A proud wife, mother and an entrepreneur!

“Now my husband doesn’t need to borrow money from others!” exclaimed Vandana, once a homemaker. Her husband often fell short of cash to provide for her as well as their two sons. In order to pay their school fees he would need to borrow money from friends and relatives. Vandana accepted this arrangement reluctantly as she knew her kids deserved an education.

In November 2013, her life took a better turn when Yuva Parivartan’s social workers visited her village – Hiwarkhed. She was extremely impressed by the courses offered at Yuva Parivartan and enrolled herself in the beautician’s course. Since, Vandana had to take care of her sons; she decided to work from home after completing her course in February 2014.

Vandana Wakode Akot LDC

Soon, her neighbors and other friends started admiring her skills and started receiving a lot of wedding make up orders. It is been more than a year since she started and she now earns about Rs. 5000/- month. She says – “I can’t complain now. Life is beautiful and perfect! My husband respects me as we both have become the bread winners of the house, my kids love me as I am not only giving them the basic necessities but also am able to fulfill their desires!”

Her 10 year old son loves to help her around the chores while she is tending to her in-house parlor. Her younger son wants to become an Engineer while the older one, a doctor. Vandana is an extremely determined woman and will make sure she won’t leave any stone unturned to fulfill her sons’ aspirations!

An account of Krishna Koshti’s tryst with Yuva Parivartan

A lack of accomplishment in a child’s life can be disheartening for any dad. Krishna was merely a 10th pass and earned a paltry wage working at a local garment factory. His father wished that he helped support the family but Krishna was not qualified enough.

Krishna Koshti

During one of the mobilization programmes by Yuvaparivartan, Krishna came to know about the courses offered at –Yuva Parivartan’s Ahmedabad center. He joined the Tally course in Feb 2014, completed it in June 2014 and immediately got a job at Parle Elizabeth Tools Pvt. Ltd.(Ahmedabad). His employers felt that, he was a quick learner and could capture the company’s work quicker than others. In a span of 3 months, his income increased from 2000 to 7000. He is so inspired by Yuva Parivartan that he has decided to go back and pursue his studies. Next year, he would be appearing for his 12th board exams, followed by commerce.

Krishna’s father, a humbled man is extremely proud of his son. He encourages others in the community to enroll for a Yuva Parivartan course.

When asked about how he feels about this, he says- “It’s life changing”

Plan India’s report on Yuva Parivartan’s association with their Umeed Project.

Approach:

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.

Plan India 1

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.’

Plan India 2

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[1] 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.

Giving back…

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.

The change…

  • 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.

Mastek talks about how it built Yuva Parivartan a sturdy IT solution in order to help them achieve their goal of empowering as many youth as possible.

Giving the Second Chance!

So you are having a hard day? Another day of teachers and homework or bosses and deadlines? Most of us crib about how bad the day was almost every evening. What we fail to really see is that we are actually fortunate to get the chance to learn or earn something respectfully, every day. For someone like Leena Balu Thakre, who was forced to give up studies after completing her SSC due to harsh financial conditions, a day like yours would have meant happiness!

A house helper since the age of 16, Leena, like many underprivileged youth in India, always dreamt of better days. All she needed was a second chance. And opportunity did knock at her door when a coordinator from the Yuva Parivartan team got in touch with her. After several counselling sessions, Leena signed up for the Tailoring Course at the organisation and learnt the art of stitching. She also got introduced to computers through the enabler Basic Computers course there.

Leena Age 16 Helper for Mastek Article

Today, not only is Leena armed with a skill for life, but also has a respectable desk job in a local company, thanks to her basic computer knowledge. “I am more confident today, and can talk to people easily. I am more aware of what is happening around in society and feel good that I am able to contribute to my family by earning a living,” says Leena when asked about the change.  Better days are indeed ahead!

This is just one inspiring story of the innumerable young lives that Yuva Parivartan has enhanced. As the name suggests, the initiative aims to bring about a positive change for underprivileged youth of the country.  Yuva Parivartan is looking to re-direct the lives of that young India which might not have the ideal life now, but has the dream & will to turnaround their futures.

The Yuva Parivartan Movement was started by Kherwadi Social Welfare Association (KSWA) in 1998. The intention was to provide counselling & vocational training in different skills to unmotivated school dropouts so that they do not go astray and become economically independent.

