LITERACY INDIA`s VISION WITH ACTION HAS LED TO SUSTAINABLE CHANGE IN THE SOCIETY
About Village –Anwalhera, District- Monoharthana , Rajasthan
Overview: Anwalhera is small village located in Manohar Thana Tehsil of Jhalawar district, Rajasthan with total approx. 400 families residing. The Anwalhera village has population of 1714 of which 1000 are males while 900 are females as per Population Census 2011. In Anwalhera village population of children with age 0-6 is 284 which makes up 16.57 % of total population of village. Average Sex Ratio of Anwalhera village is 1007 which is higher than Rajasthan state average of 928. Child Sex Ratio for the Anwalhera as per census is 986, higher than Rajasthan average of 888. Anwalhera village has lowest literacy rate compared to other villages of Rajasthan.
Choices for earning a decent living
In Anwalhera village out of total population, 90% of people are engaged in agriculture or its related Work but Earning is not more than 6 Months. 9 % were involved in Marginal work for the govt projects that too if that if there are projects to work on which is typically not more than 100 days in a year.
Literacy India did the baseline survey to start the vocational training project to create sustainable livelihood and income generation program. The baseline analysis showed that the lack of access and opportunities for livelihoods forced the inhabitants for migration in search of work. Male folks are dependent on agriculture, however it is seasonal. Women are basically engaged into domestic chores. Realizing the need for development, Literacy India started its operation to offer convenient education and also provision of sustainable livelihoods through proper training. General analysis and observation shows that there is always hidden talent for stitching and tailoring in this village and nearby villages as well, just a proper training to make them skilled is all it required. Women are also interested to take part in stitching & tailoring programme to support their families.Typical an average student of Stitching saves close to Rs.500/- a month if they stitch their own clothes and also take orders from the community , working from home without any overhead cost , the woman beneficiary can earn close to Rs1500 to Rs2000/ a month which can help a house hold in a rural surrroundings a great deal.
Literacy India Learning Centre Anwalhera, Sadla & Manoharthana
Literacy India learning centre itself is a composite. It consists of ICT based Digital learning for children, Karigari Vocational Training of Tailoring & Stitching, Weaving for community both men and women, Computer Learning courses for youth, Proving Agriculture techniques for both men and women farmers. The centralized objective of the program is to provide Education for Children and Livelihood Skill training for the community, so that they are able to earn sustainable livelihood.
A quick glance of activities undertaken during Period
Impact of the project:
Stories of support:
Name: Indra ( Name changed) Age: 20 Location : Anwalhera
Given proper support and encouragement, there are millions of women who can stand on their feet. Indra is a shining example, made a significant difference and established an ideology for making lives more meaningful. Indra had never been to school due to her family’s economic condition. She stays in small house with eight sisters in Awalheda a remote village in Rahasthan. Her father is very old and hence he is not able to work and mother is a farming labour.
Literacy India gives her a platform to grow and become self-dependent; she successfully completed the six month vocational training in cutting and tailoring course. Apart from this, her keen interest in studying and self-development encourages her to study in Literacy India and she has recently completed Grade V exams. Now Indra is a specialist in tailoring and stiches Blouse, Paint and Shirt at home. She is now able to support her family with additional income Rs.100 daily. Her mother is supportive towards her efforts and also encourages her at every step. Indra is very keen to work and earn money for better future of her family.
Name: Sushila (Name changed) Age: 30 Location: Anwalhera Rajashthan
Sushila scripted her own success — one which most women in the tiny village of Anwalhera are trying to emulate. She got married in age of 17 and did not get any opportunity to study not even to the basic primary schooling. Sushila and her husband has two children, son is studying in 10th standard. Her husband had tea shop in the local market of Anwalhera.
After much of struggle and courage, she joined the vocational training in cutting and tailoring in Literacy India learning centre Anwalhera. This course has helped her to earn an ad hoc income to support her family. She stitches clothes at home, but till now didn’t get enough customers. Moreover customers also fail to pay her on time. All the hardship didn’t stop her enthusiasm and perseverance and she continues to stitches cloths and earns about Rs. 2000 per month. From her income, she is supporting her family's expenses and she is also looking forward for a decent job opportunity in tailoring so that she can help in better upbringing of her children.
