Barasat is a town in the outskirts of Kolkata that serves as an important roadway and railway junction of the city. The area is home to the cotton weaving industry, and is an important trade centre for legumes, sugarcane, potatoes, coconuts, and rice.
Due to migration, the area now has a crowded metropolitan area on one side and riverside villages/slums on the other. The four slums altogether have a population of 6 lakh, of which 80,000 constitute the youth. Most of these youth work in small enterprises, retail businesses and small manufacturing units in the nearby areas. The aim of this project is to create better employment opportunities for the youth through a skill training course developed in tandem with market requirements.
A better hold on spoken English and computer application helps the students land a significant position in fast emerging sectors like retail, hospitality and BPOs. The course also helps beneficiaries with lifestyle skills and personality development to further help them adapt to the corporate work culture. For a hands-on experience of the industry, activities like exposure visits and alumni meets are also organized during the course. Placements are held towards the end of the training session.
Smile Foundation is working in association with Holy Mission for Children’s Welfare & Rural Development (HMCWRD) to implement the STeP project.