May 30, 2014

Breaking the Glass Ceiling Dream Wheels for women

LI 1
LI 1

 ~ 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:

  • Driving provides mobility among girls and women
  • It is a part of their economic sustainability
  • They will be a  part of the tourism business if they become a part of commutation for the tourists

 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”

Mar 3, 2014

Wings of Empowerment

LI beneficiaries
LI beneficiaries

 “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:

  1. Entire slum has 4000 population among whom 1600 are children.
  2. Slum has 4 / 5 lanes.
  3. Women and Girls are around 1000.
  4. Community are migrant from Bihar- basically Paswan(SC/CT)  community settled here
  5. Most of them are Dalit-  and Dom by caste; few are having Dalit cards also.


  1. Men are illiterate- there are two / three people who have completed class VIII; most of them are not literate
  2. Women education level is nil.
  3. Adolescent’s girls are not going to school.
  4. Children are irregular to school.

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.

Activities undertaken 

  • Survey within the slum for identifying i) the children for sending the school so that they can stay regular in the academics and involve into ICT based Education program i.e. Gyantantra ii) the most eligible groups of girls and women may be the parents of the children who could take training (according to need, economic status and aspiration along with commitment, SC ST , backward caste, BPL families etc.)
  • Identification of Govt. Primary School who is ready to accept the activation of the school with a view to more mobilization of students through ICT based Gyantantra and also to reduce drop out and absenteeism
  • Recruitment of teacher for facilitating the ICT based Gyantantra operation in School
  • Installation of Computer Systems in the School and operation of ICT based education started
  • Recruitment of trainer for mapping the existing skill of the women as well as conducting regular session on cutting , stitching and sewing machine operation.
  • News Paper bag (recycling) making training had been organized here among girls and women as a part of a community level business.
  • Regular Monitoring of the centre
  • Evaluation will be undertaken at the end of 6 months training.

 Outcome of the program: 

  • Survey has been conducted successfully in the whole community
  • One paid Volunteer and one teacher had conducted the session with the children regularly.
  • Shastri Shiksha Sadan Primary School has been identified for implementing Gyantantra at the ground level.
  • 60 children of Class- IV after having taken Gyantantra course at Shastri Shiksha Sadan School are already promoted to class V with far better results.
  • 20 women and girls have been enrolled into the stitching and tailoring classes.

 Impact of the program: 

  • Shastri Shiksha Sadan School has enrolled students of 450 while hardly 100-150 used to come; after the installation of Computer systems and followed by the classes,the attendance just doubled.
  • Parent teacher meeting became more useful and meaningful – they felt their children are getting quality in education.
  • Quality of academics has improved; children are careful and prompt in spellings etc, make sentence and essay writing also.
  • Govt. teachers are also become active and responsible. They are also visiting the field along with LI community mobiliser for child tracking and also the home visit.
  • 16 Women & Girls are regularly pertaining training of stitching and tailoring & paper bag making.
  • Girls and women have already started work  through neighbor and home based order
  • Few girls are mobilized within themselves to start a business
  • ICT project featured by Leading English Newspaper “The Statesman” featuring Literacy India`s initiative at this School.

 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.



Activity photographs & Media coverage of ICT
Activity photographs & Media coverage of ICT
Dec 4, 2013

Now I can be called a "Member" of Bread winning Team in my family. I feel I am able and competent..


Now I can be called a “Member” of Bread winning Team in my family. I feel I am able and competent to stand on my own.

 Village Sadla, Rajasthan Project Update: Weaving

Literacy India started its special initiative for the rural women of Sadla, Rajasthan. Their basic knowledge of weaving have now become a quality weaving through proper training, design intervention, exposure workshop at Delhi and neighboring areas of Sadla and through help in proper marketing. A group of women doing this work regularly. They are manufacturing different pattern on white and color cotton yarn. Interns from design institute and international designer from Delhi visited the small hamlet frequently  to  influence them to give quality work.


  • Normal Safi( stoles for men) which has lot of demand in rural belt , the production has improved for this market.
  • Designer scarves are made by rural women for Indha( initiative of Literacy India.

Impact of the program:

  • Weaving is also a livelihood option for this village now besides farming.
  • People from other villages also shown their interest to join this work
  • Women are far more independent.
  • Women feel quite empowered being financially independent.
  • 33 benificiaries impacted through training. 

