A brighter future for children and young people in Darjeeling

VOCATIONAL TRAINING

In Darjeeling, as in many places in India, the transition from college or university to the workforce poses a significant challenge for many young people. Despite having solid academic qualifications, a lack of additional skills often hampers their ability to secure employment. This predicament often pushes recent graduates into the realm of unskilled work, such as labouring or becoming a porter; jobs that are not only poorly paid but also pose health risks. For young women, especially, opportunities are scarce.

Recognising this issue, the Trust has undertaken an important role in enabling young individuals to acquire vital vocational skills, aiming to break this cycle of limited opportunities. By sponsoring young adults through vocational training courses in hospitality, beauty and nursing, the Trust seeks to equip them for gainful employment upon graduation, offering a pathway to a more promising future.

Our vocational training project, which began in March 2010, initially focused on young people in the girls’ and boys’ homes. We are now delighted to have a wider cohort of young people currently in training, as well as a growing number of ‘graduates’ who have successfully transitioned into careers that sustain them and support their families. These achievements would not have been possible without the invaluable support of our generous supporters, and the collective effort we have made to empower the younger generation.

The Trust’s commitment to providing vocational skills is not just a means of avoiding immediate challenges but a project that opens doors to sustainable livelihoods and brighter prospects for the youth in Darjeeling.


Hospitality Training

At Darjeeling Children’s Trust, we empower young people to succeed in the ever-growing hospitality industry. Our ongoing initiative sponsors several aspiring young men and women at a time, providing them with a government-approved 18-month course in Hotel Management, followed by a 6-month practical training stint in hotels both within Darjeeling and beyond. This training is made possible through our established partnership with the Food Craft Institute (FCI) in Darjeeling.

Since the programme’s inception, the Trust has supported a total of 31 young people to undertake this training. All of the students came from families who faced financial constraints, and were not able to afford the course fees. Before being accepted by DCT, the students had low expectations for the future. It is truly heartening to witness their transformative journeys, as they not only complete the course but also secure promising employment opportunities in hotels within Darjeeling, across India, and even internationally.

Our most recent cohort, comprising six young people, embarked on their FCI course in mid-July 2023. Their academic journey is set to extend until mid-2024, and will be followed by a practical training phase in hotel placements arranged by their course tutor. We look forward to seeing where their training takes them.


Nursing Training

Since 2010, we’ve been proud to support several young women in pursuing nursing training. The journey started with Alka Rai and her sister, former residents of KBM girls’ home, who successfully trained as nursing assistants at a local nursing home and found employment at a hospital in Gyaganga.

Expanding our impact, another young woman pursued a Diploma in Laboratory and Microbiology, followed by additional training in a pathology laboratory, achieving qualification as a Laboratory Technician.

Currently, our ongoing efforts include four young women enrolled in GNM (General Nursing and Midwifery) training at schools in Darjeeling and Siliguri. This initiative reflects a decade of support, aiming to empower women in the healthcare sector and contribute positively to their lives and communities.


Beauty Training

Every year, Darjeeling Children’s Trust sponsors six young women to enrol on the local beauty training course. These students have consciously chosen a practical course over an academic path, recognising that it aligns better with their strengths. For many of our former beauty trainees, this decision has proven invaluable, as they have gone on to secure employment in their villages and cities—opportunities that might not have been accessible without the doors opened by these training courses.

This yearly commitment reflects DCT’s dedication to providing alternative avenues for young women, enabling them to build skills and create meaningful opportunities for themselves in the beauty industry.


 

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