NFI supported Reach India to leverage its ongoing skills development programme for enhancing employability of youth from poor households to leverage a holistic strategy to ensure that the youth are mainstreamed to play a central role in the overall development process. The initiative aimed to build their knowledge and life-skills through youth and community mobilization through creative use of communication tools like use of theatre, comics art, open dialogues with peers, parents and external stakeholders from government agencies, municipal bodies, NGOs, corporate, teachers, trainers and others in select strategic locations. The efforts were afoot to promote their voluntarism and leadership through complementary initiatives. The partnership with NFI enabled us to bring a more systematic approach in this direction and to clarify and fine-tune the objectives of our initiative as follows:  

1. Improving social harmony and cohesion within the community by building a shared understanding of the community needs

2. Enabling youth to access life-changing opportunities for their social and economic development through appropriate training and resource linkages

3. Enhancing the capacities of the youth to better manage their lifecycle events and stress, in their social interactions

The overall objectives of the project are to develop a strategy that can lay a clear roadmap to develop a plan to work with the youth with a holistic approach and bring other stakeholders by creating their buy in. The last few months since inception served as the incubation process marked by increased level of interactions and dialogues with the focused youth and other members in their localities, identification of different stakeholders and possible linkages to address some of their felt needs and capacity building activities, all of which helped in building trust and cementing our friendship with them.

We started our regular community contact programme for identification and interactions specially with the youth in the age group of 15 to 24 mostly in the slum areas of Saheb Mahal of Mohabirtala area, Prince Anwar shah and Golfgreen. With the help of identified youth, we came across Jagriti Sangha, an active local youth club who after a few round of discussions happily agreed to share their resources including their office and meeting space which is quite spacious and this is where we organized our first workshop with youth for their capacity building on action research and leadership development. We also interacted with the family members of the youth and other senior members of the community, who appreciated the initiative and assured their cooperation.

Process of engaging Youth

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The context:
It’s in a way ironical that these slums are situated close to some prominent and posh locations of the city. On one hand the people living in these slums are well connected with all areas of the city with public transport system and communication, and post office, hospital, schools and colleges are in the vicinity; access per se should not be an issue for them. Yet they reported scarcity of basic amenities like water supply, sanitation, education and health. Poverty due to lack of steady income as most of the people are working in the informal sector, is a common feature. We are getting a firsthand understanding of the facilities that exist and issues and concerns therein.

Our discussions with the youth, and the young girls and women revealed increasing instances of early drop outs from the education system after the middle level and socially, culturally and legally unacceptable activities in the area like eve teasing, alcoholism, domestic violence, early marriage, rampant desertion of women by their partners and husbands etc.. Local youth cutting across different sections of the society candidly shared that they fail to prioritise their studies and career as a large part of their time gets spent on talking over the mobile phones, watching television, whiling away their time in chatting and gossiping (Adda culture). They enter into relationships in their early teen years and in many instances they get married too, without thinking about their future, which is most cases end up in bouts of domestic violence, separation, desertion which cause a lot of mental agony and hardship.

Being part of the urban society they aspire for the brighter things in their lives. They desire to have costly mobile phones, costly bikes, like to be a relation with an attractive partner, all of which is contingent on their ability to spend a lot of money. Looking for opportunity to make some quick income by spending a couple of hours or so by working with the local property brokers, painters, caterers, working as part time drivers etc. This is a common trend but these activities do not provide them a steady stream of income. Some of these youth have either attended or are considering attending our vocational skills programme but even there, some of them drop out without completing or after working for a few months in some job that we help them to find. Depression among the youth is very common and the pressure to earn quick bucks through legal or illegal means leads to unhealthy life-style including smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse and sometimes legal problems. Youth themselves realize and share with us that those who left education to join short term or temporary jobs may not get opportunity for career enhancement in future. On the other hand those who left education and took up unacceptable activities will face severe health and financial loss in their lives.

Identification of their problems:
1. Scarcity of basic amenities like water supply, sanitation, education and health.
2. Poverty due to lack of steady income as most of the people are working in the informal sector,
3. Early drop outs from the education system after the middle level and
4. Socially, culturally and legally unacceptable activities in the area like eve teasing, alcoholism, domestic violence, early marriage, rampant desertion of women by their partners and husbands etc.
5. Depression among the youth is very common and the pressure to earn quick bucks through legal or illegal means leads to unhealthy life-style including smoking, alcoholism, drug abuse and sometimes legal problems.

