Skilling the remote part of India

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Skilling the remote part of India

Monday, 18 July 2016 | Shailendra Sinha

The launch of lahanti Institute for Multiple Skills, will go a long way to provide skills training to unemployed, tribal youth in the remotest areas like Dumka. However, this is a localised effort, it needs to be taken to a larger scale

lahanti’ in the local tribal dialect in Santhal Pargana, Jharkhand, literally means ‘development’. And this is what the Evangelical Social Action Forum (ESAF), a non-Governmental organisation that works towards the transformation of the poor and the marginalised communities, focuses on.

In March 2015, ESAF launched the lahanti Institute for Multiple Skills (lIMS) at Dumka. Jesova, principal lIMS said, “Our programme focuses on tribal children because due to poverty, they are unable to go to school. We provide them with skills so that they can earn a livelihood.”

This programme is a ray of hope for a young man or a woman growing up in a poor rural family in this tribal belt of Jharkhand. It also signals an opportunity to break away from the cycle of inter-generational poverty.

Their families simply does not have the means to educate them beyond a point. And with no avenues available to acquire skills, they are caught up in the vortex of poverty, again. New skills mean job opportunities and the ability to create self-employment.

The courses have been designed to cater to the job market and they cover wide-ranging areas such as office management, financial service, electronics, electrical appliances, photography, videography, fashion designing and computer applications.

At a fee of a mere Rs3,700  these residential courses signify an opening into the wider professional sphere for the tribal youth.

Francis Murmu who comes from an agricultural family, joined lIMS for a course on electrical appliances. It is ironical that his village in Masaliya block does not have electricity.

There are many young ones like Francis who despite coming from a region that is underdeveloped, are driven by a hope for a better future.  lIMS is providing them with an opportunity to carve out that future as professionals.

“In the beginning, I was a bit nervous working on electrical applications, but today I make solar panels”, said a beaming Francis.

Kavita Mumru who could not continue studies after clearing her 10 plus two, took up a course in office management has been able to find a job.

Rakesh Soren who too faced a similar situation, opted for computer applications. Now, he is hopeful of getting a job so as to help his family.

Baha Hembram, who from a poor family, the eldest of four siblings too is ambitious. She is keen to acquire skills in banking, insurance and finance.

Multiple skills means wider professional openings for this young tribal girl.  Mary Hembram has a job, but still took time off to do a course in office management.  Today, Mary has an impressive profile combining skills in computers as well as office management.

lIMS has linked up with several organisations such as V-Guard and Sanma, a garment factory that is run by ESAF, to secure placements. Ajith Sen, deputy chief manager, ESAF said that on completing the course, students do not face a problem to get placements.

Depending on their specific skills and its demand in the job market, young people have found jobs at salaries ranging from Rs5,000 to Rs12,000. In the period since its launch, lIMS has turned out around 120 youth and propelled them towards sustainable livelihoods. 

The initiative has demonstrated how skill development can transform lives of impoverished youth who are otherwise devoid of professional opportunities. Yet, this is a localised effort. It needs to be taken to a larger scale in order to reach out to the young ones and make a significant difference across the State of Jharkhand.

Interestingly, lIMS was established at a time when the policy focus at the national level is on skill development. This has found resonance in a number of States.

The Government of Jharkhand, under its Department of labour, Employment, Training and Skill Development, has established the Jharkhand Skill Development Mission Society. This society aims at providing skill training to the unemployed youth, thereby enabling them to find employment or become self-employed.

The synergy between the Central Government and the State Government was reflected in a Memorandum of Understanding, signed in March 2015, between the State’s Skill Development Mission and the National Skill Development Corporation. The focus of ehich is to improve employability skills of the youth in the State.

These developments portend a hope for the future; this can signal the opening up of sustainable livelihoods for thousands of young men and women in the State. This cann be the key to ‘lahanti’.

  (Charkha Features)

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