Literacy to Self Reliance
In the current Indian scenario, where unemployment and illiteracy levels are increasing at a rapid pace, DA believes that providing education alone is not the solution to this problem. Education needs to be complemented with life skills, vocational skills and enterprise development skills. A significant relationship has been noticed between literacy, employment and development. Literacy and vocational skills benefit both individuals and communities. It transforms people, communities and the entire social structure at large. It is a key to socio-economic development. Literacy plays an important role in providing skilled manpower and thus, empowers the community.
The objective of this initiative is to make selected groups of women literate and then, strengthen their income generating abilities through training and capacity building activities. Women are the most powerful element for bringing change, and empowerment of women leads to empowerment of the family, the community and ultimately, the nation.
DA through its incubation engine – TARA, has developed a special package; which can serve both as a module and as independent services, depending on the needs of the target group. The package consists of the following components:
Functional Literacy: Functional literacy is provided through TARA Akshar+, one of the world’s fastest literacy programmes (as per the Wall Street Journal). It is a laptop based functional literacy programme, which trains an illiterate person to read and write, and provide basic numerical skills in just 98 contact hours (or two hours daily spanning over 56 days). This programme is as per the guidelines of the National Literacy Mission (India).
Life Skills Training: Post basic literacy, the participants are provided training to impart life skills. These trainings are aimed at enhancing the personality and knowledge of an individual on health, hygiene and related aspects. These trainings ultimately, lead to increased employability.
Vocational Skills Training: As the next step, participants are trained on various vocational skills to help secure jobs. These skills are imparted to women based on the results of training needs assessment, to equip them with employability skills within two months.
Enterprise Development Training: Depending on the business acumen of the participants, enterprise development training is also provided. This training equips them to set up micro-enterprises. The training is for a month, where they learn about different aspects of running a business (using ILO’s Start and Improve Your Business Curriculum). They are trained on the specialised skills of the vocation, they were previously trained on.
Market Linkages Facilitation: TARA also facilitates setting up of micro-enterprises and links these enterprises with financial institutions and banks. It also creates market linkages for selling the products and services. Women are acquainted with the existing industry and the market trends, and are mainstreamed.
In the last two years, over 450 women have been made self-reliant and more than 2500 individuals have been impacted indirectly. Some of Corporations/PSUs supporting this programme include Noida Power Company Limited (NPCL) and GAIL (India) Limited.