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Friday, June 13, 2014

How youth from the slums find a job in Patna

Teachers support girls and boys with free computer and English lessons

Patna, the capital of the state of Bihar, has one of the largest unemployment rates all over India. For young people and especially for women it is hard to get a job. "It is difficult because of the over population. I would like to work in the official sector, with the government or with a bank", says Pooja Sinha, an 18 year old girl from Patna.

She and her friends find a glimmer of hope at the Prayag Employability Centre. Here, young women from the slums can attend English and computer classes for free. And they get advice for job hunting: "I didn’t know any English before. Here, I get the chance to improve my skills. After finishing this course, I would like to get a part time job“, says Shilpi Kumari (18), a class mate of Pooja.

The centre was founded in 2011 with support of Ekta Parishad. It is financed by the private company Reliance. At the beginning, there were only courses for girls. But nowadays there are also classes for boys. Each course takes two months. The aim is to help the unemployed participants to find a job. „We thought about how to enhance the situation of the urban youth. Many of them live in slums. They are unemployed and depressed. If we support them, we can contribute to the development of the country“, explains Pradeep Priyadarshi from Ekta Parishad.

 “Whenever my students find a good job, it makes me very happy and I feel proud.” 
   Swati Kashyap, teacher

In the computer classes the students learn how to use the Internet, how to write letters and how to make calculations. But also things like the online booking of train tickets. Teacher Swati Kashyap likes that she has the chance to help her students: „From time to time, we manage to find jobs for our students. Whenever they find a good position, this makes me very happy and I feel proud."

Over the last three years, more than thousand participants attended the classes. One third of them were able to find a job afterwards. One of this success stories is 19-year old Uttam Sharma. The former student found a job as customer care agent at a telecom company: „The teachers here supported me in getting an interview with the company. Without the computer skills and the English I learned at the centre, I wouldn’t have got the job."

The story of Uttam gives the young girls hope to find a job one day, earn their own money and thus become more independent.
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