Gyantantra Digital Dost: This project uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to innovatively address multiple problems associated with the quality of education available to the poor in India: - Poor teaching quality, lack of quality teacher training - Inconsistency in teaching while teaching difficult concepts - Lack of motivation among children of the illiterate and the poor, to go to a nearby school –Absence of practice and printed work books in the Govt schools, that is a right of every child - Lack of access to engaging colorful storybooks, videos, and interactivity based multimedia learning content. This project have been to empower and educate the children with lessons using ICT- Information Communication and Technology which fast tracked their learning on important subjects like Science , Maths , EVS, upto grade V along with subjects like HIV, Sexual Abuse ,Voting Rights & Opening of Bank Accounts.
While the role of elementary education in the process of development and social progress is universally accepted, India’s dream of universal primary education is far from reality. According to the latest statistics published in the ASER Centre report 2014, over 50% of Standard V-VIII children in rural and urban India are unable to read Standard II level text in their mother tongue. The numbers are as alarming across multiple other parameters, across several others subjects including elementary concepts of mathematics, sciences, etc.
As per our Pre-Assessment while enrolled for Gyantantra Digital dost program the facts are writhen below and in rural area the fact is very worrying.
Story of success
Name: Vasanti ( Name Changed) Age: 13 Location: Sadla Rajashthan
This is Vasanti age 13, her is one such life among thousands that got transformed due to the dedicated and consistent efforts by literacy India. She belongs to a small village called sadla in Rajasthan. Her father is a farming labour and she has three siblings, two sisters and one brother. Vasanti is self-motivated, and has several accomplishments to her credit during the cause so far. She started her education in Literacy India, Sadla centre in Gyantantra Programme. As per Pre-Assessment test we found that she is not even able to write and recognise Hindi varnamala and English alphabet, she admitted that her grade level is zero in Gyantantra Course. After completion of the programme she proved hard work and dedication always pays off and soon she will be in Govt. school in Grade Vth. Due to this course, her reading and writing skills is now very good.
Name: Ramdhani ( Name Changed) Age: 12 Location Sadla Rajashthan
Like many others Ramdhani’s life was also transformed and revolutionized by Literacy India. Ramdhani, 12 year old young girl who loves playing Kabaddi and Kho-Kho with other children & she does all household chores including cooking. She has four younger sisters and one brother, her father and mother both are farming labour in Sadla, a remote village in Rajasthan. Ramdhani is a fast learner, energetic & very dynamic in class. She is currently going to Govt. school and side by side she joined Gyantantra course in Sadla Literacy India Learning centre. The inherent qualities like sincerity, enthusiasm & zeal were already there in her but literacy India has empowered her and now she felt self-assured and confident. After attending the Gyantantra course for six months she can recite and easily read the English small sentences, day and month name. In mathematics she can do addition, subtraction, multiplication, Division. In future she aspires to be a teacher to help others to rise and shine.
Integration of ICT in Education- “From Fishing out coins from the river bed to Computer learning—we enjoy both, however fishing out coins are risky we could get drowned in the turbulent Ganges and lose our lives, not so with computer learning. We can learn, practice, enjoy the stream and the tide on the screen and also teach others”
About Rajbhavan Unit II Govt. Primary School tide
The Rajbhavan Unit II School is a Hindi Medium Free Primary School established in the year 1974 in Kolkata, West Bengal within the residential premises of Governor House, so that the children of the staff could be enrolled smoothly in the school. At present, this school is not only has 100 children from several areas of Dalhousie - BBD Bag, High Court, Stand Road, Decars Lane, Lal Bazar & Esplanade, of which 37 are girls. The students can study up to Standard IV here, after which they can join the High School nearby.
In the past, the school was witnessing serious absenteeism and drop outs. These students drop out to work as child labour in nearby tea shops, vegetable vendors and street food stalls. Some opt to fish out coins from the Ganges River bed using a magnet as fishing hook. The river Ganges is very near to school, and during prayers, devotees throw coins into the river as a mark of respect, which these children are engaged to fish out. As a result, children are were missing school.
Literacy India Learning Centre with ICT-Based digital learning tool Gyantantra
It was against the murky background of absenteeism and drop-outs that Literacy India entered the school with a three-fold objective:
With introduction of computer learning, two interesting changes took place for both children and their parents. Children accept laptops very well as it helps them to be smarter and complete the course quite easily and fast. Second, the parents realize that computer learning is essential for their children’s future. Both gears trigger the utility of the ICT-based learning course and help to institutionalize it properly.
