The vocational services team of RC Baroda Metro (2021–22) conducted a training programme for 28 adolescent girls who had dropped out before Class 10, or could not study beyond Class 10 for family reasons, to give them skills for employment, self-employment and also become efficient homemakers. Going by the National Family Health Survey of GoI conducted in 2019–21, the club found that out of every 100 girls who started education in Class 1 in Gujarat, only 45 reached Class 12. The various reasons were workload at home, distance between home and school and lack of water and toilet facilities.
While carrying out some community outreach programmes in Dajipura village near Vadodara, the need for such a training programme for girls was found by club members Sharmishtha Desai and Maneesha Shukul, both doctors. Chatting with a few adolescent girls they found they wished to study further. The principal of the secondary school in the village also expressed a deep concern regarding these girls’ inability to pursue further studies due to lack of high school facilities. She was willing to extend help to give some skills to the girls through a training programme to be conducted by the Rotarians.
So both Sharmistha and Maneesha prepared a short-term training programme module for enhancing household and vocational skills of these girls, the club’s board found suitable funding, and the programme was launched in February keeping in mind this year’s RI theme Serve to change lives.
“We have worked with the confidence that the training and empowerment of these adolescent girls will influence not only the present but also the future of the country,” said Dr Sharmishtha, one of the project coordinators.
The other coordinator, Dr Maneesha said that the project was titled Indushree-kushal grihini (efficient homemaker) and was a six-day certificate course. The programme was conducted at the Dajipur school, near Vadodara. Inaugurated by RC Baroda Metro president Vrajesh Jindal, the faculty comprised professors from the Home Science department of The Maharaja Sayajirao University of Vadodara and other experts from different fields, as well as some Rotarians.
The topics covered in the course included nutritious food, event management, salad-making and vegetable carving, personal sanitation and hygiene, pregnancy and neonatal care, caring for children and elderly members of the family, housekeeping, personality development, communication, consumer education, management of resources, home decoration, and getting the ‘best out of waste’. The 28 girls who attended and completed the programme were given notebooks, stationery, etc. As part of their ‘home work’ they were asked to make a budget for their family, put in groups and given event management assignments like organising a birthday party. “They were very enthusiastic; they were guided to make a shoe rack from old cardboard cartons which they covered with old newspapers. These were later used in their school. They learned to make paper bags which could be made for commercial purposes. An oral test was also taken at the end of the course. Their enthusiasm and confidence were visible by the end of the course,” said Dr Sharmistha.
We have worked with the confidence that the training and empowerment of these adolescent girls will influence not only the present but also the future of the country.
– Dr Sharmishtha Desai, Project Coordinator
RID 3060 DG Santosh Pradhan and his wife Sunetra, PRID Manoj Desai, club president Jindal, secretary Sandeep Grover and other club members attended the valedictory session.
Dr Maneesha said that the feedback from the participants “was very heartening. They said they had learnt so many new things and were grateful to our club’s Rotarians for helping them in this way. They were keen to participate in the next level programme of our club.”
Dr Sharmistha added that as the club members came into contact with the school’s authorities for doing this project, “we realised that the school needed many facilities and equipment for the students. Our president has announced a donation of ₹12,000 to the school for repairing its electricity network. Apart from electrical fittings, he also donated cupboards and tables for the classrooms.”