There are many young people leaving college and university in India with good academic qualifications but, because they have no other skills, they have great difficulty in getting a job and may face the prospect of undertaking unskilled work – if it can be found – such as labouring or becoming a porter. Such jobs are poorly paid and can be injurious to health. For girls, especially, there are few opportunities.
The Trust is helping a number of young people to acquire vocational skills, which hopefully will allow them to avoid this situation in the future. We sponsor young adults through vocational training courses in hospitality, beauty and nursing so that they are in the best possible position to find gainful employment upon graduation.
Concentrating first on the young people in the girls’ and boys’ homes, the project started in March 2010 and, as well as young people currently in training, we are now pleased to have a growing number of ‘graduates’ who are earning a living and supporting their families in careers which they could never have accessed without the help of our supporters.
We have sponsored a number of young men and woman to undertake training in the hospitality industry. They complete an 18-month course in Hotel Management, and then undergo 6 months of practical training in hotels around Darjeeling, or even further afield. The training is delivered by the Food Craft Institute in Darjeeling, with whom we have established a strong partnership.
To date, a total of 26 young people have been supported by the Trust to undertake the government-approved hotel management course at Darjeeling’s Food & Craft Institute. All of the students came from families who could not support them financially to do the course and, when they were accepted by DCT, all had fairly low expectations with limited hopes for the future. It is heartening to see them win good employment in hotels in Darjeeling, elsewhere in India or even further afield.
The latest group of six young people (five young men and one young woman) joined the FCI course in mid July 2022 and will remain at college until mid 2023, after which they will do their practical training in hotel placements arranged by their tutor.
Since 2010, we have sponsored a number of young women to undertake nursing training, the first of whom trained successfully as nursing assistants at a local nursing home. Alka Rai and her sister, who both formerly lived at KBM girls’ home, found employment at a hospital in Gyaganga, and another young woman undertook a Diploma in Laboratory and Microbiology, followed by further training in a pathology laboratory, to qualify as a Laboratory Technician. Currently, there are four nursing students participating in GNM (General Nursing and Midwifery) training at schools in Darjeeling and Siliguri.
Each year, six young women are funded by DCT to embark on the local beauty training course. These students have decided that pursuing an academic route would not play to their strengths, and therefore doing this type of practical course is perfectly suited to them. Many of our former beauty trainees have found employment in their villages and cities; opportunities which would not have been available to them without the doors opened by these training courses.