Sunday, February 1, 2015

Margdarshan !

Marg Darshan’ is a campaign with an objective to provide skills to qualified, interested, underprivileged youth. I and my fellow friend Ana aim to do this by primarily identifying such people and providing them with counseling before we link them to skills teaching organizations and perhaps, further even with prospective employers.

We both are residents of Dwarka, a South-West residential hub of the capital of the country, which to establish – the usual method was followed where land was bought from certain villages. One such being Pochanpur around our area. It not only comprises of villagers who own many acres of land here, but also a large migrant population who work as car washers and maids in the residential colonies thus established. Quite often the maids who come to our homes or the gatekeepers of our colonies request us to get their distant relative new in town or their neighbor’s uncle’s son-in-law a job in the city.

Thus, in our campaign we aim to tap youth (boys and girls aged between 18 to 25 years of age) from a nearby locality called Pochan Pur and are in conversation for partnership with NGOs and other interested groups who can indulge in providing training as well as employment to the interested candidates.

One such organization we are in conversation with is Literacy India which provides remedial classes to children and vocational training to unskilled youth. We met Mr. Sunil Kumar Singh who welcomed us with great enthusiasm and pointed out to us the importance of counseling amongst such youth. He told us that young people after skill’s classes do not usually continue with a certain job for long as their expectations after skill training exceeds the reality which they have hardly been exposed to. Thus, counseling is important to fill in the knowledge gap to educate our beneficiary population about where these skills place them in the mainstream economic job market.

For this purpose, we will categorise our youth in Type A and Type B.
Type A will consist of unskilled unemployed youth.
Type B will consist to skilled unemployed youth.

As mentioned earlier, before we train or even try to employ people, we will foremost indulge in counseling classes for them; and this is so they can take informed sound decisions and be able to connect reality with their expectations. Thus, to tap unemployed youth, recently we visited the field area for our campaign - Pochanpur, a rather large in size urban basti in the vicinity of sector 23, Dwarka. Thus, I and Ana started interacting with the first group of people we came across there! We first met enthusiastic English-speaking boys playing kanchas (marbles) at Holi chowk, speaking to whom was very interesting. All of them were studying in classes between 8th and 12th in a nearby senior secondary government & even private schools. They wore jackets and old woolen caps untidily ad it helped me notice the striking contrast to our kid’s tabs and i-pads obsessed lives.
Children discussed their problems in school they are facing in subjects such as Mathematics and Science. While all of them were trying to converse with us in English, one of them was rather quiet and explained to us that because his parents came to the city only a few months back, he could not get admission in the school. The lack of confidence and his speech amongst the other gang of boys made us realize what effects not going to school can have on a growing kid.

We noticed that children were getting admitted in schools, were not put in classes according to their age. One of the girls, of about 8 years was studying in Preparatory class though she should be in 2nd standard. Reasons to this can be varied like the child could not get admission in the desired class or had left the studies in between or that they failed in the previous classes. This needs more research. Ana elaborates that this is the trend in most places in the country as children as put in classes according to their capacity individual capacity to understand. Thus, we believe here remedial classes can surely help.

All children had aspirations and got interested when we spoke to them about tuition classes or trainings! One keenly told us that he wanted to be a CA and expressed his need for tuition classes after his board papers in March. We will talk to them at length when we visit them next.

Then, they directed us to continue walking in “street number 1”, so we did!
We went to individual households and met more females than men because they were out for work, while women had returned home to cook lunch and cater to their children back from school, or left behind at home. Most families composed of at least three children and traditionally as it is, only the women had to take care of children after their work. Most of the women work as cooks and maids in the nearby residential societies of Dwarka. Women were more cooperative in giving details of their family as compared to the men who were bit reluctant to talk and short of hope.

We discussed with them about what they do, their daily life and whether they are looking forward to increasing their income in any way. We further elaborated about training in skills and asked them if they wished to train in any skill that interests them that can increase their job prospects.

They surely wanted to earn more money but giving time and efforts to the process was a very important factor and at least most women could not speak for themselves.
We met an interesting man who is working as car cleaner in the nearby society. He was BA second year drop out from Uttar Pradesh and completely ignorant and hopeless about increasing his income in any way. We had a long discussion with him where he elaborated the uselessness of trainings. However, we believe it is not his fault to have such a mindset; in the Indian society males like him were always told that only labour job can bring them money to them.

One woman shared with us information about an NGO working in this areawhich is working towards providing education and stitching classes with a fees. A visit to this NGO is also in our agenda.

Overall, we noticed that people are willing to talk about their issues but not ready to do something to change their situations.

Poor are not poor because of Rich but because of lack of hope in their hearts and less exposure to their minds.
Overall! It was a great experience and we wish to visit Pochan Pur multiple times in the coming weeks! We wish to understand them and help them contribute to the economy of our country and their homes.

We can do this once we build a team of strong connections. In this endeavor will you join hands with us? All we need is your willing sincerity. Would you join  the cause of this campaign?

Deepanshi P ChopraHaiyya Delhi Fellow and Consultant by profession, right now working on education & employment campaign for underprivileged people in Dwarka area.
AnaHaiyya Delhi Fellow, a social researcher with keen interest in impact of government policies and civic responsibilities.

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