area, has focused on increasing individual household security through building the vocational capacities of youth and women in the community.
Providing Marketable Skills Based Trainings: Securing their Present and Future
Umeed started providing marketable skill based vocational trainings for the community youth with the aim of ‘giving them a second chance’ at leading a constructive and productive life. High school dropout rates among children and inadequate vocational training among youth had led to decreased career and employment options. Thus, several batches of 2 to 4 month long courses such as Basic Computers, Tailoring, Fashion Designing, Beauty Care, Nursing Assistant, Motor Mechanic, Mobile Repairing, Tally, etc. were started for the community youth for a nominal fee of Rupees 100 per course. Supplementary inputs like free English classes were also provided for all trainees. Entrepreneurship development training, life skills education, and psycho-social & vocational counseling form an essential part of all training programs. Exposure visits to factories, offices, and industries were conducted to encourage the trainees to learn through observation and exploration.
Gearing them up for the future…
Sessions on Life Skills Education (LSE) titled ‘Soch ka Parivartan’ take place across training batches on Saturdays. Topics such as Attitude, Work Ethics, Self Presentation and Confidence, Conflict Management, Work Readiness, Career Planning, Motivation, etc. are covered in these sessions so as to prepare and groom the youth for a career environment. A full time Counselor has been appointed to train the trainers on conducting LSE sessions as well as providing individual and group counseling sessions for youth and their families. Counseling sessions prior to enrolment ensure that students take up only those courses for which they have an inclination. A recreation room has also been made available for students to unwind giving them options such as sports and reading.
A Livelihood Exchange Program was introduced focusing on assisting skilled youth get a job and encouraging unskilled youth to enroll for market oriented vocational courses. Youth referred to the livelihood exchange cell post completion of training go through mock interviews and subsequently linked to companies offering relevant vacancies. The team guides youth through the entire process – from editing resumes to helping them prepare for interviews. The livelihood exchange cell also conducts general and need based industrial surveys which in turn feed into structuring of all vocational programs.
Giving them roots and wings…
21 year old Radhika has spent all of her childhood in a boarding school before she returned to the community while in standard XI on the insistence of her brother and sister-in-law. She would travel to the boarding school everyday but was not keeping well and soon dropped out. Once recuperated, she wanted to study further but her family did not support her. Orphaned at age 8, the spirited young girl wanted to do something with her life. ‘Then Umeed happened.’ She learnt of the nursing course through flyers distributed in the community and enrolled for the course against all odds. After completing the course, Radhika was placed as an intern by Umeed in one of the city hospitals where she later got absorbed into a full time residential job. Today, Radhika earns Rupees 6000 a month and has been able to enroll her younger sister in a boarding school. Her family continues to remain unsupportive. However, she has dreams of a better future – for her and her sister. She is saving up to take a room on rent where she can stay with her sister. ‘I could get quality training here for such a low fee. Umeed has supported me through the toughest phase of my life. For me, it was like a light at the end of a dark tunnel for it is because of Umeed that today I can stand up on my own feet.’
While youth, mostly male, were accessing vocational trainings at the Umeed centres, low levels of women’s mobility and involvement in paid employment resulted in a lack of participation in vocational training by women and young girls in the community. Short term community based trainings such as Masala Making, Aroma Therapy, Juice Making, Phenyl Making, Henna Application, etc. had initially been introduced to create community leadership and mobilize women to step out of their houses and enroll for skills based trainings. However, low turnout of women at the Umeed vocational programs resulted in introduction of full fledged community based training centres so that women and girls could gain access to vocational courses such as Fashion Designing, Tailoring, and Beauty Care.
Entrepreneur of Hope…
30 years old and mother of 5 children, this young entrepreneur has been living in the project area for the past 15 years. She heard from the Umeed staff about a 10 day Entrepreneurship Development Program (EDP) workshop which was going to be organized in the community for women. She had the thirst to learn something new and immediately enrolled herself. Four days into the workshop, the young entrepreneur was struck with a business idea. ‘I am from South India and am very good at preparing idlis and dosas. I thought, now that I am learning how to manage a business, why not start a business in something I am good .So I started the business immediately. I even prepared a sample meal for my trainers and other women participants. My idlis were a hit!’ The young entrepreneur now runs a breakfast business in her community which is picking up well. ‘I am glad that I decided to attend the EDP. My life has taken a new turn’, beams the entrepreneur of hope.
20 year old Amir had failed his standard X board exams and would loiter about the community when he learnt about Umeed’s vocational courses through flyers distributed in the community and joined the three month long mobile repairing course. Through interaction with Umeed, Amir learnt about the open school system and has recently appeared for his standard XII board exams. After finishing his course, he decided to take on the basic computer course at Umeed as he felt it would better his job prospects. While undertaking the two courses, little did Amir know that one day he would be teaching his community youth similar courses. Today, Amir is a mobile repairing trainer at one of KSWA’s training centres. ‘Umeed has changed my life. It made me realize that I too can do something with my life; it gave me a second chance and the opportunity to dream.’ ‘The first time I took a class, I was very nervous. Today I can easily conduct a course for around 12 – 15 boys and currently I am training my second batch.’ Amir has gained a lot of experience to be able to start his own mobile repairing business. However, he chooses to work as a trainer at KSWA as he wants to motivate other boys from the community by helping them see how a youth from the community can learn and progress in life.
- A total of 703 youth and women have received skills based vocational training through Umeed’s training centres
- 184 of the total youth and women trainees have either procured a job or have started small scale business ventures.
- A number of women have taken up self employment opportunities working out of their homes
- Attitudinal change in parents has led to more and more youth; especially girls, enroll for vocational courses
- Umeed’s interventions have helped women and youth build confidence, in turn impacting their self esteems and self concepts.