In India, many young people from underprivileged sections fail to receive the quality education that can prepare them for jobs, self-employment or entrepreneurship. Having access to such education is crucial in grooming and nurturing vulnerable youth to become responsible for their professional growth and social well-being.
Among those who enrol in schools, despite socioeconomic challenges, a few complete the courses and the rest drop out due to many reasons. The dropouts are at greater risk of getting into undesirable and harmful activities and they need counselling and support to become employable. They need to be shown a direction and a purpose in life through skill-based training so that they are not treated as a threat to the society but an asset to socioeconomic development.
Uplifting the underprivileged youth-at-risk
To address this need, an alumnus from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) joined hands with several other graduates and formed “Advocating Youth At-risk through Nurturing and Support Hub” (Ayansh) Foundation, an initiative to educate and empower underprivileged youth and provide them with various livelihood options. Through this venture, Sanish Kulkarni, the founder of Ayansh Foundation, aims at creating an equitable society where all the youth-at-risk are enabled with work-oriented education and training that prepares them for jobs, self-employment or entrepreneurship.
Ayansh’s skill-based training model stemmed from its founder’s strong determination to uplift the underprivileged youth and create a livelihood path for them.
“Having experienced many difficult situations in life, I was so empathetic towards those youth, who are deprived of education. I always wanted to support them through various means. However, I had to wait until my post-graduation to really start my initiative.” says Sanish.
Before starting Ayansh, Sanish and his team were engaged in an initiative to train youth in different skills like Painting, Carpentry, Housekeeping etc. However, after some time, they have found that students were not interested in taking up a job in those areas. So, they tried to assess the interest level of underprivileged students in some areas in Mumbai, Pune and Thane. They found that youth were more interested in studying courses related to new software technologies. Since Sanish had an educational background in Mass Communication, he decided to train students in Graphic Designing, Video Editing and others media-related 21st century skills. Thus, the first digital training centre was opened in Thane in July 2018.
Skill-based training courses offered by Ayansh Foundation
Ayansh Foundation offers 12-month training courses that comprise of 4 months of technical training and 8 months of internship. The curriculum is designed according to the needs of the industry so that students get a hands-on experience before joining a company or becoming an entrepreneur.
Basic training is provided to students who have not had any exposure to computers or the internet before starting the software training. Since soft skills is an important factor in operating media software, Ayansh also provides English language training during the course. This helps the students to gain confidence while interacting with various people for placements.
Ayansh’s first batch comprised of six students from various backgrounds. The training programs have helped them acquire more knowledge and gain confidence to move forward in their lives.
Sanish says, “I am happy to see the transformation in many of my students. One of them joined the course without any prior exposure to a computer. With little or no confidence, he strived hard to develop himself. However, towards the end of the training, he gained enough confidence to communicate with people and work with software. Now, he is working as a Graphic Designer in Kalyan, Maharashtra.”
Ayansh is committed to impacting more youth
Ayansh has so far influenced the lives of many young students who are vulnerable and underprivileged. However, for Sanish, the journey has not been as easy. He expresses his gratitude to TISS (Tata Institute of Social Sciences) and UnLtd India for believing in his idea and supporting him to execute and grow his venture.
“UnLtd India and TISS were the only ones who supported us. During the initial days, it was very difficult to train students without a training centre. It was my coach at UnLtd India who encouraged me to take a MUDRA loan that helped us set up our initiative. I would like to say that their support has really made us move forward.” adds Sanish.
Ayansh Foundation is more like a movement than an organization with vibrant people leading and helping it move ahead. Team Ayansh comprises people from different fields like Social Entrepreneurship, Digital Marketing etc. They partner with many organizations to reduce the gap between the underprivileged and the opportunities by developing students’ creativity.