As the organisation says – ‘it is estimated that by 2020 around 500 million people in India will reach working age, which will be the largest in the world. At the same time, looking at the current scenario where more than 80% of youth in the country have not completed school, it can be inferred that these youth, unless given vocational skills, will neither have enough competency to work as skilled labour to meet the growing needs of various industries, nor will they work for long as casual labour before falling prey to an addiction leading to battered minds & bodies.’ Therefore it is crucial that such an effort reaches maximum young dropouts.

KSWA for Mastek Article

However, lack of an appropriate IT system created many hurdles. “With our growth objective of reaching 100,000 school dropouts across the country in a year, we needed more support. However, the government and donors were becoming cautious about the numbers and needed detailed reports. Therefore we realised we needed IT to sustain and grow,” explains Shivani Mehta, Senior Director, KSWA.  “In 2010, we got a vendor to develop a software for us, but it turned out to be a disaster,” she adds.

The KSWA management team was losing confidence in its ability to implement an MIS system due to the failed initiative. The handling of vast data (Students & parents details, daily attendance, fees payments, exam marks) of around 80,000 students generated on year-to-year basis was getting difficult. Other problems included:

–         Gauging the exact financial position in terms of fees collected

–         Inability to handle new formats and initiative, which was hampering organic growth

–         Difficulty in generating MIS reports

–         Managing students’ information on partners’ behalf with around 400-500 students registered per annum with each of the 200-odd large partners and around 100 students registered per annum with each of the 2000-odd small partners

–         Unavailability of an examination database (Question bank system) resulting in difficulty in launching exams and generating question papers with answer keys

–         Managing recruitments after vocational training

Yuva Parivartan had come into existence to make a significant difference in the young lives of those who needed a second chance. However, going ahead to make a larger impact needed an accurate path and the confidence to walk on it.

The organisation was then directed to Mastek by a board member who had earlier interacted with the IT company. “Anil D’sa was given the responsibility to help us identify the right solution based on our requirements.  He sat down with the senior team of KSWA, came up with a MIS solution and put together a project team for it,” says Mehta.

Anil D'sa for Mastek Article

Through the initiative ‘Transforming NGOs through IT’ Mastek, along with KSWA management, decided that it would evaluate a ready-to-use School Management system and help the organisation to implement it as well. The solution would meet at least 80% of KSWA’s needs.

“Mastek did not develop any software for KSWA. However, KSWA is the first NGO where Mastek has implemented a solution and trained individuals from the NGO itself to manage operations,” says Anil D’sa, Project Manager.

“For an NGO like KSWA, an IT company cannot hire capability. It has to build capability within the system; who understands the business. We had to figure out the key people and groom them for the responsibility. There was a team of 8 people from within the NGO, who were trained to lead four different projects – two each,” D’sa explains about the process. “Initial engagement was school management system that began in 2011 and went live in 2013.”

The program was divided into four projects – Customisation, Testing, Training & IT setup. A major part of the program was training individuals from even the most remote parts of India. Interns from IT colleges were hired to train to the end users, ensuring complete coverage of training before the system could go live. Three days of training were carried out to ensure proper understanding of the system by the end users. “Mastek has trained, guided and moulded the end-users into software developers,” says D’sa.

This way the IT company not only offered support to the NGO in its proven capability area, but also provided guidance in managing the complete program to ensure smooth implementation.

The training not only taught a new skill & developed confidence in the individuals handling the system, but also in the NGO. “When started, we had no IT capabilities and were unsure about how we would be able to make this work, especially after the failure we experienced last time. But now, we are comfortable with managing the system with Anil’s guidance,” says Mehta.

D’sa too points out the significant change he saw– “Initially, due to the demons of failed implementation earlier, the NGO had a little lethargic and uninterested attitude. However, by the end of the project, they were excited and energetic. Their confidence has increased, as has their exposure and technical skills.” Mastek is now handholding Yuva Parivartan, by monitoring and reviewing operations on a bi-monthly basis and looking at enhancement of the process implemented.

As an IT professional with an experience of 15 years, D’sa found working on the project extremely satisfying. “We created a large impact. We helped KSWA in their goal to reach 1 million dropouts a year across India. These dropouts could have turned into criminals or lived a meagre life if KSWA was not able to reach them and we can proudly say Mastek contributed in an indirect, but big way,” says the Project Manager.

Mastek’s suggested IT solution not only put Yuva Parivartan back on track to achieve more, but gave them the pace to do so. It brought total transperancy in the system, got the organisation to a better financial position, built confidence for NGO to manage the IT operations among other positive changes and the ease of working.

