in various vocational skills
and 258 SHGs formed
and 1300 reformed militants trained
Unemployment is both a demand side as well as a supply side problem. On the demand side the number of jobs created in the economy is too small whereas on the supply side our youth lack appropriate skills and capabilities required for a high-skills economy. India has the largest youth population in the world today. By bringing economic empowerment and social transformation through skill building initiatives, The Art of Living touches the core of India’s future.
The Art of Living is committed to build skill development centers for youth and women across the country and to provide them training opportunities to become self-reliant. These skill training centers reach out to vulnerable communities in rural, urban and semi-urban areas. Overcoming challenges, our skills training centers have provided trainings to more than 5000 women and youth so far in the field of electrical, computer and mobile repair, tailoring, manufacturing handloom; and crafts and jute products. In addition, over 20 lakh farmers have been trained in natural farming methods.
Estimates suggest that roughly 22 million dropout after class VIII. Current Vocational Training institutes can only cater to 2.3 million such youth. This leaves a daunting 20 million youth who require some form of skills up gradation to meaningfully build up their lives.
With our projects over the last three decades in making the underprivileged youth and women employable, we have understood that this is an ecosystem problem and the solutions have to be addressed holistically. An entire ecosystem consisting of communities, trainers, training facilities, and industries to absorb the trained people or self-employment opportunities has to exist before any program of skill development and vocational skills can be successful. Building this ecosystem requires a collaboration of the government, industries and agencies and it is not at all easy for a single entity to undertake this task.
One of the most difficult steps in the value creation process is the limited options available for the program participants to find gainful opportunities post their graduation. Most of the skills that are taught are aimed at creating entrepreneurs because these communities are in remote areas far from the industry. For starting their own ventures, the graduates require access to sources of credit to meet operational expenses and to cover consumption needs during the initial period of their business. Getting access to funding from the local banks, co-operatives and agencies is very difficult because of complicated rules and processes and is a huge challenge for success of these skill building projects.
The Art of Living tries to mitigate this problem by sourcing seed funding to these entrepreneurs to set up their business and also by buying their finished goods. This partnership model creates economic opportunities for the graduates and creates economies of scale for The Art of Living because these cost efficient finished goods can be used in many other social development projects run by The Art of Living.
Our strategy for vocational and skill building initiatives is built on the following four pillars:
Setting up modular vocational training centers targeted towards deserving youth from rural, urban and semi-urban communities leading to employment and income generating opportunities
Empowering women from socially and economically backward sections and helping them augment their family income by providing meaningful skills trainings and access to markets for their goods and produce
Developing rural enterprise by creating rural entrepreneurs with ecofriendly and sustainable technologies that provide clean drinking water, energy access, smokeless cooking stoves, agri-farm support
Creating empowered leaders through our leadership training programs to ensure sustainability and commitment
The results of our efforts to create and enhance the employability of youth and women via skill building initiatives have been impressive. So far:
Over 5000 youth have been trained in various vocational skills helping them to start income generation activities
More than 5000 women have been trained and 623 Self Help Groups (SHGs) have been formed to provide economic empowerment to these women
Around 1800 prisoners and 1300 reformed militants have been provided with vocation skills training helping them to join the mainstream again
We believe our efforts are just a drop in the ocean of the opportunity that exists to solve the unemployment problem in India. Please reach out to us to know more about our projects in the vocation and skill building sector and how we can partner to bring change.
Our initiatives for women from Karnataka have been running since 1990 and many women have found gainful employment through our initiatives like Sri Kriti, VISTA and Vishalakshi Women Empowerment Program.