Achievements & Impacts:
Stories of Change: Pratima (name changed) Age: 10yrs, Location: Kolkata
Pratima (name changed) lives on the pavement near Netaji Indoor Stadium at Kolkata. She has one brother and two sisters. She is now in Standard IV. She was enrolled in Standard I to start with and she moved to Standard II without any break. Unfortunately, in Standard III she started being absent often, due to family pressure. Then she started Gyantantra, and composite learning of ICT-based education tools make her back to the academic course again. In six months, she completed Gyantantra and was up to speed in Standard IV. She is very good in drawing and painting. She would like to be a doctor in the future.
Priyanka (name changed) Age: 8 yrs, Location: Kolkata
Priyanka (name changed) favorite subject is mathematics. She dreams of becoming a teacher one day. She is now in Standard III. She has three sisters. Thanks to Gyantantra, Priyanka has shown remarkable improvement in 6 months. She is doing well in all subjects today. Her spelling has improved a lot. She is staying in a garage near high court area. Her father is a fruit vendor while her mother works part-time in a tea-stall nearby. Priyanka is actively involved in school activities such as teachers’ day presentation and also in drawing and painting.
Riya (name changed) Age: 8 yrs, Location: Kolkata
Riya (name changed) is in Standard III. She has 5 brothers and 1 sister. She is in school from the beginning. They live on the pavement at New Secretariat building of Kolkata. Her father is working in a nearby factory and her mother used to work as a housemaid. Riya used to go for fishing out coins from the river along with her brothers. She was not regular to school. To add to her troubles, the family had to shift base from time to time as the Police would evict them from the pavement. It was constant follow-up and child tracking that led Riya to join school again and get up to speed through ICT-based Gyantantra. Riya is good in Hindi. She can read the newspaper easily. She would like to be a police officer in future. She is inspired by a movie where the police can change & protect the society with truthfulness. She would love to do that in future.
Vocational training (Project Nandini )
“Women & Cab services …. no, no ….. This is a man’s job only. That’s what we always heard. But we have taken proper training for driving. Today, we are breadwinners for our families. We help drop children to school and young girls and elderly commuters safely to schools, colleges, hospitals or shopping malls.”
Literacy India Bhati Centre- Literacy India opened up a center in the BhatiKhurd village in the NCR to fight gender discrimination. The community in Bhati Khurd is very close and comprises Gujjars. The girl child in these communities is never allowed to step out of home, not for recreation, not for school. All that is expected from her is that she will get married by the age of 7 to 13 and sent to her in-laws’ house, look after the house and rear children. The concept of girl education and resulting economic empowerment are totally alien to this community.
Literacy India’s Karigari Janani Project helps improve the status of youth and women in Bhati Khurd by providing them with livelihood options through vocational training, based on need in their local economy, beneficiaries’ preferences and aptitude. Karigari Janani specifically focuses on girls and women. It helps women establish themselves in vocations such as:
Our Bhatikhurd centre already has stitching, embroidery, paper plate making activities. Some women are taking driving training as well. It was a real journey of the woman to come out of their home and take on roles that challenge gender inequality in its face. These girls who had taken training of driving are setting example to the community and also for their next generation. Total 10 women trained under vocation and 3 are activly working as professional driver.
Stories of Change
Monika (name changed) Age: 22, Location: Bhati Village, NCR
Monika from the Bhati Village is among the few who signed up for Driving training at the Literacy India center. Today, she is a trained and licensed driver. She loves driving and is proud of her job. During training, she came across as a quick learner and picked up understanding of signals, maps or technical guidelines easily. She can even cruise at 70 km per hr with elan! Monika finished Standard 12 from Govt. School but could not get a job after that nor secure admission to the college due to financial constraints. Her father was not willing to send her for driving training. However, she managed to convince him. Today, she is earning Rs. 8,000 a month as a driver.
“Yes I have come far in life, but the credit goes to Literacy India for making this happen; I am not a mere driver. I am driving the family to regain our lost fate.”
Rajni ( name changed) Age: 40, Location: Bhati Village New Delhi
“At the age of 30, I moved from my village to New Delhi, with my husband and two children. I started learning tailoring at Bhati center of Literacy India so I could earn for my family. My husband works as a laborer in a farm house and his income is not enough to sustain us. When I saw women starting driving training at Literacy India, I thought I should give this a shot myself”.