  Story of Change:

Name:  MANGALI ( Name changed) Age:    20  Location: Sadla Rajashthan

 Mangali is a 20 years old courageous woman of Sadla, Jhalawar, and Rajasthan.  She is hailing from a very poor family. Her father passed away few years back, which aggravated the agony of poverty in the family. She is the youngest of the family. Her elder sister already got married. She resides with mother and his brother who is a marginal farmer and only earning member of the family.  When Literacy India started it’s weaving training programme few years back at Sadla Mangali find a scope of alternative livelihood and immediately joined the training. She is a sincere and efficient weaver of Sadla center. She was chosen for   special pattern making training at Delhi and also got refresher training on new trends of International designs.  Now she spent about 5-6 hours every day for weaving. She is one of the best weavers of Sadla village. Now her family also gets support from her work. To prosper in the future she has decided to study, out of her earning she spent a portion for her studies which has halted after her father’s death.  Now Mangali wants to make her weaving better so that she could earn more. She sincerely thanks Literacy India for this support.

Name:  Raji ( Name Changed)  Age:    22  Location: Sadla Rajashthan

 Raji Bai is wife of Blacksmith Ramesh of village Sadla of Rajasthan. Ramesh manufactures small utility materials for local people and sells it in the local weekly markets. Raji –Bai  works in the hot chamber which helped Ramesh to make Metal  -products. They live in a mud house with three daughters. Since she never gave birth to boy, due to this Raji Bai always faced harsh comments and behavior from her relatives. But Raji Bai is an extremely courageous lady she wanted to give proper education to her daughters and show others that Girls are equally important. When she came to know about the Literacy India tailoring training center at Sadla she joined the program immediately. After 6 months of training she is now doing the stitching work for the other villagers which are an alternative livelihood for the family. This income she wants to spend for the education of her girls and also train them how to stitch. Raji Bai  is very busy  these days as  she not only manages her household but also helps her husband for making tools and after that do lot of tailoring work. Her only wish is that her child should get a Life of Dignity. She sincerely thanks Literacy India for this support.

Name:  Kabita ( Name Changed)  Age:    21  Location: Sadla Rajashthan

 Kabita 21 , hails from  small village Sadla of Rajasthan. She is from a family of farmers, her father  and other family member is involved in agriculture and mono-crop land. She has two brothers and three sisters.  Being a girl she was not fortunate enough to go out of the village for study, in the village she has studied till class eight and made to get involved only in the household till the day comes when she is married off. When Literacy India started operation in the village it was a ray of hope  for her and after convincing family member joined the weaving center of Literacy India for alternative livelihood. She has received the training with immense interest and started working on different types of scarves which satisfy the need of local market. She has received a special training also in the village by an internationally acclaimed designer which was organized by Literacy India. She is a sincere and efficient weaver of Sadla center. Now she spends about 5-6 hours every day for weaving and her family also gets support from her work.  Now Kavita looks at the bigger arena of life and would like to continue this work rest of the life because it has opened up new horizons for her.

Project ICT Gyantantra Digital Dost

The Software is a self-interactive multi-media learning process, smartly blending the class room teaching and text books, embedded with cartoon characters and assessment modules, making the entire learning process easy and enjoyable keeping in mind psyche of the children deprived of basic education and helping them reach V grade directly. There are few steps taken- 1) Identifying children,2)Making a group and mapping the level of the children 3) Starting the classroom teaching 4)Evaluation of children 5) Making group on the basis of evaluation 6) regular assessment of the children 7) With in a given budget Literacy India managed to run the program in its own center and successfully reached out to over 3000+ children & mainstreamed 400 into regular school after they completed the course module.


  • This project uses Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to address multiple problems associated with the quality of education available to the poor in India. Some of these problems are: i) Poor teacher quality due to lack of quality teacher education ii) Inconsistency in teaching, when teaching difficult concepts, iii) Lack of motivation among children of the illiterate and the poor, to go to a nearby school iv) Lack of practice and printed work books that can be supplied to every child v) Lack of access to engaging colorful storybooks, videos, and interactivity based multimedia learning content. 3,000 children have been benefitted. Pre-assessment & Post assessment of children academic & leaning outcome.
  • Project based learning has helped increase children`s analytical level and logical reasoning,
  • Reduced drop-out rate
  • Involve children into academic mode & ICT empowerment
  • Helps to learn quality education that improves their knowledge base


This program is helping to check/ minimize more drops out ratio of children from school and helping the out of school children to mainstream in schooling pattern. This technology based program will develop children interests towards academic study and will fill the gap especially traditional teaching process which is now not effective to generate the interest among children. The Gyantantra - Digital Dost empowers encourages teachers to transform traditional blackboard-and-chalk classrooms into interactive sessions. The multimedia content enables teachers and children to learn and does practice of complex concepts. Its interactive teaching tools which makes learning an easy and approachable experience for children comparative to traditional classroom.

