Last week we inaugurated our second slum-based learning center. We are calling these NIIT Yuva Star Career Development Centers. Another 18 are in the process -- by Sep 09 - all will be operational.
The centers are focusing on providing key employability skills in a short time frame to the employable youth inside jhuggi jhonpri and settlement colonies.
Why slum youth?
In the last two decades urban slum population in India has more than doubled. Rural people move to urban centers in the hope of better livelihood. However, lacking the necessary skills required for employment in the fast growing industrial and knowledge society, most of these people continue to live in abject poverty. And even though the living conditions are worse than their village life, they continue to stay on in the cities with hope and are just not able to go back to villages. They and their children see the wealth and opulence just next door causing helplessness with an increasing feeling of deprivation. Under these circumstances, it is no wonder that a high percentage of them are susceptible to exploitation and crime. The life of misery continues from one generation to the next.
These centers, that we are setting up, are focusing on providing the same quality of training as any other city NIIT center. The key difference is that the slum youth get this training at a fraction of the regular center fee. The other key aspect is ensuring corporates come to the center and recruit from the trained youth.
The challenge is sustaining and scaling.
Check out www.niitaffirmativeaction.com for more on this initiative.