When Rajni realized that stitching and tailoring could not ensure steady income, Rajni decided to support her finances by becoming a driver. The course was rigorous yet exciting. Rajni received hands-on experience on different cars, used simulators, and took practical training on the road as well. Rajni was also trained for self-defense by the Delhi Police and worked on her personality by attending communication classes. During training, they were exposed to many other topics such as gender issues, women’s rights, empowerment, and financial management, sexual and reproductive health. Today, she is a licensed driver earning well and working towards a brighter future for her family.
DIGITAL INCLUSION FOR EDUCATION & LIVELIHOOD
“Thrilled and delighted to convey, we are learning computers now- my study is continuing through computers. Yes it is true, it is not like Advertisement through TV channel- it is real—I know it, I can teach my brother and sister also –how to play with computer and games—that ultimately teach him/ her Varnamala, Spelling, word making, Stories and so on…….. ”.
About Sadla & Monoharthana in Rajasthan:
Sadla and Manoharthana are two areas in Rajasthan in Jhalwar district. These two areas are different in natural vegetation compared to desert lands of other parts of Rajasthan. It has rain & wet land, substantially greener. The area is historically rich and also blessed with monsoon rains. It is located on the borders of Rajasthan and Madhya Pradesh, considerably 3 Km distance from Madhya Pradesh. The nearest Railway station is Kota which is at a distance of 200 KM from Manoharthana. The taluka head quarter of Manoharthana is in the old fort of Bhil King. The taluka has four main gates till date and total habitation buildup within the fort area.
The baseline analysis showed that this area is suffering from scope of higher education, the nearest college is about 50km away. The lack of access and opportunities for livelihoods forced the inhabitants for migration. Male folks are dependent on agriculture, however it is seasonal. Few are engaged into tobacco manufacturing. Few families are weavers but they cannot run weaving as they failed to compete with modern system. Women are basically engaged into domestic chores.
Realizing the need for development, Literacy India started its operation to offer convenience of education and also provision of sustainable livelihoods through proper training. General analysis and observations show that there are hidden talents for stitching and tailoring in this village and nearby villages, just a proper training to make them skilled is required. Women are also interested to take part in stitching & tailoring programme to support their families.
Literacy India Learning Centre
Literacy India learning centre itself is a composite. It consists of ICT based Digital learning for children, Karigari Vocational Training of Tailoring & Stitching, Weaving for community both men and women, Computer Learning courses for youth, Proving Agriculture techniques for both men and women farmers. The centralized objective of the program is to provide Education for Children and Livelihood Skill training for the community, so that they will be able to earn sustainable livelihood.
Gyantantra Digital Dost – ICT based Digital Learning program:
Gyantantra- ICT based learning is implemented in this centre. The children from surrounding areas are coming here to learn this. The learning centre caters non-school going, drop-out & school going children. The software helps the non-school going, drop-out children back to school and school children are improving on the quality education.
Stories of Changes
Nandini’s (name changed) father is a farmer. Her mother is house wife. She has two siblings. They are going to govt. school. She is first generation learner. Nandini used to be non-efficient in English Langage when she joined the Gyantantra classes at M.Thana. She was in class III but she only knew Hindi alphabets, and numeric countings. She is a very active girl and keen to learn. She is also a fast learner and a good artist, a little girl with lots of talents. She likes to play Kabaddi, a sport. After attending class for five months, now she can recite English Rhymes, can write alphabets, days and month name, in mathematics, she can do addition, subtractions, multiplication and division. In Hindi she can read and write three letter words. Now she can introduce her family in English. She has an ambition to become a teacher.
Govind (name changed) is a 9 year old boy. His father is into tobacco manufacturing. His mother is a house wife. He has four siblings. He along with his brothers and sisters are attending in the Govt. school classes. He is a regular student. Govind is intelligent and active boy. While he got enrolled in Gyantantra, he hardly knew alphabets and numeric counting. After attending Gyantantra class for six months, he can read & write three letter Hindi words, in English he can do parts of the body, days and months name, words with phonics, in mathematics he can do basic addition, subtraction, multiplication and division, he can also do HCF and LC. Apart from academics he can read & write Hindi stories. He is very good in academics now. He has an ambition to become a responsible Police officer. He wants to serve the country.
