Bangalore is a city of 8.5 million people in Southern India. It’s the “IT capital”, and well-known for its greenery, culture, cuisine, and thriving entrepreneurial space. This is contrasted by the poverty of its slums, with a large number of less-privileged communities. VIDYA believes we can harness Bangalore’s positive trends by starting young– that means providing children and youth with relevant education in academics, skills and values. As is the VIDYA way, we also work with underprivileged women, and we’re convinced in their ability to be both empowered individuals and effective drivers of social change.
We currently serve 1000+ students across six government schools, and have helped hundreds of women gain confidence and independance with vocational training, and courses in life skills and English proficiency.
VIDYA’s “Beyond School Program” has made a significant difference to the lives of the government school students. Since its inception in the year 2010, 3000 students have benefitted through this program. The “Beyond School Program” provides English, computer skills and life skill training for the students of Classes V to X in 8 schools to enhance educational opportunities for students who come from regional language schools. The curriculum is devised using creative methods and innovative teaching aids are used for better understanding of the subject. Tests have highlighted a significant improvement in written English and vocabulary proficiency in comparison to those students who did not enroll in the program at the school examination level.
English: In this global economy, we feel that it is essential for the government school students to have command of English that helps build up their confidence. Through our Beyond School Program, we impart spoken English communication, reading, and writing skills. We work very closely with the School’s English teachers to incorporate their input in our lesson plans, so that our work becomes more valuable for the children. Today, the children understand and converse in English, give speeches in English and win in competitions like Spell Bee.
Computers: The computer classes equip the students with computer skills as knowledge of computers is the need of the hour. The modules are taught through very practical, comprehensive and interactive methods.
Life Skills and Activities: The life skills program motivates and gives direction to the young minds to become responsible, productive and self-reliant citizens of a resurgent India. We achieve this through a structured Life Skills Syllabus, via guest lectures and regular personal and career counselling sessions. Art & Craft, Sports and cultural activities are a part of our Life skills program.
The VIDYA Scholarship Program was started in the year 2012 with the primary objective of giving the Beyond School students an opportunity to continue their education beyond class 10. Education beyond class 10 is expensive and not incentivized! At the same time, it is the only gateway to economic liberation for aspiring students. The VIDYA Scholarship Program in partnership with our donors provides scholarship support for the students to continue their education at Pre-University, Under graduation, Engineering and Vocational training courses. More than 100 students are getting benefitted under the Scholarship Program with 5 of our students pursuing their Engineering degree. The first batch of UG scholarship students will graduate in the year 2017. Our alumni students who have completed the vocational ITI training are now working in reputed organizations.
VIDYA believes that one of the most effective ways to initiate social change in the next generation is to empower mothers, as they are highly influential in their children’s beliefs about women and equality. We’ve seen that women are often the most affected in a less-privileged community, but we find that they’re also the ideal agents of change and can influence their children greatly. This is why VIDYA places great importance on helping women gain economic independence, either by helping monetize skills they already have or enabling proficiency in a marketable skill in demand.
The VIDYA Bhagini Women Empowerment Center at Mali Foundation in Bangalore was founded in 2012 with incalculable help from Ms Rekha Rao, Executive Chairperson of The Mali Trust to provide skill based training, formal and non-formal education to underprivileged women. The VIDYA “Bhagini Programme” has become a haven for women and girls who are from lower income groups or from very vulnerable backgrounds such as child trafficking, child labour and other complex psycho-social issues. They do not have an appropriate platform to know who they are. VIDYA is working towards and exploring forums and opportunities to integrate them into mainstream vocation. The VIDYA Bhagini programme offers training in spoken English, Computer basics and advanced with NIIT & Intel certification, NIOS, Nursery Teachers’ Training, life skills, yoga and vocational skill training like tailoring, driving, catering, block printing, embroidery and product making. The VIDYA women at Mali are constantly encouraged to enrol and engage themselves in courses and curriculum that are vital to build confidence, capability and self-esteem so that they could be contributing citizens of society. More than 500 women have benefited through the program and many have become self-employed, wage-employed and have taken part-time jobs.