 Story of Change:

NAME: Neetu (Name changed) CLASS: II; AGE:  9 YEARS

 Jyoti belongs to a rural area in Rajasthan and is from an underprivileged background. She studies in a Government School in Sadla which does not have a proficient infrastructure and lacks a beneficial environment for students. Initially, she understood only Hindi and her Mathematical ability was also quite minimal and limited.

After being introduced to ‘Gyantantra Digital Dost’ and attending a number of its sessions, today, she can multiply, subtract, divide and solve arithmetic problems. Also, now she can read and speak much more fluently, whereas earlier she was hesitant and lacked confidence. Her intellectual growth has enhanced and she got promoted to class II because of her improvement.  Her family is delighted with her progress and they feel a sense of immense satisfaction, seeing their child learn so much. They give the credit to Literacy India’s encouraging efforts and innovative teaching practices.


Kavita belongs to a rural village in Rajasthan and is from a disadvantaged background. She studies in a Government School in Sadla which is in pathetic condition. Her academic knowledge was quite poor according to her age and after attending a number of Gyantantra digital learning sessions at the Literacy India campus in Rajasthan she learnt word formation and her fluency also improved. She can solve arithmetic problems now and feels much more confident. She has improved in her studies and got promoted to class IV because of her improvement.  She is delighted with her progress and gives the credit to Literacy India’s encouraging efforts and innovative teaching practices. Now she is ICT empowered.

Sep 12, 2013


Children of West Bengal
Children of West Bengal

EDUCATION OF TRIBAL GIRLS & EMPOWERING YOUNG WOMEN Educating, Enabling & Empowering for better tomorrow

Purulia West Bengal: Situation Analysis

In Purulia, the inhabitants are mostly tribal and first generation learner; they don’t relate to education and enrolling to the system. Few are still in the hunting and gathering mode; as a result, many are often caught by police as they are breaking the law of Reserve Forest Rule of Govt. of India.  The main occupation of the community is farming but they do not own land. The tribal artifacts are unique but they are not bothered as its ingrained in them and they are not being trained and channelized into livelihood through that. Apart from this, the people are alcoholic drink local homemade alcohol. The area schools in the locality but the children don’t go; even when the children are going they drop –out at the age of 12 and 13 years. The child marriages at the age of 13/14 yrs are most common. Girl child are brought up for marriage and to look- after siblings.


  • Alcoholism in family.
  • Discrimination and mindset of family towards girl’s children.
  • Lack of awareness about importance of Education.
  • Lack of educational institution and infrastructure. 
  • Implementation & Execution of Govt. Schemes for Tribal areas.
  • Equal status and equal dignity is not merely a Constitutional right but also a basic human right.
  • Lack of Connectivity between urban area and other tribal villages.
  • Sanitation and hygiene issues among community.

After Literacy India’s Intervention  

 Achievements & Impact of the project in Education: 

  • A strong link has been established between local Primary School and Secondary School and Literacy India’s centre. This link has ensured the enrollment of the children in the schools and also the retention level. Apart from that, it has increased the system of tracking them, if there is sudden drop-out and absenteeism.
  • 120 Girl children are getting sponsorship from Literacy India to stay at the hostel as the school is located in distance. These children are doing well in the study.
  • The children are gradually getting into an academic and discipline mode, regular attendance, clean dress, regular combing, regular bath & hand wash habit etc.
  • Parents also become responsible; they are regularly visiting the hostel and Literacy India’s learning center.
  • Parents group also have been formed in the villages. Several Village Level meetings done with Parents and community to support the initiative.
  • The children in bridge course are undergoing through ICT based Digital Learning. It shows an enormous impact among the children. The children are becoming smart, technology savvy and also interested in the study.

Overall Impacts:

  • Improved learning and regular interaction between teachers and parents has changed the attitude and mind set of the entire community.
  • Community have now turned from ascribed status to achieved status and started believing into it strongly. Hence, hunting gathering occupation is now turning into the technology based advance occupation. They are at present providing importance on their inherited traditional knowledge and Skill; they are trying to improve those through advancement.
  • Parents are dreaming to place the children in corporate or any profession that yield development of entire community.
  • Child Marriage has been reduced. Girl’s children are now having enabling environment wherein they can reason with their families. 

