356 million Indians are under the age of 25. That’s 30% of the country’s population, many of whom live at or below the poverty line. India’s youth faces serious problems of unemployment and underemployment. The causes are legion and include dropping out of high school because of poor education, needing to support one’s family at an early age, a lack of information on the job market, and, most importantly, not possessing the basic skills required by employers today. Many youth engage in daily wage work unaware of the opportunities available to them.
SPEECH provides vocational training to low-literate youth in computers, tailoring, driving, auto mechanic, domestic wiring and motor rewinding. So they can earn a dependable livelihood and finally break the cycle of poverty. The important thing is that these courses equip boys and girls to earn twice as much as what their family would earn combined. As the course progressed, they not only learned subject skills but also learned to communicate, work in teams and accomplish projects. Healthy peer interaction and a positive environment of learning infused such confidence in them for winning over the challenges in life that they found jobs in their very first placement sessions organized by SPEECH. Their success not only helps them and their families but serves as an inspiration to others and helps us realize our dream of helping needy members of society who only need a little support and a platform to show their calibre.
Vocational Training is thus a powerful tool. By making the destitute financially independent, it breaks the cycle of poverty, breeds confidence, self-respect and turns marginalized youth into responsible citizens of society. Moreover, it is possibly the single most effective program for the upliftment of women, according them the ability to chart their own destinies.
We successfully completed the mobile repairing training. 30 adolescent girls had undergone this training. They were regular to the classes and showed keen interest to learn mobile repairing skills. Technical support and expertise on mobile repairing and trouble shooting was given to the trainees during the training period. We have established contacts with mobile repairing shops for placement. Some of the beneficiaries want to start their own shops and approaching the local banks to get loans. The Society of SPEECH also guides the beneficiaries in this regard. A ray of hope is given to the poor adolescent girls and they will become earning members for their respective families. The ultimate objective of the whole initiative is to prepare women & local communities to be the final owner and manager of the whole scheme and generate livelihood.
A comprehensive computer training programme aims at making the low-literate youth proficient in basic applications like – MS word, power point, MS excel, MS outlook express, internet etc. Most youth with consistent access to a computer over the period are eventually able to power up the machine, start up a pre-loaded application either from the hard disk or a CD-ROM, quit an application, operate the printer, access the Internet from the desktop, and even send an email, download pictures or images etc. Adaptive facilities are provided to the students according to the individual needs.
The beauty and expertise that Indians show in stitching and tailoring is admired by individuals across the globe. Specifically in India, there is a great diversity in the kinds of clothes people wear- each style is unique in its own way. Comprehending all these various styles is a challenge; with the challenge comes a great opportunity. SPEECH’s Tailoring Course not only exposes students to different patterns of stitching, pattern making and cutting, it tries to establish a certain conformity and standardization of all these services. The Tailoring Program provides training as well as supports individuals in setting up their own workshops as entrepreneurs. We handhold these individuals in the set and provide constant mentorship and initial capital support.
SPEECH believes that economic empowerment of adolescent girls and women will lead to the social development. For better livelihood opportunities we provided skill development training in Zari work for 20 beneficiaries. To encourage women empowerment, we assist them to get loans from the Banks in establishing the unit, purchase of raw material and sale of finished products. We tie up with garment shops to get orders to make Zari work saris, blouse etc. They started getting orders slowly now. This may increase in the days to come. We are happy that these adolescent girls now have sufficient skills and more employment opportunities created for them.