240 youth of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti complete vocational training courses
The Agha Khan Trust for culture in partnership with Housing and Urban Development Corporation conceptualised and conducted three to nine-month-long vocational training courses for 240 youngsters and women of the Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. The courses concluded with a certificate distribution ceremony at a Municipal Corporation of Delhi school here on Thursday.
Before presenting certificates, former HUDCO executive director R. K. Safaya said the need of the hour was to set up curio shops outside the protected area of monuments maintained by the Archaeological Survey of India. “We should market souvenirs and handicrafts produced by men and women of Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti. This would resuscitate the dying arts of the area and encourage residents to come up with a range of traditional products for domestic and foreign tourists.”
Noting that the residents have a hunger for learning, AKTC project director Ratish Nanda said their patience and perseverance has stood them in good stead. “Following a needs and capability assessment study, we developed 12 training programmes. Initially we had vacancies for 200 women and youngsters but 240 applied. We implemented and jointly financed the programme along with HUDCO. Our partnership with HUDCO has been critical in benefiting a significant number of people, especially youth and women, who despite living in the heart of the Capital have been unable to access urban services.”
It was a pleasant surprise for NIIT Foundation implementation head Sapna Moudgil to learn that students who did computer courses from her not-for-profit organisation received certificates. “The purpose of starting this course was to increase chances of youngsters to get jobs. They have talent and are capable of going up in life. They are competent enough to knock the doors of multi-national companies. Initially they may land up with a job of Rs.5,000 but five years down the line their salaries would gallop up to Rs.25,000. From a junior employee they can become managers and call the shots.”
The course improved spoken and written English of students and most importantly changed their mindset. “We told them not to lose heart even during adverse circumstances.”
After receiving his certificate, a beaming Mohammad Umer, who did computer reservation system course, said his life had changed for good. “I have been living in Nizamuddin Basti. My family migrated from Moradabad to Delhi after my maternal grandfather, who was working as a cook for the British, persuaded my paternal grandfather that Delhi had more livelihood opportunities.”
Three years ago, this 24-year-old wanted to pursue this computer course but did not get admission. “Thankfully, the course by the AKTC has come as a beacon of hope for youngsters like me who are keen to join the mainstream of society. After the course concluded in April, I have been working for Irfan Travel Agency and contributing to family income. In this course, I aggregated 85% and undoubtedly my father, who works as a contractor, was thrilled and completely taken by surprise,” said this B.A. Political Science (Honours) graduate.
Gulshan, who did a tailoring course, said she could now earn her livelihood from home. “Initially, I had an apprehension as what the course was all about. But after learning tricks of the trade I am in a better position to find work. A couple of non-government organisations have offered me work.
Mohammad Arif had never dreamt in his wildest dreams that one day he would design tiles of the Mughal era which would be used in Humayun’s Tomb. “If I say I am thrilled then it would be an understatement. It still has not sunk in,” he said with a broad smile.
The programme was inaugurated by Union Housing & Poverty Alleviation Minister Kumari Selja in 2011.