Way forward activities in the community by Literacy India:

  • Overall village development.
  •  Learning center to implement Gyantantra Digital Dost- a Software catering to overall Literacy.
  •  Women’s entrepreneurs’ development: Formation of Women self-help group.
  • Group of women, underwent training on self-enterprise, savings, Co-operative Society, Income generation through various activities at Village level.
  •  Youth development activities led to Formation of Youth groups, Providing Vocational training on various trades like Air conditioning, Refrigeration, Electrical, Housekeeping and Computer.
  • Health activities: Primary health care, health education, Eye Camp and set up health dispensary by Literacy India.
  •  Dissemination of information of Government scheme, helping people to secure benefits Government scheme.
  •  Anti-liquor movement through Cultural and social initiative like Chhau tribal art Chhau dance etc.


 Name:  Sania (Name Changed)

 Project Location: West Bengal

  Sania’ mother- widow is struggling for existence with a huge family.  She does labour work at village and in surrounding area. Sania’s father late Pati Singh Mura had died few years back. He was a farmer, however, not having any land. They are residing at Kushaldidh village of Baghmundi block of Purulia, West Bengal.

Sania is now studying at ‘Bandwan Girls’ High School in class VI. She earlier used to stay with her elder sister who was married. Her scholarship had changed her circumstances a lot. She is now studying very hard in order to reach success in life. She is trying to complete the school degree and after that she is planning to go for the nursing job. She feels that in village the nurse is required with knowledge of First Aid. She had seen her father’s death – according to her timely intervention through medication and nursing would have saved her father’s life.

She is a good in studies. Her teachers also praised her a lot. However, she has to work hard in both English and Mathematics. She is a good in sports as well.

 Name:  Urmila (Name Changed)

Project Location: West Bengal

Urmila is now studying at ‘Bandwan Girls’ High School’. They are residing at Kushaldidh village of Baghmundi block of Purulia, West Bengal. . Her father is a wage labor, earns very little (Rs.1500-2000/month). Her mother does household work and wood collection, Survival with this meager amount is really difficult for them.

She is now a student of class VI. Her favorite subject is mathematics. She used to score very well in all subjects. She is very communicative. She is fluent in Bengali, Hindi and the local tribal language.

She has a dream to do job in Govt. office. Since childhood, she has been brought up with an orientation of profession such as farmer, teachers and office goers that yields money. Among these professions she likes office going. This profession takes Urmila out of the village with exposure of bus riding. She used to ride bicycle in the village for recreation and relaxation.

 Name: Manju  (Name Changed)

Project Location: West Bengal 

Eleven-year-old Manju belongs to a poor household in a village ‘Chatni’ in Purulia district. Her father collects woods, old twigs, leaves from the forests of Ayodhya and sells those in Balarampur market (monthly income Rs. 2000-2500/-). She reached Class V at school, but then the situation arrived that she had to drop out as his family could not afford to keep up her education. There is no school, near to her village which is situated at the top of a hill.

She was admitted in Puncha High School through Literacy India’s initiative. She is now a student of class VI of same school. Her favorite subject is ‘Bengali’. She has a dream to be a police officer in near future.

 Name: Radha (Name Changed)

Project Location: West Bengal 

Radha is now studying at ‘Bandwan Girls’ High School’. Her father works in a saloon, as Barber earns very little (Rs.2000/month).  They are residing at Kushaldidh village of Baghmundi block of Purulia, West Bengal.

She is now a student of class VI. With the support of Literacy India, she is continuing her study. She is good in her studies and is a good athlete also.  

 Vocational Training for Livelihood and sustainable living. 

Activities undertaken 

  • Survey within the village for identifying the most eligible groups of girls and women who can take training (based on need, economic status, aspiration and commitment shown)
  • Recruitment of trainers for mapping the existing skill of the women as well as conducting regular sessions on cutting, stitching and sewing machine operation
  • Evaluation undertaken at the end of the 6-month training & Advance Product Making training

 Achievements & Impact: 

  • Completed 6 month training for tribal women, 20 per batch
  • At the end, women are able to create finished petticoats and blouses independently
  • 5 women have started this business independently and Literacy India coordinator is also helping for procurement of work from the open market. 

Beneficiaries Name: Subo( Name Changed) Age: 35 years Location : Munibera Purulia West Bengal

 Subodani is a housewife. Her husband works in Purulia. Though they have few bighas of land for agricultural work but this is not support their family regularly. As a result they depend on alternative sources. Regarding her educational qualification she passed Madhyamik from Jhalda School and after that she married. She has 3 children and all are studying in nearby school. Her husband couldn’t manage sufficient time for the family as she remain busy for his work. Therefore all the responsibilities comes to Subadani and she manages it very well. She is very much interested for her children’s education.

