Giving Women Wings to Fly – NGOs Working to Empower Disadvantaged Women 

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Queen Rania of Jordan said: “If you educate a woman, you educate a family, if you educate a girl, you educate the future.” As it is with education, giving importance to skilling is also a major requirement in this day and age. Acquiring a mastery in a skill can open doors of opportunities previously unknown. The past years have witnessed a consistent expansion in women empowerment but there is a section that needs attention considering the present scenario i.e. rural areas.

Women should have self-esteem, certainty, and the opportunity to pick their necessities and prerequisites, but many fall under the category of underserved and underprivileged. To provide this section with the upliftment they deserve and to celebrate their existence, some organisations are working untiringly to be the catalyst to these women by providing them skill training in different verticals and making them self-sufficient so they can sustain their family and look forward to a brighter future. 

Here are some Indian organisations that have brought a positive impact on the lives of rural unprivileged and undeserved women:

PanIIT Alumni Foundation – The CSR arm of Pan IIT Alumni works towards providing various skill training programmes for the underprivileged youth of the country and the most affected group – women – facing challenges to earn a living and secure a financially independent life. PanIIT provides skill training and vocational courses for women such as Assistant Nurse Midwifery (A.N.M) – a curriculum in nursing skills keeping in mind women who want to pursue a career as a nurse in the healthcare services; ITI manufacturing to skill and make them secure equal opportunities in the IT sector. PanIIT set up ‘Rural Skill Gurukuls’ (short-term skilling programmes) and Kaushal Colleges (a two-year residential programme) for underprivileged and tribal youth with 100 per cent-assured placements and loan financing and has a joint venture with the Government of Jharkhand. It is now expanding its presence to Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. Over the last ten years, the Foundation has established a successful collaborative model with governments and businesses as stakeholders and delivered at scale on a self-sustainable, job-assured, loan-funded, vocational skilling model enhancing the incomes and livelihood of the underprivileged. Their short-term courses have impacted over 18,000 underprivileged youth and over one lakh lives so far.  

Smile Foundation – Through its e-learning programmes, this Foundation targets underprivileged groups like youth and women who are not able to complete their school education or were forced to drop out of school due to financial crisis and challenges. Their skill training programmes are designed following the current industry requirements to provide underprivileged women equal opportunities to work in fast-emerging sectors of India such as hospitality, retail, IT, etc. Their short-term, six months courses in computers, spoken English and soft skills have provided confidence and a ray of hope to many women to live a financially-secured life. Apart from this, the beneficiaries are trained on their overall personality to aid them to adjust better to their work surroundings. The Foundation directly benefits over 15 lakh children and their families every year through more than 400 live welfare projects on education, healthcare, livelihood, and women empowerment in over 2000 remote villages and slums across 25 States of India. 

The constant efforts and initiatives of such organisations working towards women’s upliftment have impacted lives in so many ways and contribute to the nation’s growth as well.

Nidhi Foundation – This Foundation works with the women in the urban slums and villages. It believes that helping women develop their inherent latent potentiality bring about holistic development for the society at large. Its community-based initiative empowers women to become entrepreneurs. They are taught sewing and stitching within the precincts of their community. This programme is necessarily inclusive in character, thereby implying that it is implemented for the economically poor, irrespective of caste, class, religion, or creed. Apart from this, the Foundation provides nutrition and education to children who have never gone to school or have dropped out because they could not concentrate on or understand the concepts and subjects taught in school because of various nutritional deficiencies. It runs informal schools at its centres from 9 am to 4 pm, in two batches. Children are taught to read and write and also learn the basics of English, Hindi, Science, and Mathematics. 

Saksham Launched in 2010, Saksham focuses on another kind of NEET – ‘Neither in Education, Employment or Training’ – for youth, especially women and girls, from urban and rural disadvantaged areas. The programme equips them with free, market-oriented vocational skills and entrepreneurial training. This not only helps them access employment and pursue entrepreneurship options, according to their capability, aptitude, and choice, but also make them representatives of a gender-equal society. Through these training programmes, they can pursue entry-level jobs in sectors like customer care executives, general duty assistants, floor executives, data entry assistants, store assistants, cash, and front office management. Saksham’s skilling project has reached out to over 12,000 youth; with over 7,000 placed in respectable jobs and other livelihood activities. It will be working with secondary school children, particularly girls and young women, to make informed career choices by providing impact group access to career counselling and decent employment opportunities.

The constant efforts and initiatives of such organisations working towards women’s upliftment have impacted lives in so many ways and contribute to the nation’s growth as well. Today, women are breaking gender stereotypes by competing with confidence in male-dominated sectors such as IT, manufacturing, construction, etc. These organisations have worked as the backbone to these underserved and underprivileged women of our society who has the potential to change the dynamics if given the right skill sets and a fair chance to aim high and reach for the stars.