Sulabh International offers vocational training to widows

Over 30 women of the Deoli-Bhanigram gram sabha, who lost their breadwinners in flash floods that devastated Uttarakhand this June, have found a saviour in NGO Sulabh International. For, the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation has started giving vocational training to widows and unemployed youth to enable them find some jobs.

A cluster of six hamlets, the Deoli-Bhanigram gram sabha has a population of more than 2,000.

The village, around 50 km from Kedarnath, is located in Ukhimath tehsil of Rudraprayag district.

Six months of religious tourism in Kedarnath is the only source of income for the locals.

When the Sulabh International Social Service Organisation adopted the gram sabha under the Sulabh Help Programme in August, it promised to give villagers vocational training.

However, the initiative got delayed. On Sunday, the organisation started a programme to train the villagers in candle-making, sewing and in basic computers.

Bindeshwar Pathak, founder of Sulabh International, said, “We had earlier told the villagers that we would impart them some basic training so that they could earn their living. We have deployed two teachers to provide training. We have arranged 12 computers and 25 sewing machines for the villagers.”

Rameshwari Devi, gram pradhan of Deoli-Bhanigram, said Sulabh International’s decision would enable villagers to earn income. “This gives us a ray of hope and all the villagers have volunteered to receive the training.”

Mr. Pathak said the organisation would make this a ‘model village’.

In another six months, the gram sabha would have centres to train the villagers in embroidery and carpet weaving, in addition to sewing, candle-making and computer education. The organisation would also arrange for marketing the products made in the centres.

The NGO is paying Rs. 2,000 a month to widows and unemployed youth; children are being paid Rs 1,000. A total of 155 people from around 40 families have benefited from this measure, which will extend to a period of five years. Mr. Pathak said, “We have now adopted 300 more families in the gram sabha and we will give each family Rs. 1,000 every month.”