This is the turning point when she joined tailoring vocation courses run by Literacy India at their village Munibera. She attended 6 months vocation courses and learned to prepare different items like petticoat, Non oven bags, blouse, Churidar, School dress etc. Needless to say that presently she is preparing lot of petticoat and non-oven bags as she is getting order from nearest market. This was beyond her imagination and she is quite happy to earn not only for monetary benefits but it helps a lot to get back her confidence. May be her husband is a guardian of the family but she hopes that in future she can equally support her husband to run the family.

Beneficiaries Name: Kalayani( Name Changed)  Age: 40 years   Location: Munibera Purulia West Bengal 

Kalayani is a housewife of 40 years old. She has five children and two of them are studying at the nearby school. Kalyani’s husband is presently doing nothing except some agricultural work. They have 3 bighas of land. In the village Munibera they have own mud house and Kalyani lives there with her family. She feels very hard to run their family as the income source of the family is very poor. From her past experience she recapitulates that the only source of the family income was to sell wood and leaves which they would collect from forest. With the help of her neighbor she started to come at Literacy India Tailoring center and took the tailoring training for 6-7 months. Within this period she learned to produce different kind of tailoring items. She happily shares that now ‘time is money’ for her. She spends lot of time for tailoring work as she got some order for petticoat making.Kalyani believes that by managing her domestic work she can earn to support her family by doing this tailoring work. Literacy India provided hands on training how to collect order from the market. Though it is a challenging work for her as she does not have sufficient capital money for this work.  She is collecting cloths and other materials from the vendors and getting the making charges only. Now she has collected enough order for petticoats to sustain. 

Women working at center & home
Women working at center & home
Children along Principal in school
Children along Principal in school
Parents Feedback & Media Coverage of ICT Project
Parents Feedback & Media Coverage of ICT Project
Jun 17, 2013

After a Challenging life - Now, I am able, skilled and Empowered

LI 1
LI 1

After a Challenging life - Now, I am able, skilled and Empowered

By: Capt. Indraani Singh Managing Trustee and Sohit Yadav Project Manager

Varanasi  in U.P. INDIA

Dudhwa is situated on the banks of river Gomti in the state of Uttar Pradesh. It is 31 km from Varanasi Railway Station. The population of the village is approx 11,000 and 80% women are illiterate. There is a government primary school in the village, a government middle school in the adjacent village Saraiyan and Senior Secondary government school & College at village Rajwari on NH29 (2.5 km). Agricultural farming is the core profession of villagers. Harijan, Gond, Dhobi and Kumhar community who are considered lower castes are quite poor. Hence, 75% of the population of the village is quite uneducated despite being surrounded by the schools. The community cannot afford to provide opportunities to the women and girls for education and sustainable livelihood. Most of the girls in this village are not able to finish the secondary or senior secondary exam due to distance of the school from village. Gender based violence such as eve-teasing and molestation are very common. Parents are afraid to send their girls to far off schools. It is in this social milieu that Project Nandini came into operation in this village.  The project aims to enable the girls through livelihood and entrepreneurship program.

Activities undertaken

  • Survey was conducted in the village to identify girls and women who needed the most attention and who could take training (the criteria were need, economic status, aspiration and sincerity shown). The focus was on SC, ST, backward caste and BPL families
  • Recruitment of trainer for mapping the existing skills of the women as well as conducting regular sessions on cutting cloth, stitching and sewing. They were also given hands-on training on operating a sewing machine
  • Evaluation and examination was conducted at the end of the 6-month training

 Impact of the program: 

  • 28 women and girls completed training in stitching and tailoring
  • They have already begun taking tailoring orders in the neighbourhood
  • Some girls have mobilized within themselves to start a business

 Name: Anju (Name Changed)     Location: Varanasi UP    Education:      Class 8th Pass

Manju belongs to a very poor family. Her father is a landless agricultural laborer. The tiny soul has been fearlessly battling Polio since she was 4. She completed her middle school education in the village school but could not complete higher education due to the school being far away. The poor little girl faced such discrimination from the society that she stopped stepping out of the house at all. She developed an inferiority complex. The Literacy India project coordinator identified her, counseled her and convinced her father to allow her to attend the vocational training. She joined the class but after two months her she broke her cycle and stopped attending school. Her father did not have the capacity to purchase a new cycle for her. LI stepped in and arranged a cycle for her free of cost, with the help of global Giving Donors. Manju successfully completed the training. She is now being able to earn Rs 1,000-1,500 per month working from home.

