GMR Varalakshmi Foundation started a vocational training centre in Delhi in October 2009 with the purpose of empowering urban youth from vulnerable families. The focus of the Centre is on imparting good quality skill training along with life skill inputs and facilitation of suitable placement opportunities for the trainees.
The training centre is currently situated in temporary premises at the Airport Campus (Indira Gandhi International Airport), New Delhi. A permanent residential centre is under construction in the same area.
The students are selected through a rigorous process. The main criteria for selection are the economic background and the educational qualifications of the students. Preference is given to trainees from Mehram Nagar and other areas near the airport, and for youth from Savda Ghevra (where illegal encroachments from the airport land were re-settled).
- Centre for Empowerment and Livelihoods (CEL) conducts market oriented courses such as Electrical, Basic Computers etc. It also conducts placement drives by inviting several potential employers like ACAAI, HoneyWell, VIPUL etc.
- Airport linked courses such as Escalators and Elevators operations and maintenance, Skilled cargo handlers and supervisors etc. have been recently initiated.
- So far, the center has trained 305 youth in different trades (247 male and 58 female). Of the trained youth, 272 are settled in different jobs or enterprises.
Misery to Bliss: Tale of a dropout Youth
"Mai agar is centre pe nahi aata to aaj mai bhi baki ladko ki tarah idhar udhar ghoom raha hota" (If I would not have got admission in the centre, I would have been roaming around like other boys.) This is what he has to say today!
This story is about a boy, who, like others in his residential area was a dropout after Std. X, aimless in life and wasting time in non-productive activities. Daya Ram, the second child of a mason of Rangpuri Pahadi slum in Delhi, lived in a rented accommodation along with his 5 siblings and parents. He had to drop out of education due to poor financial situation of the family. Accepting this as his fate, Daya Ram started spending his life as other boys of his age in Rangpuri Pahadi. He says, "at times, I did not know what I would do on any day because I had no engagement, the only work I had was creating problems for the children and others".
This is when the GMRV CEL mobilizers happened to visit this area for creating awareness about the CEL activities and for mobilizing the youth who are dropouts and are involved in non-productive activities. As a result of various mobilization activities conducted, many of the parents along with their young sons and daughters approached the CEL for enrollment and admission. One among them was Daya Ram who got enrolled in the CEL and was provided admission in the Electrical Trade. Throughout the course he scored good percentage and showed very good progress. Once the final examinations were done, Daya Ram was placed with Kepal Brady as a trainee. Now he works as Assistant Electrician there and gets Rs. 5800/- per month (in hand). He is on the top of the world and shares, "There was a time six months ago that I was not able to continue my studies because of financial problems and now I am helping my father in meeting household expenses. I have to reach at a different level and I want to support my sisters’ education".
Today, Daya Ram has earned respect among his colleagues, friends and his employer. He is able to support his family and plans to put in more hard work so that he is able to live his dreams.