Our guest author, Shreya Srinath, is an undergraduate student at State University of New York at Geneseo NY. Writing social impact stories is one of her passions and here she presents the success story of Arbind Kumar by talking to him on the RMZ construction site in Bengaluru. Shreya is keenly observing and studying the skill development space by interacting with several beneficiaries of training in the unorganized industry sector in India.
Here’s Arbind Kumar’s story in the words of Shreya:
My name is Arbind Kumar and I am from Bihar. I came to Bangalore 6 months ago. I have worked in 7-8 different cities but I like Bangalore the best because of its climate and because of the people here. My parents are farmers and when I was younger, I wanted to be a lot of different things. As I grew older, I realized that I had to put my dreams on hold and support my family. So, I began to work, taking any job that paid me good money, regardless of my interest in it.
Before I knew it, I was married and I had children of my own. I was responsible for their future. I saw people making money around me and it seemed like no matter how hard I worked, I was not making the same kind of money they were. This discouraged me a lot and one of my friends suggested that I invest my money- he had earned a lot that way. Discussing it with my wife, I did so and for the first 6 months, we waited for our returns and when they never came, we realized that the company had gone bankrupt. That was a very dark phase of my life. I was depressed and lost all motivation in life.
But I was able to overcome this by reading “Rameshwaram to Rashtrapati Bhavan”– it motivated me to work again so that I could provide my children with the education they deserve. I didn’t want her to make the same mistakes as I had done. Therefore, I decided to work in construction in 2009.
When I began to work on the construction site, I heard about LabourNet’s training. I was curious and wanted to know what it was about and went to speak to one of the trainers. Once I realized what it was about, I wanted to join and went to inform my contractor who promptly refused. He wanted me to work as much as possible and did not want me wasting time in training. I joined anyways but I was unable to attend classes regularly at first due to pressure of finishing my work. Seeing this, Ashraf Sir invited my contractor to one of the training sessions and I was able to attend my classes regularly after that. He was so impressed with the training that not only did he encourage me to attend the classes, but encouraged his other workers to do so as well. The training was easy for me. I understood everything quickly.
Before this, I did exactly what I was told without understanding what it was I was doing. The training helped me understand this and it also taught me a lot about safety. Now, I work much faster and I work better. I earn better. After this training, I will be able to get a better job because of the certificate. I will earn more. I don’t have any more ambitions for my life. I have taken several risks and I have failed each time. Now, I just want to earn money to educate my children and give her the life they deserve. I feel that all companies should provide this training to the workers. This allows us to learn skills and gives us the opportunity to get ahead in life. Without this, only people like contractors make money and advance in life. We are left behind. This training gives us the opportunity to move ahead as well.