When Basanti (name changed) joined Literacy India Sadla center, she knew only Hindi. She could read & write in Hindi and knew only the rudimentary at basics level. She merely knew tables from one to five and basic of addition, subtraction. After being introduced to ‘Gyantantra Digital Dost’ and attending a number of its sessions, today, she can solve a lot more than just basic addition problems. She knows how to multiply, subtract and divide. She can read and write sentences in Hindi and in English, as well. Her parents have a sense of immense satisfaction, seeing their child learn so much, that she could not have acquired if continued to be in that disadvantaged background. They give the credit to Literacy India’s encouraging efforts and innovative teaching practices. Basanti wants to be a teacher. She loves to assist her fellow students.
Pawani (name changed) joined Literacy India Sadla center with a basics of Hindi, mostly colloquial. She does not know the basic mathematics of multiplication, subtraction & addition. She could only write Hindi with basics. After being introduced to ‘Gyantantra Digital Dost’ and attending a number of its sessions, today she knows how to multiply, subtract, divide and solve fractions, profit & loss equations. She can read and write sentences in Hindi and in English, as well. She likes Mathematics and Co-curricular parts in Gyantantra. She is very fond of reading stories and answering them on laptop. She is delighted with her progress and continuous improvement. She has an ambition to become a teacher. She is very active and regular student.
Reena’s (name changed) father is a farmer. Her mother is house wife. She has three siblings. All are going in govt. school. She is first generation learner. Reena used to be inefficient in English Language when she joined the Gyantantra classes at Bakani. A student of class III, but she only knew Hindi alphabets, and numeric countings. She is very active and keen to learn. She likes to play Kabaddi with her friends. After attending class for five months, she has improved a lot. Now she can recognise Alphabets, Days and month name, in mathematics, she can do Addition, subtractions, multiplication and division. In Hindi she can read and write three letter words. Now she can do many more things. Her ambition is to become a Doctor. She also loves to paint.
Karigari Tailoring (Vocational training)
Achievements: In Rajasthan, this project has amazing achievements as it is able to revive the weavers’ community. In Rajasthan, Sadla village has weavers’ community existing since a long period of time, however because of various reasons this community was in the process of extinction. It was with the constant supports both technical and financial that they were able to received again. At present this community is able to weave & intertwine excellent quality texture that can meet the competition in the market. The interns from IICD regularly visits Sadla, they provide the technical support and skills in designing, colour combination, thread making. Apart from that the women are learning stitching and tailoring. The aim was to make a combination between weaving and tailoring. The overall impacts are as follows:
Stories of Changes:
Kanti (name changed) is a 20 years old girl from OBC community. She lost her parents in her child hood. Her maternal grandfather had made her born and brought up smoothly. She had studied up to class XII standard. Few days back her maternal grandfather also passed away and her family was in deep financial crises. She was looking for some technical training so that she can earn some money. She came to know about Literacy India tailoring training center from a friend. She lives in Goriakheda village, 5 KM from Manoharthana. She used to walk 5km every day from her village to Literacy India learning center to attend this programme. She has been a fast learner and did well in her final examination too. After completing her 6 month tailoring course she has been planning to start her tailoring shop. She borrowed a stitching machine from her maternal uncle and opened the shop at home. Now she can stitch blouse, petticoat and salwar suits.In her village itself ,she is getting good orders . She is earning Rs.80 to 100 perday. She is supporting her family with a good amount. She is grateful to Literacy India as she had got trained that helped her to sustain.
Yashmeen Bee (name changed) is 18 years old girl. She has studied till class 12th. Her father is a heart patient. Her mother is also not well. She has 5 sisters. Yashmeen has to leave her studies i between due to financial crises. Yashmin came to know about literacy India from her community. She learnt tailoring and wanted to work and support her family. Now she is started stitching with mother’s stitching machine. She is taking orders from the M.thana market. She also takes order from Sunday market. She is earning about Rs. 70 to 80 rupees / day. She is keen for more work. She is helping her family. She says” she is obliged to literacy India. She also wants her sisters to complete their education at least up to 10th Std.”
Fula Bai (name changed) is a 35 years old lady. She lives in Radas Mohalla in M.Thana. Her husband is a hand cart puller. She has two children. Her financial condition is very poor. Both her children goes to school. She is a house wife. She wanted to do some skilled training so that she can earn something and support her husband. Then she joined Literacy India tailoring centre . It was difficult to teach her because she has been very negligent. But some extra classes and special attention by Idrish ji (Centre In Charge, Literacy India Learning Centre at Rajasthan ), led her to complete the tailoring course.
