Enhancing Skills for Employment
The children of leprosy-affected families unfortunately also face discrimination and exclusion even though they themselves do not have leprosy. Although the parents see education as a necessary means to both social and economic betterment, they are constrained by their poor economic situation and unable to send their children to good schools. Not only are the levels of education in the government schools poor, the children often have to face discrimination sometimes even from teachers who do not know any better.
In addition, often they are the first generation school goers and thus do not get the parental support that would push them to do well in school. Dropout rates are high and students give up after 8th or 10th grade. Even among those who complete grade 12, there are many who are either not inclined to go in for higher studies and tend to look for petty jobs. The few who are interested in studies often do not have the economic means to pursue the courses of their dreams.
The only way to empower the youth and children of this socially suppressed group is to provide them practical skill training and education that makes them easily employable and financially independent.
S-ILF’s Skills to Employment Program (STEP-UP) is aimed at addressing these children. Under this program, youth who do not want to pursue higher studies are given skills training so that they become employable and can get entry level jobs.
1.Vanita Vilas Bhapkar
Supertech hospital, Pune
Vanita Vilas Bhapkar, a housewife from Valmiki Nagar leprosy colony, Pune always dreamt of being a working woman. However, after completion of high school, she got married at an early age and discontinued her education. Following her marriage, Vanita’s life involved daily domestic chores and looking after her in-laws. Her husband works in a printing press, however, his salary is inadequate to support a family of four people. Vanita could not help as she was not qualified enough. Vanita learnt about some girls from the leprosy colony who were fortunate to bear the expenses of vocational training but unfortunately she was not one of them. Vanita also wanted to train so she could assist her husband financially. During this period, S-ILF tied up with Pratham and was looking to train youth free of cost. Vanita got the information from her colony leader and she visited the nearest Pratham Education Foundation training centre located at a distance of 3 kms from her home in Nasik where a new batch was about to start for the three-month training in bed side assistance. Vanita Vilas Bhapkar secured enrolment for S-ILF’s Bedside Assistance course, where she learned basic nursing skills. Taught by experienced health professionals, the curriculum combined theory and practical training. After completion of theory, Vanita was placed in a hospital for practical training. Following completion of the training, Vanita was successfully placed in Supertech Hospital one of the leading hospitals in Pune. Vanita’s experience during the vocational training is very valuable to her. Now, Vanita’s family is happy and proud of her. She is saving a substantial amount per month for her future plans and assisting her husband financially.
2. Mohammad Mastan
Mohammad Mastan, a resident of UppergudaMohalla, Ali MalkajgiriRahga Reddy, Andhra Pradesh is one of the youth who completed S-ILF’s vocational training (S-ILF partnered with Youth 4 Jobs (Y4J), a youth training organization). Mastan’s family’s income was limited as his father expired when Mastan was only four years old. After the demise of his father, his family struggled to survive. However, somehow his mother brought him up with limited financial resources. Mohammad Mastan suffered a heart condition during his childhood. Despite all odds, he completed his high school with great difficulty. However, he could not continue his studies after high school. Due to lack of skills and qualifications his work did not pay well. So, he continued to change employment. In 2012-2013, Mohammad Mastan was identified by Y4J, S-ILF’s training partner during their first training mobilization campaign. Mohammad Mastan received counselling with this organization and trained as a Retail Executive. After completion of the training, Mohammad Mastan secured a job at Domino’s Pizza, where he worked as a crew member. In order to dedicate more time to his family, he quit Domino’s Pizza and joined First Flight courier services. This new job gave him time flexibility.
Today, Mohammad Mastan is an example for other youth. Training has helped build and refine Mastan’s customer management skills. His attitude and behaviour has changed remarkably. Over a period of time, he has gained experience and confidence in his work. At his current entry level role, Mastan receives a salary of approximately INR 6,000 per month, which has resulted in a better life for him and his mother.
3. Shivshankar Mahilange
Shivshankar Mahilange, a school dropout from Champa district of Chattisgharh has seen poverty and struggle since very early age when his father left his family. Shivshankar Mahilangealongh with 3 more siblings was raised by his mother who is selling fishes to meet the needs of the family. Being the eldest son he had to take up the responsibility to assist his mother at a very tender age as the domestic needs were getting high. Hence, he dropped out of school and started working as a daily wage labourer. However, the earning was quite low and availability of work was erratic.
