Inter-Ministerial Dialogue on the ‘Inclusion of Victims of Trafficking and the Vulnerable in Skill Development’
We build too many walls and not enough bridges. – Isaac Newton
I came across a river and realized I don’t know how to swim. What do I do? Should I try learning swimming? But there is still a possibility of drowning in deep bitter waters. And so I sit on the frozen land on my side of the bank of the river and gaze into the alluring bright sunny sky and swaying green fields underneath on the other side of the river? If only someone could build a bridge over the bitter waters flowing beneath.
While reaching out to the unprivileged and disadvantaged youth to help and guide them to skill development training programmes, the social enterprises found that this disadvantaged section of society has varied educational backgrounds – no education to little education to a miniscule proportion of Xth and XIIth pass-outs. You might want to skill them to make them employable and help build their career and lives to a bright future ahead. But how would you teach a skill like Data Entry or Retail sales to someone who doesn’t know how to talk or spell. To someone who hasn’t even seen a computer. Would she be able to survive in a technologically-driven business world?
So there is this river of illiteracy of different levels and these youth need a bridge to gain a certain knowledge level that will open the door of skill training programmes for them. And this is what the Foundation Course is!
At the Inter-ministerial Dialogue on the ‘Inclusion of Victims of Trafficking and the Vulnerable in Skill Development’ hosted by Justice & Care, it was repeatedly emphasized that a bridge course is a necessity to address the gaps that exist within the learning space for the youth disadvantaged in different ways. This Foundation Course program aims to build the aptitude, attitude and abilities of the youth and prepare him/her for skill training programs.
RuralShores Skills Academy, a skill development training agency and Justice & Care, an NGO involved in rescue, rehabilitation and reintegration of victims of human trafficking worked together to design this Foundation Course program to train the survivors of trafficking. The Foundation Course is a three month, 360-hour program. It is a bridge course that will prepare the students to take training in technical domain training.
The Course Structure
The Course Structure addresses Life Skills – for example Time Management, Forgiveness, Personal Grooming, Self-Esteem, Hard Work and Persistence, Managing Finance and so on. It also covers Functional Literacy – like English writing and Mathematics. We added Basic IT and Digital Literacy to make it holistic and complete. The Sectoral Orientation is also provided as an over view of different Industries with support on career planning.
The modules catering to different objectives are designed to develop the knowledge as well as the personality of the student. The Foundation Course enables the students to talk, read and write English, work on computers besides giving them some insight and direction on how to deal with various components that makes a person and his/her life.
While we cannot cover the proper course curriculum of regular schooling in 3 months, the Foundation Course ensures the students at least find their feet to stand and become ready to move forward. Skill development training and quality education leads to economic and social reintegration. The Foundation Course is a means to reach there.
– Shruti Patwal
Launch of the Foundation Course for survivors of human trafficking by the President of India
They say recognition is the greatest motivator. And when it comes from the head of state of India, you hear it – amidst the loud applause – the sound of the stone that you dropped onto the ocean and see the waves it made far and wide.
We did it – its official! More than it ever could be. Not that this is the first time a training course we built is now officially a part of government sponsored skill training programme. We are NSDC authorised funded training partners from last 4 years. And our courses are certified by NSDC. But this one was rewarded by the recognition from the highest echelon of national leaders representing the whole country and that is what you see – not just the President but what he represents – the people of the country recognizing your efforts, innovation and hard-work. And that’s the magnitude to behold!
Launch of Foundation Course
This is how it was on the launch of the NSDC sponsored Foundation Course – a bridge program that provides for the inclusion of survivors of human trafficking to skill development programs by Shri Ram Nath Kovind, the President of India.
This Foundation Course is the baby we created, nourished and nurtured and gave it the wings to fly and play its role in building lives across the country and the world.