After completing her training in Literacy India she started stitching work at home. She purchased stitching machine. In initial days she was facing difficulties in cutting the cloths so she took help from Idrish ji (Centre in Charge, Literacy India Learning Centre Rajasthan) on cutting & measurement. Now she has learnt a lot and now doing work independently. She is earning about Rs. 100- 150/-per day. Both husband and wife are very happy with this progress.
~ Breaking the Glass Ceiling~ Dream Wheels for the Hill Women
“The hills are beautiful and serene offering blue skies and Green undulating Mountain View; though the roads have sharp bends and slopes yet we have learnt to drive our tourist safely up to our destination that is to the top - Village Chuikhim. Yes, we are able now and really proud to choose our profession as a driver”.
About Chuikhim Village in Darjeeling District of West Bengal
Chuikhim village is located under Kalimpong I Subdivision of Darjeeling district. It falls in the roadways of famous tourist spot Lava Lolegaon. From Siliguri, it is 5 hour journey. The villages located here are secluded and have serene beauty. Local residents are tribal (41%). The roadways and its conditions are quite poor. Basically no public transport is operating there- the villagers are dependent on shared auto and shared Van services. Political disturbances at the hill are quite often and therefore as a consequence, most of the time ,development plans get halted. As a part of livelihood, men and women both are involved into agricultural farming and collection of Jungle/ forest product such as honey etc. All these local residents have also started homestay activities as part of livelihood. Hence, tourism is becoming a important source of income for the villagers. The village has one Primary School and one Mid-level High school. The children have to go 14 Km down to take the formal academic session from school. Women are very strong here for doing any sorts of work. They are doing farming, helping husbands for honey collection from jungle and also broom stick production for sale. Few women are also efficient in loading and uploading of the goods. Here also men are addicted with local liquor widely known as Hadia.
Literacy India & Chuikhim:
As Chuikhim is located in the remote of Darjeeling in West Bengal, there is both lack of accessibility as well as afford for well-being. People both men and women are struggling for regular earning for sustainable income. As Literacy India is working for three E’s- Education, Employment and Empowerment, it has already put up learning centre which consists of variety of training such as ICT based learning software for children, basic level Computer courses for youth, tailoring for women and beauty culture training for women. Apart from that, as most of the habitat is dependent on home stay, therefore lot of workshops & training related to proper home stay and care & maintenance have been provided. Hence, as a part of livelihood package , 5 women had been provided training on Driving so that home-stay/ tourism could be encouraged.
Women on wheels
In Chuikhim, real problem is accessibility due to lack of transporation. The communities have to wait for shared Maruti Van services or other vehicle to pile on.Women in these hills are very sturdy and strong; however they were not allowed to drive vehicles in the hilly slopes. Patriarchal Society, by its very norm have been trying to curtail women mobility. Chuikhim has hills with blending roads, severe curve shape & above all ups & down. Despite all, few girls came forward to learn driving as a skill. Their efforts, commitment & dedication has made them successful. They are not only becoming competitor for jobs like male member of the society but also become a change- agent in the community. Recently these women of 5 in groups had taken driving training from Siliguri which proved a catalyst move for Literacy India.
The reasons behind it are as follows:
These 5 women had completed the training. Here are few glimpses of their story which is first attempt to change.
1. Bindu Khawas (name changed) is from a small village -Nemond in Chuikhim. She is at present 24 years old. She already had completed driving course and got the learner license. Bindu has mother and brother at home. Her father deserted them long ago. Since then, her mother worked hard to run her family. At first, she was working as woman porter to carry the goods in the hills. Then she bought a goods - vehicle from her income but for Bindu’s brother to run. Bindu’s mother works very hard and also supported both Bindu and her brother to continue their studies through open school. Bindu had dream to roam around places. Her favorite subject is geography. She always is keen to know beyond Chuikhim. She took training and within a month she received her learners license from the Driving Institute. She is very good on highway driving also manages the hilly slopes and sharp bends. At present with this learner license she is driving goods vehicle of her brother regularly from Bagrakot to Chuikhim. After getting the regular license she is planning to take the tourist from Siliguri to Chuikhim to promote tourism. In fact this would provide both way earning for her own and as well as for her community for Village-promoting Home Stays. Meanwhile, she is planning to enroll herself in Travel & Tourism program that would give her added qualification as well as earning.
