01 Dec

National Skill Development Scheme | Training on Sewing and Stitching

The burgeoning population has always been considered as a bane for our country. It is assumed as the primary hurdle in any development process. And the reason behind this is that majority of our population is still unskilled and uneducated. Conclusively, population, instead of being an asset ends up being a liability for the country.

National Skill Development Scheme is one of the policies which has the potential to change the face of our country. This scheme stresses on enriching the population with skills which can enable them to live a dignified life. While we appreciate the noble endeavor of our government, we also encountered certain flaws in the scheme. The government is working towards improving these flaws. Currently, this scheme works in a centralized manner where the trainer, training institutes, etc. are provided and controlled by the government. This approach might have worked had we been a developed country. But unfortunately, we lack infrastructures and the required pre-requisites for the implementation of this scheme on such a large scale. The government resources are not enough to train a huge number of people within the stipulated time.

Seva Setu believes that the involvement of the community is inevitable if we are to make such schemes successful. The government may act as a facilitator and let the community take the process forward. This can be a more tangible model in the long run. With this principle in mind, we started our sewing training program. Under this program, we visit local communities, locate a skilled trainer (usually we always find one within the community itself), canvass potential trainees and after a few rounds of discussion, we agree on a convenient place within the community itself to launch the sewing training center. We provide Rs. 7,000 as the seed capital (The cost of Sewing Machine + Accessories Cost)

We are pleased to announce that we have completed another batch of our sewing training program. Certificates have been distributed on 26/11/2016 to all the 15 students who were trained for 3 months under our trainer Janki Ji. With the completion of this batch, the total number of students who have been trained under this initiative has reached 355. But Seva Setu’s role doesn’t end with the completion of 3 months of training and distribution of the certificates. We try to connect these young girls/women to wholesalers and retailers who buy stitched petticoat and blouses. We make sure that they are able to use their newly acquired skill to earn money.

While discussing with the students during the certificate distribution ceremony, we observed a great difference in the confidence level of most of the girls/ women. Since the majority of them were housewives, they were accustomed to household chores and restricted themselves throughout their life. For the first time, they were feeling that they can contribute to their family in terms of money as well. Though boosting their confidence level isn’t the direct outcome of our initiative but we genuinely believe that it will help them taking a stand for themselves in the future.

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24 Aug

Seva Setu’s IT skills training programs

We’re glad to announce that we have now completed four batches of skill training in basic IT and computer skills. Around this time last year, Seva Setu had started off with its skill training initiatives to ensure that people in remote locations get a chance to compete in present day markets. We’d identified stitching and sewing to be one easy to implement training program. The other more important skill which we had decided to focus on was IT and computer skills. Having these skills immediately opens up a host of markets and also ensures they’re host to new and quicker ways for gathering information.WhatsApp Image 2016-08-05 at 12.21.25 AMWhatsApp Image 2016-08-05 at 12.22.49 AM

Late last month, we wrapped the fourth and final batch, all of which took place in Vaishali district. A total of 116 students were a part of these 4 cohorts and were taught general computer literacy and were exposed to basic productivity tools like emails, spreadsheets etc. Classes included both, theory and practical sessions. We now aim to start a set of satellite centers in Phulwari block in Patna district and see how they go.

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One of the students told us how she’s able to now give online competitive examinations, something which she used to miss out on until recently. Another spoke of the wider set of activities she’s now able to get done (testimonial in the image).

With this happy note also dawns a realization that this is just the beginning. We realize that the process doesn’t end here.

One immediate action item for Seva Setu is to facilitate them to get employed – by being the setu (bridge) between those who need IT skills and those who possess it. A simple yet interesting opportunity we learnt was the existence of Vasudha Centers [1] – small computer centers in each panchayat whose aim is to aid villagers to make use of various facilities online. Some of the more entrepreneurial students from our batches can easily set these up and get them running.

Another important lesson for us from this exercise was how opening one center in one central location really did not ensure that a sizeable population benefited from such facilities.  We saw a reluctance in people staying as close as 5-10 kilometers to come over to our centers – those that benefited were all residents of the town the center was opened in. We intend on opening small, low-cost, low-resource satellite centers across various blocks as against setting up a full-fledged training center in any one location. We have seen this to help people overcome their inhibitions of acquiring new skills and making them open to trying out new things.

