whatsapp icon

In the quaint village of Punuguntapalem, nestled in the coastal region of Nellore district of Andhra Pradesh, live three young entrepreneurs’ Laxmiprsanna, Susmitha, and Varalaxmi. Like many others in the village, they were tethered to a life of agricultural labour in the absence of land ownership. Their aspirations were stifled by limited educational opportunities and societal constraints, thus, confining them to seasonal work and idle days at home.

The trio faced myriad challenges, from lack of education to scarce livelihood opportunities in their vicinity. Despite their eagerness to explore alternative avenues, the dearth of information and societal norms impeded their progress.

“We felt trapped in a cycle of seasonal work, with little scope for personal or professional growth,” said Laxmiprasanna.

Bal Raksha Bharat-supported SMARTPUR project is being implemented in the coastal region of Nellore where most of the beneficiaries are from vulnerable social and economic groups. Most of the community  members depend on fishing and agricultural works. Women from these communities do not generally go out for work and pursuing livelihood opportunities and that’s why organizing livelihood trainings outside of the village is not always possible.

Through the SMARTPUR intervention of NOKIA and Bal Raksha Bharat, under the livelihood pillar, concerted efforts were made to identify and support beneficiaries such as Laxmiprsanna, Susmitha, and Varalaxmi. Community engagement, skill mapping and collaboration with institutions like Rural Self Employment Training Institutes (RSETI) paved the way for transformative opportunities. One of the important uphill tasks was to convince the parents of these young girls to allow them to go for trainings. Socio-cultural norms restrained them to allow their girls to undertake trainings, that too the residential ones.

“Initially, it was daunting to convince our families, but the prospect of skill development in Nellore sparked hope”, as mentioned by Varalaxmi

Post approval from their respective families, the 35-day training in tailoring and embroidery at RSETI proved to be a turning point. Armed with newfound skills, the trio returned to their village with a renewed sense of purpose and entrepreneurial spirit and start a small-scale business. Their initiative not only boosted household incomes but also instilled confidence and pride within their families.

An excited Sushmitha mentions, “The training not only empowered us economically but also emotionally. We feel valued and capable of charting our own paths.”

Inspired by their journey, Laxmiprsanna, Susmitha and Varalaxmi aspire to take it forward by creating more opportunities for young women in their community. “I want to see more girls like us breaking barriers and pursuing their dreams,” affirms Varalaxmi.

Laxmiprsanna, Susmitha, and Varalaxmi’s journey underscores the transformative power of skill development in empowering rural women. Through strategic interventions and unwavering determination, they have not only secured sustainable livelihoods but also have become become agents of change within their community.

As Laxmiprsanna aptly summarizes, “Our journey is a testament to the fact that with the right support and opportunities, rural women can script their own success stories.”

The Skill India Mission, recognized by the Government of India was launched with the aim of empowering the Indian workforce with the necessary skills to make them employable and self-reliant. The mission had the objective of creating a pool of skilled workers who could contribute to the economic growth of the country. Since its launch, the Skill India Mission focuses on the skill development of youth, industry relevant curriculum and job placement assistance with special emphasis on youth entrepreneurship. It is a hugely popular scheme among youth across India.

Bal Raksha Bharat, with support from NOKIA, through its SMARTPUR initiative is contributing to the Government’s mission to build a skilled nation by empowering youth and enabling their movement towards attaining financial independence by breaking the shackles of poverty.

Related Posts

  • Ensuring Learning Continuity- Tanushree’s Journey from Migration to Education Read More
  • Taking Charge to Ensure Behaviour Change – A Step to Good Health Read More