How it All Started
Skilling the survivors of human trafficking is an initiative where RuralShores Skills Academy is a training partner. We created this Foundation Course along with Justice & Care, an NGO working with victims of human trafficking, worked and re-worked on it, moulding it to the requirements of the survivors. Training the survivor girls of human trafficking isn’t an easy task – they are poor, broken, physically and mentally exploited with little to no educational background. Justice & Care has been seeing the harassed mental state of the survivors, and approached us to build a course in Life Skills to help the survivors cope up with the adversities they faced and move on in life. We came up with a set of life skills and professional skills these girls would be tutored on to survive in a business environment. We also train these girls in communication and computer skills, so that they can communicate in the technologically-enabled corporate world. Then we train them in domain skills through courses like retail and domestic BPO, so that they can become adept in a job-oriented skill. Our trainers visit the shelter homes daily for training these girls. We equip the survivors with necessary skills, make them employable and provide placements through our tie-ups with various organizations.
To make a difference in someone’s life is a clichéd sentence you keep hearing now and then. But when you make it into a mission and see its outcome – sharing the platform with the President of the country, speaking about her journey to finding a purpose in life and addressing some of the eminent personalities in the country without any stage fear, reflecting a confidence in herself to move forward and change her world – you will see your reward in her groomed persona. We played a part in making her whole again. We helped build a life. The reward for our labour is a life. Is that not enough?
RSA tied up with DLF Foundation (DLFF) to deliver quality and value in the case of a large, focused and ‘only girls’ college in Gurugram. RSA determined to ensure an appropriate set of girls will take out extra time and go through On-line courses from a few entities that provide for a large number of structured and self-study courses online.
Girls can go through these courses without any usage charges which are offered free by Online providers – except for their certification. So when they need a certification, then DLFF covers the cost for them. Last year we trained and certified over 300 girls in this manner.
This year the girls reaching out to us for the courses is much higher! There are about 7,000 girls in the college and we need to select and give opportunities to the girls who are typically in final year of college. Then we help them choose the courses that align with what they are studying in college and will make them better employable with online training.
The Online training covers videos, assessments, and reading material organized appropriately and in the right manner.
Delivering Government and Foundation’s Vision and Mission through RuralShores Skills Academy efforts
DLFF provides a clear direction and then funds the center for running the show. Ruralshores Skills Academy provides the trainers and managers for the center to drive the center and manage the right training by girls. Guiding them on learning English, so that they can learn and pick up from the online courses fast enough. Government had built the infrastructure and provided the girls college as the main resource center.
Together, the three organizations are making the impact possible!
Here are some statements and comments recorded from students about what they feel and what they study:
Tulsi- did a course in technical voice re-coding as she is doing her graduation in music only. She finds this course really informative and practical and believes that after completion of this she can get in to the same profession.
Sharmila- she pursued a course in programming from Microsoft. She is confident in writing codes and wants to go ahead with more courses in coding so that she can move in to software development.
Jyoti- completed a course in English communication and finds is extremely helpful as she feels confident and less hesitant while communicating in English.
These are a few examples how the college girls achieve what were only dreaming of. RSA has been giving directions and means to the girls so that they can not only move towards achieving their goals and but they must become what they want to in their prospective careers.
The Project was started when DLF Foundation agreed with Government Authority to start supporting and driving it in association with RuralShores Skills Academy Pvt Ltd. The project has been given the name of “Golden Jubilee eLearning Project”.
Sarita, Trainer from RSA: This is a joint effort of Haryana Government, DLF Foundation and RuralShores Skills Academy to empower girls coming from rural areas to the college. These girls are, many times, not even aware that such good career options exist. We help them to find the right path for their bright future by consulting and helping them.
Students who are from B.com, we suggest to them courses related to banking, E finance, Economics, and courses in market analysis etc. Students from Arts side can go into teaching administration and choose a course for their hobbies like music and arts as well. The girls who are not even familiar with the computers we need to help them by training how to use a computer and introducing the modern electronic way of learning.
We hope that it can create a major learning mechanism for all girls across India in the long run!
RSA is willing to work with Foundations that want to really skill the under-served youth.