Women in India have been severely affected by the Covid-19 pandemic since past two years. During the lockdown, incidences of violence and discrimination against women have rapidly increased due to the fact that women living in the slums lost their livelihood and were forced to stay at home. These created questions for survival and women became the victim of the lockdown. They are facing various challenges after losing their source of income, question of two square meals begin the primary concern. Despite support from various government and non-government organizations during the crises, they feel more exhausted and under lot of pressure as question of survival looms large. Compared to men, women are more vulnerable in terms of economic as well as social points of view which would directly impact their mental wellbeing. Lack of jobs will further disadvantage of women and the lockdown had most impact on the health both physical and mental. As per the National women commission the violence against women has increased during the lockdown. Most of the cases go unreported due to fear, shame and social stigma. To empower women and help them to sustain economic Independence is the first step. Economic independence gives strength to women and helps in prevention of violence as women need not ask money from their husband.
The lockdown made women living in slums more miserable especially those who are divorced, widows and single women. Earlier they managed to earn a couple of thousand rupees to maintain their life. But due to lockdown, there is no work and they are facing various problems to manage their family. Majority of them are less educated and unskilled labour. Keeping in view the above situation CEHRO INDIA plans to provide vocational training and basic equipments to 500 Widows, Divorced, single, marginalized women and improve their living conditions in Munirika Village, New Delhi.
500 Women would be exposed to training techniques mainly designed to develop their skills and performance in Tailoring. After training women who took part in the tailoring course received sewing machines through which they would be able to sew clothes to earn for themselves and their families. In this way, they will be engaged by themselves and earn for them to maintain their day-to-day life.
Deserving women are our target beneficiaries. On priority basis the admissions would be offered to Divorced, Widows and Poor and single women.
The project was inaugurated on 31st August 2021, by Dr. Sanghmitra Sheel Acharya, a Professor of Centre of Social Medicine and Community Health, School of Social Sciences, Jawaharlal Nehru University who cut the ribbon and lighted a diya for prosperity and even tried a hand in sewing machine and in the end shared her thoughts in women empowerment and motivated them.
We aim to support youth to develop skills required to get a job opportunity by short term courses. Youths who have finished their 12th or 10th and could not complete their studies are the major beneficiaries of Saksham. Along with them, we lookout for employed youths who can earn better by upgrading their skills. We collaborate with various agencies who conduct short term courses and workshops related to skill development and placements.
On the basis of these skills total 128 students got job with a decent starting salary.
"I live in one small room. My Baba, Ma and one Didi work as cooks in houses. Whenever I accompanied them to one of these houses I hoped to bring such grandeur to my family, therefore I wanted to work as soon as possible yet no one was in favour of me quitting my studies midway" - said 19 years old Virendra
He attended school till class 12. After finishing his exams He knew He was ready to start working. He learnt about CEHRO and became part of it. And got selected for TEACH INDIA (CSR initiative by TIMES OF INDIA). TEACH INDIA trained him for 100 days in Spoken English and then he gave interviews at the next TIMES OF INDIA Job Fair. Now he is working at BIG Bazaar – New Delhi
Now he supports his parents and he studies BA at SOL, Delhi University.
We live in a slum in Vasant Vihar. I finished class 10th from Bihar and then moved to Delhi. For class 12 I enrolled in NIOS. My father is an auto driver and my mother is a sanitation worker. I always wished to be a financial support in the family. I have 4 sisters I understand that we are a big family and only my parent's income is not enough for us. -said Priyanka
I came to CEHRO 2 years ago. I was hesitant but took courage to be a part of CEHRO INDIA. I had only once been out of home to buy vegetables; I asked my senior there and if I am still eligible. They accepted me with love, care and understanding. They also put forward an important opportunity before me; to become a part of the TEACH INDIA (CSR initiative by TIMES OF TIME). After the 100 days training, I participated in the Times of India JOB FAIR and got selected to work with PUNK store at Ambience Mall, New Delhi. I am happy I can now support my parents and be able to pursue graduation from SOL, Delhi University.
I now want my sisters to get educated too. Now I know the importance of education in a child’s life. Thank you CEHRO INDIA. I can now live my dreams. -said 20 years old Priyanka
‘The Times of India’ is the leading daily newspaper in India and the Teach India programme is run by its CSR division. In 2010 the British Council approached them to partner in a project called TEACH INDIA in order to attain various objectives including, the teaching of English language to the underprivileged, to develop and deliver sustainable language skills to gain employment and engage volunteers to make an impact through the medium of English language.
In December 2014 CEHRO became a part of this initiative and provided training in English language to various students from the disadvantaged communities. Of them, there were two young disempowered women with origins rooted in Nepal and were based in Munirka village in South Delhi, India. “Whenever we picked up books to read we were asked to do cleaning, dusting, cooking or washing. We were given taunts and remarks and were never appreciated for anything” remarked the elder sister Soni.
They have come a long way in life to the extent that their whole family is now dependent upon them while only eight months back that same family would leave harsh comments on their identity and belongingness. Their mother and brother were determined to get them married as soon as possible. Soni is 19 and her younger sister is 17 years old. The two young women were enlightened by the interactions they had with Mr.Surjeet, the founder of CEHRO, around the topics of well-being, personality development and prioritizing education. Both the sisters had failed to pass their class 11 exams and eventually, their mother and brother put an end to their school days. “We were then asked to work as maids in the house where my mother worked as the cook. We took turns to finish all sorts of household chores for money” laments Pooja, the younger one with bloodshot eyes and flow of uncontrollable tears.
They were on the verge of giving up when their aunt told them to get in touch with CEHRO. Since then they have never looked back a day in their lives. Within a short time they found themselves juggling between being household workers and being aspiring students, between sleep and rest, between sadness and joy and between losing and finding one’s identity. In all this they held each other’s hands, both of them together, ready to face the world by not just being survivors but inspirations for other young women. They shook their old identity and were soon found on the edge of vast horizons.
They got enrolled into NIOS (CEHRO funded their education) to further pursue class 12 exams, along with looking forward to explore their lives and making a living through the effective programme –Teach India. At 6am their day would start and they wouldn’t miss a class so as not to lag behind. Mr. Surjeet recalls, “When they first came they had even forgotten the spelling of ‘a girl’ and ‘a boy’.” He had undoubtedly little hope from them and was surprised when they defied his perception. He started seeing them every day and noticed they were growing with time, CEHRO and Teach India.
As soon as they were able to finish training at Teach India and complete their studies at NIOS they were also certified to work in the outlets like Big Bazaar, PVR Cinemas, retailing and many more establishments through the collaboration of the Teach India Programme. Soni and Pooja chose Big Bazaar and PVR respectively. Today, they are able to lead their lives with dignity and freedom adding quality to their self esteem further enhancing scope to have a distinct identity. Evidently, in no time they have gained respect as they are now financially independent and are able to contribute to the well being of society. The two young women are now capable to contributing to the Gross Domestic Product (GDP) growth of the nation.
More of such programmes can help in the advancement of women which can further boost the economic growth of the country and bring about well-being for all. We must think of the nation and the world as an absolute in terms of men and women. When talking of education or for that matter any other sphere of life, both men and women must be equally treated.
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