A training programme is helping 60 young women in Chandra Layout. Hailing from conservative families, they had not stepped out of their homes after their initial studies, but now, they feel they can face the world confidently.
They have just completed a six-month training programme, learning computer and English speaking skills to become employable. They will now be placed in reputed companies in the service and retail sectors.
According to the Smile Foundation, which conducted the programme, many women never get a chance to establish their own identity and are reduced to be someone’s wife or mother.
In spite of having desires of pursuing further and making a mark in their lives, they never get the confidence or training to be on their own and therefore, the Smile Twin e-Learning Programme (STeP) is an initiative in this direction.
Vikram Singh Verma, COO, Smile Foundation, said, “We strongly believe that when you empower a woman, the whole family is empowered. Most of our participants were married ofd after their 10th or 12th standard because of the financial situation of their families. But we have a long way to go.”
Currently, the foundation runs two centres — one at K R Puram and another at Chandra Layout. The project, started in 2012, aims at preparing the urban underprivileged (adolescent youths) with skills in English, basic computers and soft skills for enhancing their prospects of employment in fast expanding sectors like retail, hospitality and BPO.
The fees at these centres varies from Rs 50-200. The STeP centre at Chandra Layout, where more than 70 youngsters learn, is always brimming with activity.
Out of the enrolled 70 candidates, 59 are women and most of them are first generation learners.
They are very enthusiastic about the training process and are looking forward to make their own living.
With four batches having completed their training, admissions are on for the third batch.
Smile Foundation describes itself a national-level organisation reaching out to more than three lakh underprivileged children, youth and women directly every year through 158 welfare projects in education, healthcare, youth employability, and women empowerment.
More than 13,750 youth have been trained and 9,850 have been placed in over 140 brands through 35 operational projects across India, the foundation says.
I would like to educate my daughters, says
A first generation learner
“We stay in a slum in Chandra Layout, exposed to over flowing sewers, unsafe water and falling prey to recurring infections. I am worried about the conditions here as my two young daughters are exposed to such an unhealthy environment. Being married to an autorickshaw driver with meagre earnings, I have to think ten times if I have to spend a hundred rupee on myself. I have tailoring skills but that can fetch only `5,000 per month,” says Gultaz, a first generation learner.
Twenty Seven-year-old Gultaz has studied only up to SSLC and she desperately wanted to pick up skills that could give her better employment opportunities and further improve their standard of living. Making efforts to speak in English, the mother of two children says, “One fine day, I landed at this centre and in the last five months, I have acquired basic computer knowledge as well as spoken English skills.” Gultaz who is preparing for her exams, further says, “They have promised to get me a company job which will enhance my earning capacity and my standing in the society. Not just this, I would like to educate my daughters, put them in good schools and shift to a better area. Although, I have not received any support from my parents or in-laws, my husband has been very supportive.”