New Delhi: Smile Foundation, under its Project Manzil initiative, has now provided employability training to around 14,000 young girls and enabled on-the-job training for another 5,000 girls to secure their future. The Foundation has encouraged the girls by enrolling them in vocational education courses.
Manzil’s girl-centred initiatives (both in-school and out-of-school) based on skills, information, and stakeholder engagement aid significantly in addressing the socio-economic constraints that contribute to early marriage. For instance, evidence shows that adolescent girls with employability skills and prospects of employment are less likely to marry early. Economic empowerment of women also helps girls exercise more influence within the household and on issues like the age of marriage.
Project Manzil is a five-year project funded by the Children’s Investment Fund Foundation (CIFF) and is implemented by IPE Global. The in-school component of training is implemented by Smile Foundation. This initiative aims to increase retention of girls in schools and ensure effective transition from school to higher studies and/or work by making available training in vocational skills in schools, along with apprenticeships and jobs for out of school adolescent girls (15-19 years).
By imparting practical knowledge to students, over and above theoretical knowledge through Project Manzil, Smile Foundation is taking yet another step forward to provide quality education to young girls across Rajasthan.
NEP 2020 reinforces the need to address skill development through vocational training. Skill-based training is a vital component of our education system, from schools to universities. Vocational education serves as a tool to help girls who want to learn skills quickly but cannot afford a university degree. This training opens many job opportunities for girls. By introducing vocational training at the school and college levels, the project seeks to check girls’ drop-out rates.
Manzil aims to improve the quality of vocational education through three approaches focused on schools, students, and industry. These approaches improve the overall effectiveness of vocational education by helping the girls make informed decisions on their careers. Manzil provides training to girls in streams like IT, healthcare, beauty & wellness, security, retail, automobile, apparel, home furnishing, agriculture, tourism & hospitality, and electrical & electronics. Project Manzil aims to empower adolescent girls to realise their career goals and aspirations.
Santanu Mishra, Co-Founder and Executive Trustee Smile Foundation said, “Academic and vocational learning are complementary to one another. When practical industry-based skill training becomes part of schooling, especially for girl children, it empowers them to make informed choices in life. This project has been showing inspiring impact.”
Project Manzil offers student counselling and aspiration-mapping services, regularisation of on-the-job training and industry exposure, industry tie-ups for schools, mapping of local industries and employers on the Manzil app, employability skills and services to improve enrollment in vocational education. Currently, the project benefits 90,000 adolescent girls between 14 and 19 years pursuing vocational education in Grade 9-12 across 182 Government schools in six districts of Rajasthan.