Activity flow

PRE_INTERVENTION Identification of the community. Frequently visit
Identification of the local Youth Leaders.
Identification of more youth (building youth Group).
INTERVENTION PHASE
INPUT Capacity building of Youth on leadership and action research. Capacities building of youth on Communication on different communication medium like (nukkad natak, Grassroots comics). Development of Youth resource center Regularly visit
PROCESS Engage youth in action research process like FGDs and Household surveys for data collection Participated in different activities for community awareness, Conduct sports activities Provide a platform to that youth can perform well in organized manner Development of Community action plan
OUTPUT Situational Analysis of the community, Youth understand the issues and problems of the community as they were engaged in the situational analysis process.  Increase community awareness on different issues related to community. Youth community take active participated in the process. Being able to identify the problem of poor educational services with the community youth of their own have started Remedial coaching classes in the community for the poor and disadvantage section of population on Mathematics and English A comprehensive plan of action that has been prepared by the youth. The plan actually helps them to work in unified manner in long run within the community.  The plan of action will cover all cover all issues of the community and it also gives an idea that how youth will address these issues in their own way.
WITHDRAWAL PHASE The youth from the community will take initiative to identify poor and needy youth and send them to the skill centers for Skill building and Job linked placements.    

Fewer visit

 

Youth mobilization and participation:

We mobilized youth, selected and motivated youth willing to participate in the planning and implementation process of the project as youth volunteers. From august 2015 onward we carried out a series of meeting and discussions with the youth and other members of the community and shared with them the purpose of our intervention. This helped in clarify their misgiving and doubts about us. During the initial discussions, many of them voice their expectations from us about the provisioning of services like arranging coaching classes, solving water supply related problems or running a dispensary at the community level. In all our conversations we made them understand the entire process that we intent to follow in this project and that they have to participate and take lead in prioritizing their needs through a systematic needs assessment, planning linkage building with social development programme (welfare in government parlance). We also mention that the eligible among them can benefit from our vocational skill development centre as many of them already knew.

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Youth generally share that most of the time they do not get the basic support and guidance from their family and community. Despite having received some middle to college level formal education, the youth felt inadequate in terms of employability and also shared that they have limited world view of the emerging opportunities that youth from other part of the city, state and the country are able to access.

pic2Reach India conducts remedial coaching classes to the economically backward youth in their respective resource areas. Supported by the Trust some youth boys and girls started remedial coaching classes, who arranged community based teachers to the students of different standards. These teachers have better understanding about the community so they can guide the students in the best possible way. One such remedial class is ongoing in Mahavirtala slum area. These coaching classes will help the students in community development process. Slowly, through the teaching-learning process these youth will come up as social change agent and will get engaged in other social issues and take initiative to resolve. Our volunteers time to time visit the community field to make sure that our objective is running smoothly and productively.

pic3Youth are also engaged in sports activities. This will encourage the youth to participate in social issues. Apart from this, youth are dedicated as well to organize, celebrate and spread awareness on important days like National Girl Day, International Women’s Day, World TB Day, National Youth Day, etc. Besides, various workshops are organized and coordinated by the youth which will be the part of action plan.

rabi

Mr. Rabisankar Samanta (Ravi), S/o Mrs. Rekha and Mr. Tarun Samanta is a 23 years old boy residing in Mohabirtala community. His father is a daily labour and earns a very meager amount for their family. Instead of their poverty and misery, his parents have given much emphasis on their studies. After completion of his 12th standard, Ravi joined graduation but he left his study. On enquiring he said the community environment was not supportive and at that time due to certain de-motivating factors he left the studies. Later on, he again joined his graduation in distance learning mode and presently he is pursuing.

From the beginning of our team’s interaction with the community, he remains with us as an interacting medium for the community. He helped us in organizing community meeting, conducting survey and FGDs, organizing workshops and training programs. He is playing a catalytic role within the community. The most motivating part of his character is his behavior. His behavior is so pleasant and convincing that community people are also fond of Ravi. The entire community loves and believes Ravi so much and he is also playing a very crucial role as a leader for other younger kids. His dream is to remain attached to social and development activities and want to eradicate all evils from the society where he resides.

sahoo

Ms. Mou Sahoo (MOU), daughter of Mrs. Jagadhatri Sahoo and Mr. Subhas Sahoo is a 19 years old girl from Mohabirtala slum community. Her father is a govt. employee in conservation department. She is also an active member in her community. She is pursuing her graduation and also trying to build her carrier. She has already completed an advance course in beautician. She take participation in all type to community activities such like Puja, sports and other community initiatives. In one way she is just leading the girls forum within the community.

Her dream is to be a lead the community ahead and for that she is dare to face any constraints.

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