In her own word “ I am very proud as I can provide and contribute something for my family; my brother can start another business; my mother `s hard work will finally pay off.
2. Kala Rai (name changed) is originally from Kurseong in Darjeeling district of West Bengal. Her parents are working in the tea garden in Kurseong. Kala Rai was born in Kurseong and then came to Chuikhim at her aunt’s place. Since then, she has been brought up there. However, she used to visit Kurseong very often. Kala Rai was interested to take driving training so that she could stand on her own. She is now 22 years old and pursuing her graduation with accountancy Hons.
After receiving her Learners License , she is practicing everyday on Siliguri Pankhabari Road ( which has sharp turning and bends) to reach Kurseong. Her plan is to drive the school vehicle in the Kurseong. Kurseong and adjacent to Kurseong is known as English Medium school hub (both Govt. and Pvt. School). Children are commuting either by bus and pvt. Vehicle to reach school. Kala Rai has a Vehicle that her father inherited from her grandfather. She is planning to start business of Pick-Up and Drop for the School Children. According to her own “ I shall start my business first with a school vehicle; once I manage that , to save money, I shall start business with tourist for pick up and drop in, I ve to thank Literacy India for this opportunity given to me which otherwise would not have been possible as I too could never think that I could do it specially being a Girl – My Life has a whole new meaning Now.”
3. Amrita Gurung (name changed) is studying graduation in Siliguri. She was excited to know about opportunity about training girls for driving . After completion of XII, she was enrolled in nursing training and got job in nursing in the hospital. She has taken training in driving in order to provide support to Chuikhim community with medical help. From Chuikhim to any Sub divisional and district hospital is far way to go. She is planning to run Ambulance for pick-up & drop for patient from Chuikhim to Siliguri/ Bagrakot/ any adjacent hospitals. She had started communicating with local opinion leaders such as MLA/MP so that they can support Amrita on behalf of Chuikhim Welfare Committee with Ambulance donation so that Amrita can run the operation successfully as Amrita has a driving license now. Amrita has one brother and one sister. They are in school. Her mother is a ICDS worker while father is working as daily wage labour in govt. irrigation department. Amrita’s own version after completion of training is “I feel I can do service to my community if I get to start the Ambulance Service for the Hills and if I drive myself around , I am sure I will have many other coming forward to help me with this mission.”
4.Sarmeela Gurung (name changed) is 20 year old, was never allowed to go outside Chuikhim. It was for the first time she was out from her village. Her dream, her hobby has been curbed as her parent had a feeling that girls should be married first. Sarmeela had fought silently with her parents. She was not willing to marry; she continued her study and she is trying to earn and stand on her own. It was at this moment she got to know about the driving training from Literacy India. She had enrolled into driving course and completed successfully. At present, she is practicing with the cars between Bagrakot to Chuikhim. She is planning to start business with tourist along with her colleagues who learnt driving with her.She says” I don’t feel alone anymore and feel I have an identity of my own”
5.Anita Gurung (name changed) is a woman of 31 year old. She is running a small shop in Chuikhim. She has a daughter of 12 yrs age who is studying in school. Anita is not staying with her husband. She has a goods vehicle which is regularly operating from Siliguri to Lava/ Lolegaon and Chukhim. Earlier she was taking help of a driver for this operation. After completion of training on driving - She is driving on her own and saving Rs. 3000/- per trip. She is planning to take a loan from the bank for the tourist vehicle soon.She is planning to run the operation between Siliguri to Bagrakot, Siliguri to Chuikhim, Siliguri to Lava/ Lolegaon. In her own words “ I am very happy and thankful to Literacy India showing me the way to save and reinvest , this way I am not only helping my family but also build business for my community”
“Where pace of life remained laidback and sluggish, winds of opportunity in our lives made it all vibrant & energetic such is a power of knowledge and acquiring skill”
Belgachia Slum at Howrah, Kolkata-Situations in Belgachia, Howrah
Belgachia is the place located in Howrah district very near to Howrah Station and Salkia. It has two ways communication of rail through Liluah station and bus / road communication from Howrah station. It is a township linked with proper Kolkata , Belgachia has a vast land of waste used as dumping ground. Belgachia Bhagar (local name) is one of the biggest slum area in West Bengal As the areas is heaped with waste material dumping, most of the nearby communities are engaged into rag picking as a profession.
