New Skills Equals New Hope for Women
Rama, age 30, came to a Good Shepherd vocational training center in a tough situation. As a young child, she suffered an illness that left her with motor difficulties. With three young children and a husband who works for daily wages, her family’s living conditions were poor. It was a challenge to put enough food on the table for two meals each day.
But Rama persevered.
Getting to her vocational classes was difficult, but her family took extra steps to make sure Rama attended the stitching and embroidery classes offered at the center. To Rama and her family’s delight, she discovered she was very good at fine needlework. Her self esteem soared!
Rama, along with 41 other women, recently graduated with certificates in tailoring and embroidery. Now they have a marketable skill that can help their families earn enough income to provide for their families.
“I am so grateful to Good Shepherd for this chance to make a better life. Thank you! My life is richer because of this vocational center, and I’m excited about my family’s future now,” Rama said.
The director of this center tells us that Dalit women and girls remain trapped in a cycle of poverty because of a lack of education and skill building opportunities. Many young girls are pulled out of school to take over household responsibilities and never develop the required skills to enter the job market with confidence.
This is why community based vocational training is such a powerful tool. By making the destitute financially self-reliant, it breaks the cycle of poverty, breeds confidence, self-respect and turns marginalized youth into productive and responsible citizens. Teaching women a marketable skill is possibly the single most effective program for the empowerment of women, and it enables them to chart their own destinies.
The director said, “When a girl from the slums or village walks back home with the ability to attain a better socio-economic life, it does more to improve the perception of the girl child among her neighbors than a hundred lectures and a million pamphlets.”
Thanks to generous supporters of women through Dalit Freedom Network, Rama and hundreds of other women can be proud of their hard work, their new skills, and can move through their lives with new hope.