In Manju’s own words: “I am very thankful to Literacy India for providing me this opportunity to earn my own livelihood and making me feel as equal as the other girls.”

Name: Guriya ( Name Changed)   Location: Varanasi UP  Education:  12 pass  

Guriya is 20 years old and has studied up to Class 12th. She belongs to a greatly marginalized Scheduled Caste. Her parents work as agriculture labor. Their financial condition is very poor. Her father is also physically challenged.  She also used to work as a daily wage agricultural laborer. She could not join any vocation training classes due to the remoteness of her home from colleges and training centers. After completing the Literacy India Vocational Training program, she decided to start her own tailoring shop at home but failed to do so due to financial constraints. She approached the program coordinator and he provided sewing machines on loan to her. Now she has started work. Earning a substantial income of Rs 1,500-2,000 per month, she proudly supports her parents in running the household.  

 Jhalda  Puruliya- Khatanga Village:

Activities undertaken

  • Survey within the village for identifying the most eligible groups of girls and women who can take training (based on need, economic status, aspiration and commitment shown)
  • Recruitment of trainers for mapping the existing skill of the women as well as conducting regular sessions on cutting, stitching and sewing machine operation
  • Evaluation undertaken at the end of the 6-month training

Achievements & Impact:

  • Completed 6 month training for tribal women, 15 per batch
  • At the end, women are able to create finished petticoats and blouses independently
  • Some women are planning to start business

Name: Anita ( Name Changed) Location: Jhalada West Bengal

Anita (name Changed) is a housewife in a small village, Khatanga. She completed her studies from Ranchi, Jharkhand.  After marriage she had to move to Khatanga village of Purulia. Her husband is a small shopkeeper. They don’t have adequate land where they can do sustainable farming for livelihood. Running a shop within the village only offers a few families for customers, not enough for the family of 4 to live comfortably. It was a very tough situation for Anita to figure out how she could support her family financially. Eventually she got to know about the tailoring training and took admission at Literacy India Learning Center-(UTNOU). She learned to produce different type of products for ladies and gents. Needless to say, this hand-on training helped her lot to build her confidence and ambition. After successful completion of this training, she bought a sewing machine and started a business venture at her home. Her husband is extremely supportive. Now, Anita has not only got back her confidence but is clearly elated.

Computer Education:

Children learn ICT-based learning and basic computer skills such as type master, Microsoft Paint, file creation, saving, parts of computer and so on. In ICT-based learning, the children are getting education through Gyantantra.

Stories of Change in Khatanga of Gyantantra Digital Dost

Ananya  ( name Changed)  She belongs to a very poor family. They are residing in the village Khatanga. Her father is a poor business man and her mother is an agricultural labourer. She is now studying using the Gyantantra at the Literacy India Learning centre. She belongs to a very poor family. The family of 6 lives on a meager income of Rs. 3000/month. She is a student of the Government Primary school. She learns Bengali, English, Math, Science, Geography and History. She is an average student. She can spell English words. She is able to do calculations. She uses the Computer with much ease.

Sonali  ( name Changed) Sonali  father is physically challenged. Her mother works as a daily wage labourer. She belongs to a poor ‘Santhal’ (a Scheduled Tribe) household in a village ‘Khatanga’ in Purulia district.  Her father cannot work for his physical disability. However, father is denied his entitlement from the Government. Her mother is a daily labourer (monthly income Rs. 2000-2500/-).Sonali was admitted to the govt. primary school. But she does not go to school regularly. At 8, she dropped out from school.  She was enrolled into Gyantantra in Literacy India’s learning centre.At present she has covered Varnamala in language and addition, subtraction and multiplication in Math with the help of Gyantantra.

Hiramani ( name Changed) She belongs to a poor ‘Santal’ (a scheduled tribe) household in a village ‘Khatanga’ in Purulia district. Her father earns very little. Her father is a farmer and earns a monthly income of Rs. 2000-2500/-. Her father is the only earning member. She has one sister and one brother.She was recently admitted at Gyantantra course. She has interest in Math. She requires support to strengthen her basic concepts. 

Manju LI 2
Manju LI 2
Guriya LI 3
Guriya LI 3

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Project Leader

Indraani Singh

New Delhi, New Delhi India

Where is this project located?