In India, a recent statistic from the Education Department of India manifested that while 96% of India's children enroll in primary school, by the age of 10 about 40% drop out. Furthermore, only a third of India's high school students actually graduate. What does this say about the education the youth of India is receiving? With an increasing younger population, it is estimated that by the year 2015, India will be over 50% comprised of the younger generation. Therefore, India's most important asset is the mind of the next generation that will define India's future.
The best empowering tool for the poor is to educate and train the youth so that they may pursue stable career options in the organized sector. Industrialization and modernization have created the need for a workforce that is computer literate and equipped with soft skills. However, the traditional education system prevalent in India does not address these issues effectively. Up dated vocational training is seldom accommodated. Over the past couple of years, education is becoming increasingly expensive and beyond the reach of the economically weaker sections.
In 2003, the American India Foundation recognized the importance of training for livelihood and thus started their Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST) program. This program has trained over 29000 young people for jobs in high growth industries across India.
DBC Trust has stepped in to spread this program across northern India. The project Margdarshan in partnership with AIF is conducted in a state-of-the-art 5,000 square foot campus that has class rooms and a well equipped computer lab. Young adults are recruited from slum areas in Ludhiana, Punjab. We intend to expand into other cities in Punjab and then into other states like Haryana & Himachal Pradesh. It will impart functional skills to the youth in order to empower and mainstream them into the socio-economic sphere.
The program targets slum dwellers and school dropouts. Our volunteers visit slums regularly. Those who enroll go through a screening exercise that assesses their existing skills and training needs. The training curriculum, spread over three months, includes basic computer skills, spoken English coupled with a specialization in Sales & Marketing and Hospitality. Special attention is also given to equip these young minds with effective communication skills, attitudinal and behavioral training and work readiness. The dedicated placement cell taps the local market and industry.
To generate a supportive social and familial atmosphere, the parents/guardians are engaged into the program through regular counseling. This has shown good results because the young aspirants get stability and the entire family benefits from the sustainability in income generation.
DBC Trust has recorded that 80% of the recruits are young women and saw this as an opportunity and hired women faculty to accommodate these girls in the best possible way. By empowering these women with confidence and a set of skills which they otherwise would probably never have received, Margdarshan facilitates a chain reaction and when these girls become mothers a healthier tomorrow is catalyzed.
DBC Trust takes great pride that our Margdarshan is a bastion of hope, health and happiness for a happier society and a healthier nation.