1. Spoken English Basic and Advanced Training Course:
Vidya’s vision is to have underprivileged women gain English language skills that expand their career options and accelerate a social and economic change within their family and communities. The English language becomes a gateway to take up any profession, as English is the need of the hour.
2. Computer Literacy Course:
Our NIIT Intel computer course educates underprivileged women of neighbouring communities by offering basic computer education, advanced hardware and networking and Entrepreneurship course.These courses provide opportunity to our women and girls to gain employment in offices and stores, thus providing economic independence and augmenting household income.
3. NIOS, Women’s Literacy Program:
VIDYA started the NIOS (National Institute of Open Schooling) program for school dropouts with the objective to cater to the needs of a heterogeneous group of learners up to pre-degree level. NIOS prepares our women for life as it certifies them with a secondary/higher secondary school certificate. Considering the varied and difficult backgrounds our students come from, NIOS allows them to rebuild their careers and fulfill their dreams.
4. NTT, Women’s professional Training program:
The NTT program is being introduced for women with a passion for working with small children in Pre- primary schools, day care centers and play schools. A tie up is being done with “The Bangalore School”, who are affiliated with “All India Early Childhood Care & Education,” New Delhi. It is an organization registered under NCT Govt. of India.
5. VASTRA- The Tailoring Programme:
Through the Tailoring Programme, we envisage to empower needy women by helping them to get employed with fashion designers, boutiques, and take up tailoring jobs or set up tailoring units that will provide outstanding, good quality stitched clothes and products with good finish. In our endeavor to give professional touch and value addition to the courses that we offer, VIDYA tied-up with reputed training Institutes like NIFT (National Institute of Fashion Technology) to train selected students in specific skills which will not only help them to learn the techniques in a professional way but will increase their employability. We have taken affiliation from SINGER and now our women will be trained for obtaining Certificate and Diploma from them.
6. VAAHAN- The driving Programme.
Exploring diverse options in vocational training for talented ladies, VIDYA started the driving classes for women to lead them into a challenging, less travelled and unconventional field. Our driving courses integrate driving training, its attendant skills, maintenance &self-defense. Our tie up with `TAXSHE’ – driving and taxi services for women, children and elderly, provides a ready employment opportunity for our trained women.
7. AAHAR- The Catering Programme
The programme aims at empowering women having a flair for cooking, by helping them set up kitchens that will provide outstanding, nutritious, quality and affordable food. The women not only learn new recipes and preparation of different types of foods but are also trained in the logistics of obtaining raw materials, pricing, and delivery to the final customers. They are also taught about hygiene, nutrition, packaging & marketing their products.
8. VARNA- The block printing and Embroidery Programme
The programme takes forward skills learnt at NIFT by a selected few VIDYA students. A course in Block Printing, Tie & dye and embroidery, in Collaboration with, and certified by Madura Coats (embroidery). The programme will help women to either join fashion designers/ boutiques or start their own enterprise.
9. VIVIDHA- The product making and Crochet Programme
This is another skill development initiative by VIDYA towards women empowerment. This course trains women in making small saleable products like gift bags, coasters, quilting jewelry, artificial flowers, kundanrangoli, mobile pouches, key rings, embroidered wall hangings/ pictures…the list goes on.
Keeping to the ethos of VIDYA of providing all round development through holistic learning, classes are also held for the following;
Yoga: A dedicated team of volunteers have been associated with VIDYA by providing their specialised training in yoga. The team is a part of the well reputed school of YOGA – TOTAL YOGA – in Bangalore, which especially helps distressed women and girls to combat some of their physical and emotional challenges.
Art &Craft: VIDYA women are trained in various art and craft activities through workshops and summer camps which help them to showcase and sell their products during exhibitions and against small orders.
Soft Skill: Soft Skill Training is provided on a regular basis through dedicated staff & guest lecturers for personality development and confidence building so that the women can face job interviews as well as day-to-day challenges.
Self Defence: Physical and psychological safety being of paramount importance in today’s times, our women are not only made aware of the violence and exploitation prevalent in the society but also trained, counselled and advised on ways to stand up against the same and be bold enough to take appropriate action against the culprit.
Wellness: Talks and health camps are regularly conducted for initiating and motivating women to take care of their health and well-being.