In the meanwhile, S-ILF expanded its Skill development Programme to Chhattisgarh. Shivshanker was connected with Pratham Education Foundation by the state Leader Mr. Vijay Maseeh.
After a brief career counselling Shivshankar saw a good future in the Hospitality trade and opte for the same and underwent a rigorous training at Pratham Education Foundation’s Dhamtri Centre.
During his training Shivshankar has been very dedicated and has putin all his efforts to learn the skills being parted at the centre. He displayed a significant change in his behaviour and reflected a positive change of attitude and conduct. He had been very positive about the life he had to lead after completion of the training. Shivshankar along with the other trainees from similar backgrounds learnt the skill of management, communication, mannerism, personality development and customer dealing along with the core competencies of hospitality i.e: production, Food & Beverage, Front office and Housekeeping.
After completion of three months training, Shivshankar appeared in an assessment exam, which he had cleared successfully. Later on he appeared in a placement interview and got placed in Taj Gateway Hotel, Ahmadabad with a monthly remuneration of 6000 per month where he has worked for more than one year. Now, Shivshankar has joined Novotel in Mumbai for a better job opportunity and earning 9,000 per month.
4. Ranjit Kumar
Ranjit Kumar, a resident of a small town of Nawada, Bihar has seen the plight of leprosy when his father was affected by the ailment. Stigma attached to the ailment pushed his father to work as a dresser in Kusht Sewa samiti, Kapasia ashram to meet the needs of his family.
Ranjit who saw education as a key to get rid of the stigma and make big in life, he never thought of leaving his studies despite difficulties in family and a pressure to earn for the family. After completion of his graduation Ranjit started working in Mumbai where he did not see any substantial growth in his career despite working for almost two years.
A mobilisation was conducted in Nawada district by S-ILF in the month of September, 2014 from where he gets the information of skill development programme of S-ILF. He decided to opt for the CargaManagmenet training which was being imparted by GMR Foundation in Delhi. Ranjit decided to leave his job and come to Delhi for the training.
In January, 2015 he got the admission and started his training during the training Ranjit was so focussed and sincere to make most of it. Ranjit himself believes that his life has been changed and he has to take it further ahead by utilising the knowledge and training that he has received. He believes that after the training, a platform has been developed for him and now he has to make it big for himself.
After completion of three months training, Ranjit appeared in an assessment exam, which he had cleared successfully. Later on he appeared in a campus placement interview and got placed on the position of Cargo Officer in Delhi Cargo Cervice Centre located at IGI airport, New Delhi, with a monthly remuneration of 26,000 per month.
Ranjit believe that his life has been changed post training. Now, he is the major contributor in the family and looking forward to make it large with the skills he has been imbibed with. He is looking forward to secure a job in Airlines cargo cervices. The developments and confidence he has shown in past few months, there is no wonder that we would hear this good news in near future.
Saleem, eldest son of a leprosy affected couple from Purnia, Bihar who were forced to leave their homes due to stigma attached with the ailment. Saleem’s parents initially came and settled in Bijnore but there was no respite from the stigma. They again decide for the migration and finally landed in Tahirpur Leprosy Colony in New Delhi.
Earlier, Saleems’s father used to work in Lucknow where he used to make Micro Cellular Rubber (MCR) shoes for leprosy patients. However, post retirement the whole family was bound to survive on a meagre pension provided by the government.
Financial condition of the family had forced Saleem to take up the job to assist and meet the ends for family. Hence, he decided to continue his studies through IGNOU and work on fulltime employment. However, lack of skills and knowhow has never let him secure a good and sustainable job.
During a mobilisation drive conducted at Tahirpur Leprosy colony Saleem was identified as a potential beneficiary of the S-ILF’s skill Development programme. Hence, he was connected with IIJT where he opted for a 6 month CCNA course where Saleem is taught the techniques of Computer Networking. The curriculum at IIJT was a perfect blend of theory and practical, in which he was taught by experienced teachers and professionals.
After completion of the training Saleem applied for a internship with Orient Technologies. However, his dedication and hardwark pays off when Orient Technologies offered him a job with monthly salary of 12,000.
Now, Saleem is looking after the every needs of his home and taking care of the financial needs of the whole family. Now, he is dreaming of getting advance training and get certification of CISCO for CCNA. Considering his dedication, he hope that he would realise his dream very soon.