Joining our Beauty & Wellness course was just the first step for Pooja. She meant business. “Everyone is moving ahead in life. Why should my family be left behind?”
The enterprising young girl completed a course in Beauty and Wellness (sponsored by IYF) with flying colours and began offering her services within her community at competitive rates. But she wasn’t done. Pooja meant to grow as much as she could. Her determination won her a place in our entrepreneurship incubator where she was mentored by MBA students.
With the help of her mentors, she developed an impressive business plan and presented it to the judges at Dolphin Tanki – a platform built for nurturing entrepreneurship amongst adolescents living in urban slums.
At the presentation, Pooja continued to prove that her interests went far beyond beauty. She won over the judges with her answers and displayed a clear aptitude for business.
Her pitch earned her the funding support she needed to open her ‘Parlour-at-Home’ business. Pooja’s future has never looked better.
The spark was lit at a young age. While Rohit dreamt of becoming a cop, his mind was filled with the robots he saw in cartoons. As much as he loved them, they were as real to him as unicorns and superheroes. It wasn’t until the 9th grade he saw the stuff of his imagination turn into reality.
While ‘Robotics,’ is still largely inaccessible to underprivileged children in India, IYF’s skills@school brought the programme to Rohit’s school, and a new dream was born. Despite not having access to the equipment and technology before, he began to display a proficiency that can only be born out of true love for the field. The programme also encouraged him to develop his critical thinking and problem-solving skills.
Soon, he and a few of his classmates found themselves in an international robotics competitions culminating in the First Global Challenge, popularly referred to as ‘The Olympics of the Robotics World,’ which saw the participation of over 80 countries. The team won the Sophia Kovalevskaya Award for their journey, but their joy surpassed everyone else’s.
Rohit still beams at the memory. And does he still want to be a cop? “Yes!” he answers emphatically. But I want to do something with technology. Maybe I’ll join cyber security.”
When fifteen-year-old Komal’s sister recently got married, her parents became burdened with a large debt because of the loans for the wedding and the dowry.
Komal lives with her family of six people in a space not bigger than a typical bathroom in the US. Every day at dawn she carries water from the pump before making breakfast and lunch. She attends school from 7:30 am to 12:30 pm and then joins India Youth Fund’s Appliance Repair class where she is the only girl.
In her small, overcrowded home, the only light available had been broken for a long time. With her new skills, Komal repaired the fluorescent fixture and brought light into the home at night. She can now study for competitive exams to proceed to the tenth grade and dreams of attending college.
Komal says that the best thing about her job skills course is that she could show her father that girls are as capable as boys. She is proud of the fact that she mastered a skill traditionally reserved for males and showed her parents that she can accomplish anything she desires. She feels that her greatest achievement is changing her father’s views about girls. Girls are not burdens but assets.
Afsar lives in a graveyard. His father tends the graves by day and the five-member family sleeps in a tin shack on the premises with no concrete walls, floor, or roof. Afsar often arrived at school hungry and unkempt.
Filled with shame about where he lived, he had no friends. Soon, Afsar fell into petty theft to help his family make ends meet.
All this changed when he enrolled in the India Youth Fund Cricket Academy. Today Afsar wakes up with a sense of purpose. He has found his calling in the game and it has become more than just a sport to him. The cricket ground was where Afsar had his first real conversation – with his coach. It is where he found himself. Afsar, the petty thief, became Afsar, the athlete.
The sport taught Afsar the value of a healthy lifestyle. Not only did he make friends, he learned discipline. Afsar has just finished the tenth grade and plans to go to college.
Aware that his parents can’t afford it, he is saving up for college with a position as an assistant coach in a local cricket club. His grit and determination have earned him respect and admiration. Afsar stands tall among his peers.