“The IT solutions have made it easier to pull out detailed reports and track historical data and students’ progress. Besides this, we not also have a social impact mechanism, where we can track what the students are doing after a few months after completing the course. It has certainly added value,” explains KSWA’s Mehta.

However, there were a few challenges as well that Mastek’ s Anil D’sa faced while implementing the system. “Initially, there was not much clarity on key stakeholders; there were many operation heads and everyone had their own issues with the implementation until top management stepped in.”

Nevertheless, Yuva Parivartan and Mastek worked together to give hope and better days to many. When one young life changes for the good, it makes a difference to the individual’s family and surroundings as well.

Yuva Parivartan does not give up on the young school dropouts and gives them a second chance; and Mastek ensured that the NGO does not give up on its goals either. If there’s a will to make a difference, there’s always a way.

Yuva Team for Mastek Article

With pride and confidence, Shivani Mehta says the organisation is now aiming at reaching 1 million students a year. It is also looking to partner with other NGOs for further reach and improvement and make virtual learning websites. Here’s wishing them all the best!

Yuva Parivartan,Jaipur and their partner ABC consultants came together to implement something extraordinary and out-of-the box in order to support the SHGs.

Yuva Parivartan held an exhibition at Fairmont Hotel, Rajasthan in collaboration with their corporate partner – ABC Consultants. The Yuva Parivartan Livelihood Exchange (YPLE) team including the guide Mr. Saurabh participated in the event. It was an extremely fruitful experience for Yuva Parivartan Rajasthan staff.

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Akbar, Haris and Kishor of Yuva Parivartan staff worked seamlessly to make this event a success and their efforts paid off. Consequently, they collected different items from SHGs of many villages of Jaipur district and different Remote Work Force (RWF) groups in order to display them. The response to the exhibition was overwhelming.

The exhibition left all the visitors appalled since the products were reasonably priced in spite of them being of a premiere store’s quality. The category of products was wide with items like bangles, dress and apparels (for adult and kids both), bags, jute work, handicraft items, materials made with rag, kitchen items (apron, Kitchen poster and many others)

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Head of ABC Consultants, Mr Shiv Agrawal and CSR head Ms Jhanavi Trivedi offered their support throughout. Now, they are motivated enough to do this on a regular basis and are making a strong plan to increase the earning opportunity for RWF.

Mr Ankush Bhardwaj, Shiksha Khemani with the Delhi team, West Bengal team with their leader Tapas made it possible with their guidance and support!

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Yuva Parivartan’s Dedicated Grass Root-Hero – Dheeraj Sharma

Dheeraj has been with Yp for over 16 years and in fact was the first one to come on board. He joined as the timekeeper for the Balwadi and dental clinic.

Additionally, he was given charge of the equipments and rooms for various classes such as welding / tailoring / wiring / nursing etc.

Dheeraj

Over the years, he has became the go-to person for the most and is a senior social worker. He is responsible for networking with the community and engaging with them on a regular basis. He started the Yuva Parivartan club to connect with youth. He also interacts with the Mohalla Committee for community affairs. In addition, he is also responsible for surveying and mapping specific localities for training and coordinate the special projects for prison inmates at Arthur Road Prison-Mumbai. Dheeraj loves all that he does at YP and is proud to be a part of this vibrant and rapidly growing organization.

“From an austere orphanage to the luxurious ‘Holiday Inn‘, Rosy Michael Dsouza – Destiny’s child!”

Rosy became a student of YP’s Youth Career initiative (YCI) by chance when one of her friends at YCI coaxed her into enrolling and she agreed, albeit non-chalantly. Though initially disinterested little did she know that the nitty-gritty of hotel maintenance was soon going to captivate her. She began her training at ‘The Trident – Mumbai ‘ where her mentors taught her the art of delighting guests. Her training shaped her into an extremely confident young lady because of which she landed a permanent position at the Holiday Inn Hotel near the Mumbai International Airport. Today, she is known for her hospitality, naturally charming personality and courteous mannerisms which earns her appreciation from customers.

Rosie

Her advice to fellow YCI students is,
Pay attention to the training. Never skip a class as a lot is missed if you do! Take the course seriously and work hard, as this is a wonderful opportunity to make a succesful career in the hospitality industry
YP wishes her all the best for her endeavors. We won’t be surprised if she becomes a manager at 30!