• How New Skills Transformed The Life Of Karishma Tomar

    Women in the National Capital Region were asked: Is Lack of Information a Critical Barrier to Availing of Skilling Opportunities? And here’s what the results looked like:

    51.8% Strongly Agree

    23.5 % Agree

    Source: UNDP

    SheThePeople Team visited Ashok Vihar in New Delhi to talk about skilling India, the informal economy, and why economic empowerment of women must often be a multi-pronged approach.  Girls from the ages of 13- to 30 receive specific career counselling and other skills at an office in East Delhi, as part of the SEWA Bharat and UNDP Disha Project initiative.

    They say they’ve reached 10,000 girls in the past year. One of the major hurdles remains lack of information about opportunities. And while sewing classes are helpful for women who have little formal education, we learn, they also need more options -– and professional skill development to be able to adapt to a workplace.

    Divya S. Sooryakumar, Programme Manager Youth Initiatives & Organisational Development, SEWA Bharat explains the status of women here. Skills at first, and much more after that. “To survive and retain employment, there’s also so much more that’s required, time management, stress management, communication skills – all of which, just sitting at a computer, you won’t learn. At the centre, we do a job preparedness course, so girls learn about different types of work that exist.”

    Meet Karishma Tomar. She is a very confident 19 year old who dreams of being a dancer. She wasn’t sure what it would entail, and her family wasn’t convinced. It’s here at the centre, where she came looking for practical skills – learning computers – that she discovered her passion is also a possible career. The 19 year old shares she kept waiting for her father to help figure out her career. “One day  I just came on my own to learn computers.” While talking to the staff here, Karishma realised she could skill herself in a passion she long pursued. That of dancing. She’s now got two job interviews for a position which will allow her to teach and learn dance.

    Karishma shares she was touched at the recognition and confidence the skilling program has got her. “What I did here, my name was announced on stage — I was so moved that I almost cried everyone was so proud of me.”

    At the same centre in New Ashok Vihar, Deepika Haldar is also carving out her own dream —that to be a professional chef. She has had to help her mother as a domestic help for years, from the age of 11. But when she got here to learn new skills she bought three years from her mother to experiment with her life and ability to do something other than work as a maid.

    “Main chahti hoon ke thodi izzat mile. Yeh kaam nahin karna ha, izzat ki kaam chahiye,” she remembers as her explanation to her mother. Studying while she worked, Deepika has passed her Class X exams and has bought herself some time from her mother to prove herself.

    These women prove again and again that when presented with an opportunity to learn they can transform their lives and that of others around them. Skilling programs such as #DishaSkills can be instrumental in opening doors for young girls with dreams of doing more and stretching their ambitions more than what they have been brought up to.

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