A step towards financial independence for young girls in rural Gujarat- Beauty Assistant Course

A step towards financial independence for young girls in rural Gujarat- Beauty Assistant Course

Approximately 48% of the total population in Umraya (a village in Vadodara district of Gujarat) are females with the 66.97% literacy rate. The village has two Government schools (primary and middle) till 8th standard. Those who wish to pursue studies after 8th go to either Ekalbara or Dabhasa (~3 to 10 km away). Not all and mostly girls are unable to continue their education after 8th due to various reasons such are availability of reliable transport, safety, affordability etc. Additionally, most of the parents are not interested or concerned about girl child’s education and prefer to marry them of as soon as they attain the legal age.

During the consultations in various phases of interaction and during faliya meetings, young women shared that while their families do not promote further education but don’t mind them having an opportunity to earn within the village or nearby areas. Many young women who are educated and are willing to work are not aware about avenues available which could provide employment opportunities within the village. It was observed that there is a significant gap between the aspiration, skills and competences for the employability among women.

Through the Huntsman CSR interventions we had envisaged to bridge the skilling gap, increase opportunities and enhance employability for village youth. Several options were discussed with the target group during the meetings and courses on nursing, beautician, computer education, spoken English, personality development were discussed. Information was shared during focus groups in each of the faliya is the village. Owing to a higher demand by girls to learn beauty services, a training program was initiated.

An intensive screening process was conducted, based on criteria such as minimum age be 18 years and above, dropped out from the school/college, current resident, seriousness and readiness to face exam, inclination to work etc.

Picture 1: Information sharing, counselling and form filling for the Assistant Beauty Therapist Training Course

Dev Foundation, Vadodara was chosen as a training partner for imparting NSDC approved training of assistant beauty therapist. The process of onboarding candidates to the course was done in a systematic way by organising meetings with potential candidates for further screening, understand their expectation and willingness to devote the requisite time. During the discussion some of the candidates shared their expectation to learn applying Mehendi and bridal makeup. Consequently, these new topics were also included in the course curriculum.

26 girls undertook the course. Majority of the trainees were unmarried girls- youngest trainee being 18 years old & eldest was 28 years old, lowest education being 8th standard whereas graduation being the highest. Total course duration was 290 hours that included 50 hours of theory, 250 hours of practical sessions and 40 hours for employability & entrepreneurship segment.

Dev Foundation deployed a well-trained, experienced trainer to impart the training. The tenure of the training course was very important for the trainees to acquire skills as well to understand their capacity and preparedness to take up occupation for income generation. The training period was very eventful and interesting for all the trainees and organizations associated with.

Pictures 2 & 3: Eyebrow training & practice; Yellow Day celebration at the center

We conducted regular feedback sessions individually or in groups to understand quality of training, availability of required equipment or material for practice and about issues they are facing, if any. Regular interaction was done with the trainer to understand the capabilities, behaviour, receptivity and inter-personal skills of the trainees & other house-keeping issues.

Girls are always sensitive towards the beauty but perception and knowledge differs from person to person. The training includes scientific and practical information on skin and body care. Many of the girls came to know about the skin and body care for the first time.

Pictures 4 & 5: Facial and bridal make up training during the course

All the girls started working during the training period itself, within the family, neighborhood and several even serving to the customer from the village and nearby. The maximum earning by a trainee is INR 13,790 and all the girls had served 2 to 30 customers each during the training itself.

Shabanabanu Hashusha Diwan, one of the trainees had received similar training before but was not practicing, as she did not feel confident enough to start working professionally. We facilitated her to apply for the Garib Kayan Scheme and she was then sanctioned the kit for beauty parlour under the same. She earned INR 6,500 just from two orders. She expressed that she wishes to start her own parlour in the village and is open to join hands with her trained friends from the class. Likewise, others are also highly enthusiastic for the future. 9 of them are ready to open their own parlour and others want to work in bigger parlours in Padra and Vadodara.

For the girls, the course was also a means towards their financial & social inependence. It helped to increase their mobility outside of their homes, meet other girls and learn in a group which helped them not only to develop personally but also as professionals.

Picture 6: Group Photograph on the day of exam

How a Cattle Farmer scaled up his animal husbandry practice in rural Gujarat

How a Cattle Farmer scaled up his animal husbandry practice in rural Gujarat

Mr Kamlesh Rabari (27 Years) from Umraya in rural Gujarat who hails from cattle breeder family, completed matriculation and vocational training in ITI to get into a job in nearby plants and companies. Dissatisfied and disheartened by the kind of jobs at hand, He decided to help his grandfather with cattle rearing at home. He started taking interest to understand & get into the animal husbandry practices. The family owns 2 bighas of land to sow grain for family use and cattle fodder, however the fodder is insufficient for their cattle.

Questera Foundation started implementing a CSR Program in May 2021 which revolves broadly around three pillars and Livelihood (Project Samanvay) that covers activities on agriculture and animal husbandry. We collaborated with National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) to train and support the cattle breeders in the village. The approach was to train the trainer and use their example to mobilise more cattle rearers of the village. Kamlesh showed interest but the decision was not easy for him as he had never travelled beyond Vadodara & NDDB’s Animal Entrepreneurship program is a 12-days residential program in Anand. We were able to counsel him and his family to undergo the training.

The training course covered key areas such as; animal breeding, cattle shed/housing, animal nutrition, Animal Diseases, Animal Management, Dairy Farm Business, Animal Management & integration in dairy farming along with the exposure visit to different sites for the practical experience.

Picture 1 and 2: Kamlesh attending training & receiving training certificate from NDDB official

Kamlesh completed the training diligently and this cemented his decision to join his forefather’s occupation. He had convinced his family to take up the occupation more seriously and scientifically and decided to increase the herd as they added total 15 animals (1 buffalo and 14 Cows of different breeds) post the training and converted their cattle shed into the professional dairy farm with more facilities.

Picture 3 & 4 Current condition of Kamlesh’s cattle shed

He summarizes his learning from the course as follows:

“There was no planning or management in traditional practice. During the training I got to know about importance of good feed, overall management and very importantly fertility management. Understood how animal rearing could be beneficial by improving milk quality and reducing the gap in two successive pregnancies.”

Kamlesh’s family used to feed green & dry fodder to their animals along with water once or twice in a day but he learnt that like humans, balanced food/diet is very important for animals too and just fodder will not help in increasing fat content and yield of the milk. He included mineral mixture and solid feed along with green and dry fodder. He started following the thumb rule for feed taught during the training and gradually experienced the result i.e. the yield of cow was 6 litres per day but after altering the practice, the yield became 10 litres per day.

Along with alteration in feeding practices, he started implementing measures to reduce the reproductive cycle for cows and buffalo. Traditionally, they used to wait for few months and sometimes a year after one delivery of cow or buffalo so the herd could not increase and also milking days could not be increased. He also learnt about care and feed before and after delivery of the animal which keeps it healthy and does not attract any illness.

He said ‘After getting training, we note the date of delivery and as taught, call the veterinarian for artificial insemination (AI) exactly after three months of the delivery. By following this, in six months after the training I am able to understand the fundamental aspects and measures to run a dairy farm.Currently, he has total 20 animals (18 cows, 2 buffalos), sells 25 litres of milk every day as against 14 litres earlier in own and nearby villages.

Kamlesh has been overwhelmed with the results he is getting in short time and he joined our team to spread his learnings into the wider audience of the village. He was motivated to take weekly training sessions with women cattle farmers and shared information on different topics from his training and his experience of altered practices.

Pics 5 & 6: Kamlesh taking the session and participants observing his training certificate