Enhancing skills for employment (additional Ideas)

S-ILF is currently running 04 projects under its STEP UP education and skill development program for children from Leprosy affected families in India. S-ILF is running programs on education in 11 states of India.

Programs Status
1. Nursing Scholarships Started in 2011
Supporting 45 scholars
Currently running the fifth Batch
The sixth Batch starts 2016-17 for 10 new girls
2. Skill Development-NSDC Funded The project started in 2013
Now Expansion to 9 states
Reached 445 youth
Placed 208
Trained 347
3. Higher Professional Education The scholarship provided to 14 scholars
Available 12 to 14 more scholarships for this year.
Focus on 8 states

1. NURSING SCHOLARSHIP PROGRAM – Supported by State Bank of India (10), Sir Dorabji Tata Trust (25) DHFL (40) & S-ILF (10)

Under the nursing scholarship, SILF is supporting 75 girls from leprosy-affected families who are availing scholarships for Degree/ Diploma in Nursing. Five batches are being run with support from 04 donors. These scholarships not only provide economic assistance to young girls from leprosy colonies but also help in creating a better future for them, their families and communities. This year 10 new scholarships have been announced for the academic year 2019-20.

*All 05 girls from Batch I sponsored by SBI have completed their courses and have got good jobs. These girls have been placed in reputed hospitals and earning salaries between Rs 10,000 to Rs 25,000 per month. These girls were the first recipient of this scholarship program and since then have been motivating and mobilizing other girls in their colonies to apply for a scholarship at S-ILF.

In a situation where some girls just obtained primary and secondary education others dreamt about higher degrees, but had no assistance. S-ILF was approached by colony leaders and some enlightened parents requesting support for these girls for pursuing nursing degree/diploma. Based on demand from these girls from leprosy-affected families S-ILF initiated its scholarship programme for nursing students with financial assistance from State Bank of India, from the Academic year 2011.

After S-ILF initiated the nursing scholarship program in 2011, a word spread in the community about the scholarship support for the girls from leprosy-affected families. Many girls got motivated and applied for the scholarship programme. The applications for nursing scholarships kept on increasing year after year, requests for assistance increased from 15 applications in 2011 to more than 80 applications in 2015. At present, there are 75 girls in eight batches pursuing a Degree and Diploma in nursing. This is a very positive outcome from a community which has depended on begging for centuries. The availability of funding has motivated more and more girls to do well in their board exams and seek admission in nursing colleges of good reputation as the selection of scholars is based on merit.

The scholarship offered by us is a comprehensive one and covers tuition and other academic costs, board and lodging in the hostel as well as a monthly stipend. The funds other than the monthly stipend are paid directly to the institution. We have also instituted a system of regular feedback and monitoring to ensure that the students are doing well.

Eligibility & Selection

  • All girls from leprosy-affected families can apply for the Nursing Scholarship Program.
  • Admissions only to Nursing Institutes recognized by India Nursing Council (INC).
  • New admissions are given first preference compared to those pursuing their courses.
  • The selection is entirely on Merit.
  • For B.Sc Nursing candidates with subjects-English, Biology, Physics and Chemistry in XII are considered.
  • For G.N.M if a candidate had Arts in XII but manages to get admission in Nursing Institute can be considered.
  • Only one girl from a family will be considered in one year.
  • The total scholarship will not be more than 3,62,000 per year which will be directly paid to institutes on yearly basis.
  • A stipend of Rs 12,000 per year.
  • Selection is done by a selection committee which comprises external experts, especially from education sectors.


The program extends financial assistance to children from leprosy-affected families residing in Delhi, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Orissa, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh, West Bengal for pursuing professional courses for higher Professional Education- Masters courses and Professional Bachelors courses.

Ensuring access to education is essential to lay the foundation on which the children of leprosy-affected households can build a better and more secure future. One of the major concerns of those affected by leprosy is that their children should do well and not have to depend on begging or petty jobs to make ends meet. They all put a great premium on the education of their children and indeed it is rare that any child from the colonies is not sent to school, be it private or government as permitted by the circumstances of that particular family. Moreover, since 2009, education has been made compulsory and free for children from 6 to 14 years of age i.e.up to class VIII. It is the endeavour of all the parents to ensure that their children go up to at least class IX and Class XII. However, often, children from leprosy-affected families are constrained from pursuing secondary and higher studies by the poor economic status of their families. Although the majority of the children from the colonies go to some kind of schools, the level of education and learning is very poor and large numbers barely manage to finish their schooling before being forced to drop out for marriage or to work as daily wage or menial workers or in petty low paying jobs.

In order to enable them to pursue higher studies and make the break from dependency on begging or low paying jobs, it is essential to provide financial assistance to children from leprosy colonies. Additionally, it is a well-recognized fact that under the education system prevalent in India today, an ordinary B.A. degree from a C or D grade college or university does not ensure employment. This scholarship provides opportunities to children who want to pursue higher studies especially professional degrees that would get them employment. This will not only mainstream the selected scholars but also provide them a stable and reputed career.

Eligibility & Selection

  • All youth from leprosy-affected families in given states can apply for the Professional Scholarship Program.
  • The scholarship is available only for professional courses that lead to employment.
  • Admissions only to recognized institutions.
  • New admissions are given first preference compared to those pursuing their courses.
  • The selection is entirely on Merit.
  • Selection is done by a selection committee.

3. SKILL DEVELOPMENT OF YOUTH- Supported by National Skill Development Corporation

This program focuses on attaining sustainable livelihoods for drop-out and unemployed youths through skill development training. In August 2013, NSDC provided a grant to S-ILF for skill development of youth for employability from leprosy-affected families in five states of India- Bihar, U.P, M.P, Odisha and Maharashtra. In 2014, SILF requested for program expansion from 05 states to additional 04 new states- West Bengal, Jharkhand, Chattisgarh and Delhi. This project is not only an opportunity for skilling and employment of youth from a highly marginalized group but also a platform to earn a steady and stable income to a group that has traditionally relied on begging as the main source of earning.

  • SILF enrolled leprosy colony leaders to assist in identifying youth for these skill development training and for arranging mobilizations and counselling sessions in the colonies.
  • SILF partnered with established training organizations in India to provide skill training and placement to our youth. Currently, we have 13 training partners who offer various trades to drop out youths from colonies.
  • Mobilization drives are organized with training providers to share information about various available training programmes. Interested youths are screened for their aptitude and course selected.
  • On completion of the course, the training organizations ensure placements for every trained youth.
  • If the trade opted by the youth is not offered by training organization in the state then arrangements are made to send the youth to other states where the training is offered by the training partners.
  • It is mandatory for youth who is getting trained to accept the job after completion of the training.
  • Salaries provided to youth have been between Rs. 3000 to Rs. 45000
  • Trades offered to youth have been hospitality, healthcare, organized retail, Refrigeration and Air conditioning, Cargo, electrical, Apparel, computer networking & hardware, Sewing Machine operator, Accountancy, ITES & BPO, Computer Numeric Control Operator, Data entry operator, construction, beauty culture, Automotive.

Current Status

  • More than 450 youth have been reached
  • More than 370 have been trained
  • More than 200 placed in jobs

Eligibility & Selection

  • Youth should be residing in leprosy colonies.
  • Youth should not be enrolled in full-time course/school/college/university.
  • Youth should be more than 18 years of age.
  • Youth will complete the course and if they drop out before completing then they will have to refund the fees paid by SILF.
  • Youth will not be provided training in two trades but can be supported minimum after 6 months for advanced training.
  • If youth is interested in a particular training and training organization doesn’t find the candidate suitable then the candidate is counselled and offered other suitable courses.