Industry News Skills Development

Skilling women for a livelihood, and a better life

Pushpanjali, 26, and Nahid Parveen, 20, hail from UP but have found self-realisation (and gained self-belief) in a village in the city.

Both are part of a program called PARIvartan, which seeks to empower women and girls in Haryana, by giving them the chance of a livelihood. The program – a joint initiative of city-based mobile network operator Aircel, and NGO Empower Pragati – ties in with the state government’s ‘Beti Bachao, Beti Padhao’ campaign, and is currently being run out of two centres, in Chakkarpur and IMT Manesar.

“When they told me the course wasn’t just about training, but came with every chance of a job, I had to ask three times just to be sure!” said Pushpanjali, who, like the others, came to know about the program when the NGO was visiting door to door. “It was too good an opportunity to miss!”

Pushpanjali is someone who doesn’t shy away from making tough choices: she studied despite her parents’ objections, and married against their wishes. Her husband is now her rock of support.

For Nahid Parveen, the experience has been equally life changing. “I have learnt much more in this program than I ever did studying, for which I had to spend money,” she told TOI.

A ‘partner’ of the National Skills Development Corporation (NSDC), PARIvartan was launched last November. It is an employment-linked vocational training program that has so far attempted to skill around 450 women at the two centres. These women are training to become retail trainee associates (Chakkarpur) and sewing machine operators (Manesar). Besides, the courses help equip them with basic knowledge of English, computer skills and vital life skills.

Anita, the trainer in Chakkarpur, is younger than some of the students, but that doesn’t diminish her enjoyment for the job. “There’s a lot of enthusiasm here. Even mothers who have babies at home, they don’t want to miss out on classes,” she says.

Hers is a responsibility that involves a fair bit of emotional counselling. “The challenge is to make them understand about the importance of employment, and the positive influence a job will have on the family, on their children growing up,” explained Anita.

At the completion of the program, select women get to be interviewed by companies for entry-level jobs. This is where the challenge begins. “We continue our engagement with the women, because while training and employment are important, we also have to make sure they are retained in their jobs,” shared Mrinal Kant, general manager-operations, Empower Pragati. “For six months, a lot of hand holding is required.”
Later this month, the first batch of 91 graduates will be honoured. The certificate, recognised by the NSDC, is their ticket to a brighter, and more meaningful, future.

Read More : TOI