Skilling Women Towards Sustainable Livelihoods

India is no longer the home to the highest number of extremely poor people. Yet it is worth questioning, will poverty in India ever end? Jayanti gives us the shocking but true answer. Among the many homeless people in the streets, Jayanti too would sit in a corner every day. The tattered clothes of the barefoot girl defined her as a child beggar. But this was not the profession she wanted.

Every week, Gautam came to the park nearby this street. Often he saw the girl and gave her some money. As months passed by, Gautam became habitual to helping Jayanti. However, soon came a day when Jayanti was not where she used to sit always. When his eyes searched for her, Jayanti walked up to Gautam, carrying her school bag and wearing a school uniform. He was delighted to know that she invested the money for her education.

Her keen desire to go to school inspired Gautam to work more for such a noble cause. His inspiration further strengthened when he met Aruna. Like him, Aruna too was driven towards empowering young women. As a result, she began tailoring classes for destitute girls. For Jayanti, Gautam became a true blessing when he admitted her to learn these vocational skills.

Aspiring women like Jayanti and Aruna taught Gautam to uplift the weakest sections of society with every little help one could afford to offer. Since then, not only did he begin to do charity, he also motivated many people with Jayanti’s tale. For young women coming from such destitute backgrounds, it is not easy to rise up and contribute to the community. But with little help, they can be prepared to become the pillars of the nation.

Lack of education has become the undeniable root of poverty. Millions of children in India roam the streets and dig into scrap in search of food. When getting a plateful of rice everyday becomes a dream, certainly education becomes too difficult to be achieved. These children can become the economic strength of the community but rarely are they given opportunities to reach their full potential.

In the recent years, the economy of India has excelled with glorious achievements but even then poverty and begging surface as the most serious issues in India. Seeing such widespread hardship, it can be difficult to not give child beggars financial aid. However, this is not the right way to eliminate their problems. As many as 3,00,000 children in India are forced to beg every year.

Education is one way through which we can change the world for women and children. Women, especially in rural areas, have low earning potential. As a consequence, they enjoy little autonomy in households. Being deprived of education, they attain less knowledge to properly care for themselves and their children. Shockingly, the infant mortality rate gets affected by the educational level of the mother. Female education can help the women of India to cross the major barriers to their health which can otherwise negatively impact their health and economic advancement.

Considering the challenges that women face from adolescence to adulthood and from marriage to parenthood, vocational training can play a key role in making the journey smooth for them and their family. That is how together with education, vocational skills training makes them capable of earning with dignity. For adolescent girls, vocational training becomes more important to build crucial life skills. More than boys, girls lack access to financial capital. Thus, their economic growth also ceases.

Skilling and education are powerful tools that can contribute to women empowerment. Educated women tend to be healthier, earn better wages and enjoy decision-making power within the household. Going beyond, they also ensure that their children go to school. That is why educating a woman is not only educating the whole nation but it also breaks the cycle of poverty and hunger.

With this belief, Ekta Shakti Foundation accomplished Radhika Skill Development Centre to prepare adolescent girls and young women for employment opportunities. Through vocational skill training, we teach them to face everyday life challenges with dignity. To make them self-reliant in their own right, we encourage them to learn and practice tailoring and embroidery skills to generate a decent income. Every time we bring them closer to sustainable livelihoods, we feel more confident to uplift them. We will continue to skill them and support them in becoming independent.