A Merit and Means Employability Program for Women.
It is a 6 month of dedicated financial support : Rs 5000 per month Training in Employability skills : Written & Spoken English, Computer skills(Fundamental of Word, PowerPoint ,Excel), Basic Mathmatics, professional presence and Conduct.
Given the socio-cultural biases, some families are reluctant to educate girls. Many girls in the area face discrimination, and are not permitted to step out of the house. Some girls drop out of schools due to responsibilities of housework, further compounded by problems of early marriage, dowry and gender stereotypes.
“The biggest problem for girls is that we cannot get out of the house, because we don’t get permission. We get enrolled for 12th only because we get money from Laadli scheme from the Government, and it becomes easier to get us married”
Baby Goura, Emerge fellow, 2021
We needed a way to free girls out of the vicious cycle of early marriage & poverty, to empower them with employability skills & encourage financial independence.
Emerge is one such strong step to nudge a path forward for girls to nurture their employability skills, discover their talent and enable it to shine. The fellowship aims to solve the most pressing problems for young, driven girls from the community by empowering them with financial support, learning opportunities and guidance.
The Emerge Fellowship is a Merit and Means Employability Programme for Women, which aims to provide employability skills to underserved girls in the community from financially unstable backgrounds, through six months of dedicated financial support, learning and guidance. The programme with its twin benefits of a financial stipend coupled with an opportunity to enhance their employability skills has also given an impetus to the families to feel proud of their daughters and encourage them to pursue their dreams and become self-reliant.
“My family didn’t want me to study further, as they feel girls should get married soon. But getting selected for Emerge has made them feel proud of me. They are happy I am learning and getting financial support”
Sudha, Emerge fellow, 2021
The Fellows are chosen for their desire and diligence to acquire employability skills. Currently, 10 fellows are enrolled. We plan to scale up the program to 30 fellows by January 2022
Some details about the programme is as under
1. Financial support : Rs.5000 per month per fellow (for six months)
2. Training and guidance : Training in following functional competencies for employability :
3. Basic written and spoken English
4. Basic computer skills : Internet usage, Fundamentals of Word, PowerPoint, Excel
5. Basic Mathematics
6. Professional Presence and Conduct
7. Assessment : The progress of each fellow will be monitored and assessed equitably
The first batch of 10 young women after a rigorous screening process of selection, began with the program in May 2021. We have committed a monthly stipend of Rs. 5,000 to each Fellow. LBL will provide all the training pro bono. We are also helping them put together basic requirements like a bank account and a PAN card which will help them to work independently.
Through the six months, the mentors continually track the progress of each Fellow. Participants are assessed regularly on their performance in basic competencies as well as on Learning agility, based on parameters such as Attendance, Class Participation, Communication, Initiative, Adaptability, Integrity. The assessment is done equitably, keeping in mind that the Fellows will have different degrees of learning agility, and also different financial and social circumstances. The Fellows are free to spend the stipend according to their individual requirements. We would require that the expenditure cover a reliable internet connection to facilitate online learning. The Fellows are required to submit a summary of expenditure at the end of every month, and provide budgeting guidance.
We hope to gradually scale up the program and expand its reach.
Over the past 4 months of the fellowship in progress, significant impact has been felt by the girls in core competencies including English, Math and Computer skills, as well as confidence in expression, presentation and communication. They feel more future ready, empowered with a newfound self-confidence and rigor to pursue their dreams and carve a path towards financial independence. Some of the areas where the impact has been clearly seen are as under :
1. Communicating with confidence: The fellows have not only considerably improved on their English speaking and articulation skills, but also feel more confident in expressing their ideas and opinions.
“Before Emerge, I couldn’t speak in English. I did not have the confidence to express myself. Now I feel confident to even speak to a stranger”
Emerge Fellow, 2021
2. Learning Benefits of Technology : The girls have learnt how to use tools like google sheets, word, powerpoint and excel on the mobile phone, enabling them to become more employable. They have also learnt how to use the internet to look out for opportunities and stay connected.
“We learnt how to use the mobile to attend classes. We learnt how to use google sheet and other tools on the phone. Today, I can even make my resume on the mobile”
Emerge Fellow, 2021
3. Discovering the joy of learning : The fellows are able to form a real life connect with what they are learning through the programme, including lessons of mathematics and computers. For instance, one fellow shared that she could understand the meaning of what a discount offer in a store meant, using her knowledge of the basics of mathematics.
“I didn’t like studying computers. But the way it was taught to us, I realized the value of technology for my future. I made a presentation for the first time and was appreciated in college by my teacher, and now I feel more confident and empowered”
Saloni, Emerge Fellow, 2021
4. Paving a way for financial independence : Many fellows have secured jobs and are pursuing their own journeys towards self-reliance and financial independence.
“If I can work, I can solve the financial problems of my family. I can also spend on my own needs”
Baby Gaura, Emerge Fellow, 2021
5. Empowerment through teaching and a shared community : With teachers at LBL functioning more as guides and facilitators and most fellows being given an opportunity to teach, they feel more empowered to share their learnings and skills with others. The culture of peer learning and sharing of experiences creates a sense of camaraderie and a strong support network for everyone involved.
The fellowship has helped the fellows unlock their own potential in the journey and giving wings to their dreams. All of these experiences at Emerg have strengthened their resolve to overcome the fear of judgment, to try new things and to achieve more.