“Youth is the best time. The way in which you utilize this period will decide the nature of coming years that lie ahead of you.”- Swami Vivekananda
National Youth Day 2021 is celebrated every year on 12th January to honor the teachings and ideals of Swami Vivekananda. Vivekananda was vocal about the importance of education and empowerment of youth of a nation as an important part in the process of nation-building. Smile Foundation through its Smile Twin e-Learning programme for youth aims at creating a pool of young and independent people, from the underprivileged section, through skill enhancement in tandem with market requirements. It is an effort to bridge the gap between demand and supply of skilled manpower in the fast emerging services and technology sectors of modern India.
– Kalyani (STeP trainee) says,
“I think real strength is that which helps you take tough decisions and follow through. Such is the story of Kiran Bedi. She is a true inspiration for me, not just because she is strong, but because she became a strong woman despite facing so many struggles and restraints.
After passing out from high school, I did not have the option to continue higher studies. I had to let go of my dream of becoming an IPS officer. Coming from a poor family is one of the biggest restraints, especially for a woman. So, I decided that if I had no choice but to contribute to the household, I will do my best. I also wanted to acquire as many skills, save up and continue my studies. I enrolled myself into the Smile Twin e-Learning Programme and started the skill training course immediately. There was no looking back from then on. After a few months of progress, my teachers told me they were truly happy with my hard work and dedication. They were sure of my success and an opportunity for a job placement.
I work hard to be able to help my family financially. As soon as I land a job, I’m going to start planning for further studies. Today on National Youth Day I have promised myself I won’t let the world tell me I should stop dreaming because I am a woman. It’s a long road, but I am not afraid to take this journey anymore.”
To meet the market demands and to continue providing opportunities to the youth during the Covid-19 lockdown the first batch of Smile Twin e-Learning Programme of capacity-building sessions for the healthcare sector was started.
The programme is relentlessly working towards creating livelihood opportunities in the rising health sector, where young students are provided with training sessions to be employed as General Duty Assistants & are also trained on other core employability skills. More than 1500 students are currently being trained through 40 centers in Delhi NCR, Bangalore, Chennai and Pune.
-Vazida Begum (Step trainee) says,
“I belong to a poor family. My father is a rickshaw puller and my mother makes beads to sell. When the pandemic stuck both of them lost their livelihoods. In the initial few days we survived with whatever savings we had but we had to something more, something concrete for the future. My sisters and I decided to enroll for the Smile Twin-e Learning programme of Smile Foundation to train as General Duty Assistants.
At a time when people were scared to go out of their homes we went out to get trained to serve our society. We had to face a lot of discrimination but we did not give up. Now I work as a Nursing Assistant at a hospital in Bengaluru taking care of patients and my sisters are following my footsteps and are undergoing training to become GDAs. Our parents are very proud of us.”
Smile Foundation’s STeP programme is aligned to the objective of gainful employment for the youth. It is working towards building a digitally skilled workforce from less privileged youth that is prepared to face the new world thrown open by the pandemic. More than 50,000 young women and men have been trained so far through Smile Foundation’s STeP centres across India.
To know more about the STeP programme visit https://www.smilefoundationindia.org/e_learning.html