The entire community is migrant from Bihar; they are dom( helping hand in crematorium) by caste , known for centuries. Children start their day with a big bag in order to collect rag and plastic bags. They earn in the range of Rs. 100 to Rs.150/-. They don’t go to school. Even few who do go to school are do the rag collection as a part time job. Male folks are KMCs Safai Karmachai (Scavengers), others do vegetable vending and Rickshaw pulling. Women do household work or into domestic maid work. Youth and men are addicted with alcohol and substance abuse . Women face domestic violence, physical abuse. Girls are drop out from school & youth just playing cards or whiling away their time.Pigs roam about in these areas.
There are three schools in the area- 1. Primary school within community. 2. KMC school within community 3. High school within 3 Km radius. Most of the schools are empty as children are into rag picking. The schools get maximum presence of students only in the midday meal and in the day while school dresses are to be distributed.
Here is a short brief about the slum/ Communities:
On this backdrop -Project Nandini came into operation in this slum. The project aims to enable the children and girls through livelihood and entrepreneurship program.
Outcome of the program:
Impact of the program:
Stories of Change among children/women
Name: Pushpa (Name Changed) Age: 12 Years Location: West Bengal
Pushpa, 12 comes from a destitute family and they reside in a small rented accommodation in Daspara, Howrah. They are a large family of nine members and originally belong to a small rural area in Patna. Besides Pushpa they have two sons and two more daughters. Her father is a daily wage labourer and also runs a small stationary shop simultaneously. He is just a class X pass and not very literate. Pushpa’s parents were not ready to send her to school, and wanted to engage her in only the household chores. They wanted to get her married off, but the ICT Gyantantra digital learning program fascinated Pushpa to such an extent that they were compelled to send her. When Pushpa had joined the program she understood only Hindi, initially. She could write in Hindi and knew only the basics of the language. Her Mathematical Aptitude was limited to the knowledge of tables from one to two and some introductory addition. After going through the course curricullam of ‘Gyantantra Digital Dost’ , today, she can solve a lot more than just basic addition problems. She knows how to multiply, subtract, divide and solve fractions. She can read and write sentences in Hindi and in English, as well.She can easily run a computer which is a pride in her which could be sensed by the parents.
Name: Lovely (Name Changed) Age: 23 Years Location: West Bengal
Lovely’s mother works as a domestic helper and her father is a newspaper vendor at Howrah station. She has two siblings, one brother and a sister. She has studied only till class I and her experience was quite dreadful. While she was in school, her teachers would scold her incessantly and keep punishing her. Her parents did not support her as well and no one helped her with her homework. She stopped attending school due to this distressing situation.When Lovely heard of Literacy India’s vocational training program she joined without any delay. She started coming to Literacy India’s Karigiri learning centre for training in tailoring and stitching. As she’s just studied till Class-I, she faced a challenge in measurement and product costing. As soon as it was identified that she had been facing such hindrances, Literacy India’s staff started personal interaction with her and convinced her to take the special class in functional mathematics through ICT based ‘Gyantantra’. She was very hardworking, diligent and picked up quite fast. She writes all the theoretical sessions in her drafting book meant for sewing/tailoring.
Today she can cut and measure using a tape and is planning to enroll in an open school( Distance learning for Older persons) after completing the training. At the same time she plans to start a home based tailoring business for the community. Lovely says “I am very happy and blessed to be a part of this training. It gives me opportunities such as tailoring and functional education. I do not feel inferior anymore in fact I feel competent and I can earn as well.”
Name: Poonam (Name Changed) Age: 30 Years Location: West Bengal
Poonam completed her class X standard and her father arranged her marriage. She got married off at the mere age of 17 and her day started with domestic chores. After a while, she gave birth to a child. During her childhood she used to dream of completing her studies and wanted to work in an office. She felt unhappy that she had to get married in her teens instead of pursuing her studies. Literacy India’s Karigiri Centre brought hope in her life. She had enrolled in the tailoring and stitching program with great optimism and aspirations. She picked up fast and turned out to be a quick learner. Her work has an impeccable finish and design.
Today, she manages to balance both her domestic chores and tailoring activities. At the moment she is looking forward to the the completion of the course and then she plans on starting a business in designing baby frocks, gift items and so on.
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