Recognizing the importance of integrating education and skill development, Salaam Bombay aims to bridge the gap through its initiative, skills@school programme. Since its inception in 2013, this initiative helps empower underprivileged children with employability skills,while still in school and orients them to career opportunities beyond the conventional streams. Along with vocational skills, market and career orientation help children consider progressive career paths. Students undergo 60-80 hours of training – both in school and at partner institutes.
Main focus of skills@school is:
- giving children the confidence and opportunities to express themselves and explore their potential offering high quality training in vocational skills to children from resource-poor backgrounds
- empowering school children with vocational skills that enable them to develop career goals at a young age Guiding at-risk children to make the right choices regarding their education and careers therebyLowering school dropout rates.
Salaam Bombay Foundation has a rigorous process in selecting their students for the programme. The Foundation first identifies and selects schools where the programmes can be conducted. This is based on interest shown by the respective principals and children. An orientation session on the courses being offered is then organised in the schools. Post the orientation, children are filtered based on expressed interest towards the course being offered and the children’s commitment to attend the course. Parental consent is also elicited in order to increase commitment. Currently, the programme offers vocational skilling in the following trades :
- Beauty and Wellness
- Automobile Repair
- Jewellery Design
- Bakery and Confectionery
- Home Appliance Repair
- Fashion Design
- Mobile Repair
- Web Design
- Graphic Design
- Retail Management
- Computer Hardware Repair
In order to formalise students’ assessment and certification, the Academy has partnered with Ambuja Cement Foundation (ACF) – a National Skill Development Council (NSDC) approved external examiner. This partnership will ensure that students are tested and certified at standards that align with the National Skills Qualification Framework of the NSDC. To date, skills@school has worked with more than 15,000 students, exposing them to the relevant training they need to become professionals.
In order to improve their market readiness the following Advanced Market Relevant Skills are also provided to enrolled children:
- Develop Entrepreneurial Skills: Children learn skills such as identifying opportunity, budgeting, resource mobilization, marketing, and scalability of a business. These concepts are explained through games, activities, and inspirational stories of different organizations.
- Financial Literacy: Students are taught the basics of finance through the module ‘Financial Education for Children’, which is designed by the Securities and Exchange Board of India. This training helps them understand the importance of budgeting, saving and investments.
- Conversational English: Children undergo intensive training over 60 hours (3-4 months) in four important aspects of the English language, namely reading, writing, communication, and comprehension.
Bushra Khan is one amongst five brothers and sisters. She grew up in an environment that favoured boys over girls in every aspect of life. Her brothers were given the best food, their education was considered more important than hers, their opinion counted for more. Not willing to accept this situation, she took the opportunity to enroll in Salaam Bombay Mobile Repair course. Not only did she prove her adeptness at mastering complicated terminology, but she also became known as “the girl who repaired the principal’s mobile”! An enthusiastic learner, Bushra is known to ask the toughest questions in class. She believes practice makes her perfect and has repaired many non-functioning phones in her locality. Her dream is to become a doctor and she hopes she has enough time and broken mobiles to fix so that she can save up for her higher education.
Today, she is a role model for other girls in her community and is known as “Technical Khan.” She also enjoys being treated as an equal. Bushra will appear for her 10th standard exams this year.
Pratap a powerhouse of talent stays with his mother, father and elder brother in a small room in Kolkata. His father works as a mason and his mother is a housemaid. Their monthly family income is about nine thousand rupees. His elder brother also takes up small odd jobs post-school to support his family. Seeing his family struggle to meet ends and motivated to clear his family debt Pratap had been looking for an opportunity. Pratap always weaved the dreams of being a celebrity makeup artist and wanted to learn the art of beauty and wellness. The colours of eyeshadow palettes, the mascara that defines eyes and concealing the scars of others to make them look more beautiful had always interested him.
In October 2018, Salaam Bombay Foundation and Tomorrow Foundation (partner NGO SBF) conducted an orientation at Pratap’s school for the Skills@school programme. Pratap enrolled in beauty and wellness instead of any other technical skill courses offered. An aspiring make-up artist, Pratap has been a regular and enthusiastic student in the class. Being an only male candidate in the batch with 40 female students, he has never been shy or hesitant. His passion for the skill has motivated him to challenge conventional gender norms. He always received motivation and acceptance from his teachers and peers.
His mother and neighbours have also been constant support. He used to practice the learned skills by applying makeup on his mother. He wanted to master the art of Bridal make-up, hairstyling and Henna application.
After completion of his training, he started taking orders for bridal make-up, saree draping, hairstyling, and henna application. He has almost earnt forty thousand thousand rupees. From the money he bought beauty products and from remaining money he cleared his family debt.
We are sure that one day this talented young artist will be a celebrated celebrity artist.