Chennai

At this Chennai NGO, the goal is empowering women through job skills

The association offers courses that women who have studied up to class 8 or more can pursue   | Photo Credit: The Hindu

The premises of ANEW (Association for Non-traditional Employment for Women) are buzzing with activity on Saturday, as women training to be nurses are engaged in an intense discussion with their mentor, while another set of young women are readying to begin a computer class.

From 1997, this city based non-governmental organisation has trained and empowered hundreds of women from underprivileged backgrounds in a range of skills which facilitates their employment. “Our alumni range from ambulance drivers, forklift operators, school van drivers, IT workers to nurses and even a cemetery manager,” said Vinodini Sudhindran, a committee member of the association.

“We start by campaigning around the city telling young women that they can enrol in our skill training programmes free of cost. Our only criteria is that they should have studied in a government school or college,” Ms. Vinodini said. The association offers courses that women who have studied up to class 8 or more can pursue. These are either full-time or, in the case some students who are attending college, the courses are taken up after classes.

“We offer a range of courses through tie-ups with various organisations which specialize in them and give our students certifications. Some of our students enrol in these courses during their third year of college, as we have the option of offering evening classes which they can take up,” said Anu Chandran, another committee member.

The 23-year-old association has over 800 students enrolling in the courses offered every year and nearly 80 to 85% of the students get placed, she said.

K. Kanchana, a single mother who took the driving course in 2015, is now working with an IT firm as a cab driver. “I have done a whole range of jobs to support my family but after I learnt how to drive, there is a stable income,” she said.

At their building in Anna Nagar, ANEW has labs for computer classes, spoken English classes and even a car which students who take driving lessons can use to practice with. All the students have to take up compulsory self-defence classes as well once every week.

With the academic year coming to an end as well, the volunteers at ANEW are keen that young women from underprivileged backgrounds have the option to become skilled and employable even if they continue studying. “There is still some level of resistance from families of the women who join our courses or even want to take up a job after it. We get our alumni to speak to them about how important it is that their daughters or sisters can be financially empowered and support the family,” Ms Vinodini explained.

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Printable version | Oct 1, 2020 9:12:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/at-this-chennai-ngo-the-goal-is-empowering-women-through-job-skills/article31007840.ece

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