With this thought, we see that our job has only begun. We are in the process of setting ourselves targets to open more such training and IT training centers. We’ll keep you posted.

[1] – https://www.csc.gov.in/

13 Jul

Hunarbaaz Babli!

Today, we introduce Babli, a newly elected ward counselor of Muradpur village from Bhulosa Danapur panchayat, Patna.

We first met Babli when we were associated with World Health Partners to ensure that drugs to check TB were being consumed in a timely manner by those fighting it. Babli had seen Seva Setu’s active involvement in this program and had walked up to us asking whether she could be a part of the action. A couple of discussions later, she was on-board, active as a field executive.

On having worked actively on monitoring the government’s VHND programs and getting malnourished children from her neighborhood admitted to the local Nutritional Rehabilitation Center (NRC), she took up Seva Setu’s Skill India program and helped set up stitching centers in three villages in her panchayat.

Babli receiving a certificate of training for stitching from another of our field volunteers Abhay Anand

Babli receiving a certificate of training for stitching from another of our field volunteers Abhay Anand

Babli and the team she helped assemble to get trained in stitching.

Babli and the team she helped assemble to get trained in stitching.

Babli today has a vision for where she wants to see her village in five years’ time. Her stint with Seva Setu has exposed her to a number of ways in which women and children from her village can live healthy lives and also double up as income generators for their respective households. Setting up a robust drainage system, connectivity to nearby towns through well-connected roads and ensuring each house has a toilet are a part of her immediate action items. We are pleased to aid her in setting up the initial capital in getting some of these projects started off.

We see a fantastic opportunity to help the Bablis of tomorrow. At Seva Setu, the range of activities we involve ourselves in, invariably exposes our field executives to the various pain-points the common man suffers from. Additionally, our model also shows through actionable work on how some of these pain points can be circumvented. The hope and aspiration we see in Babli’s eyes fuels our drive to be the “setu” we envisioned to be – between those willing to serve and those who cannot help themselves.

Pleased to hear about Babli? Want to meet many others on the ground who are as active and determined to bring about a change? Want to lead a team of such spirited individuals into building something worthwhile? Drop a note right away – we’ll be happy for you to be involved!

Work done with: Abhay Anand ji

03 Jul

The seed of entrepreneurship is sown! (Danapur, Patna, Bihar)

The hallmark of a true entrepreneur is an irresistible urge to grow his/her enterprise; to constantly think of new ways to reach a wider market and in order to do so, to constantly acquire new skills as well.

Meet Neetu ji – one of our first stitching trainers we had on board to teach a group of 15 local women.

Neetu ji showcasing some of the designs she has made!

Neetu ji showcasing some of the designs she has made!

Neetu ji has both, party wear and daily wear in her catalogue of clothes she designs!

Neetu ji has both, party wear and daily wear in her catalog of clothes she designs!

 On having completed the three-month training course we set up some time back, Neetu ji now sees an untapped opportunity here and has gone ahead and opened a full-fledged stitching and tailoring center with the help of those whom she trained. She went to the Ministry of Industries (Udyog Bhawan) in Patna and on utilizing the Pradhan Mantri Employment Generation Program, which helped her take a loan, has bought electric sewing machines and a store to run her activities. She now is actively looking at markets to cover so that people buy their produce. She is particularly eyeing entering Big Bazaar and its likes.

One of Neetu ji's associates whom she'd trained through Seva Setu's stitching training initiative

One of Neetu ji’s associates whom she’d trained through Seva Setu’s stitching training initiative

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Another of Neetu ji's associates whom she'd trained

Another of Neetu ji’s associates whom she’d trained

This is probably the best realization of the vision Seva Setu had when we started off this initiative. We consider this to be the right model to replicate with our other stitching training centers. Full steam ahead on this!

If you want to be a part of this initiative to help these local entrepreneurs in growing their markets, do drop a line here – we’ll be happy to connect you to them (we are after all a Setu [bridge] on a mission). Generally, it’s an information barrier that’s a show-stopper for them. We can ensure they make the best of what you have to offer in terms of domain knowledge and expertise.

It would also be great if you could share this post with as many to help spread the word!