Anwari Begum, 27-year-old, lives with her mother and sister in Metiaburz in Kolkata. As a child, she was timid and shy. Being from a conservative family, she was not allowed to go out on her own and was mostly confined to home, helping her mother with the household chores and managing her studies.
At 13, she lost her father, the only earning member of the family. Her mother was not educated enough to get a well-paying job. She started working in a local embroidery shop. Anwari dropped out of school and began stitching work from home, which used to get her Rs 500 to Rs 1,000 per month. Amid the insurmountable financial crisis, their neighbours and relatives started pressuring Anwari’s mother to get her elder daughter married.
A chance announcement brought her to Save the Children, and she signed up for the skills and technical training. After training, she started working at a Cafe Coffee Day outlet with an initial salary of Rs 10,767.
“I took up the first opportunity that came my way because I was scared of being left out. My training and acquired skills help me regularly deal with difficult customers. Through this training, I got career counselling, learnt life and communication skills, financial literacy, team management and goal setting,” said Anwari.
She was the first member of her family to hold a steady job. She was promoted to a managerial position within three years. Now, not only is she supporting her family and her sister’s education, but she has also resumed her studies.
“My family calls me a hero. In the past 10 years, I have lived through situations during which I was encouraged, challenged, criticised and supported, all with the single motive of being independent. That has enabled me to grow this far.”
About the project
Save the Children started the New Horizons Project in 2017 in Kolkata’s Metiabruz area. While conducting a survey and community mobilisation activities, the team identified 66 youths from low-income families who needed career counselling and skill development training for sustainable livelihood. These 66 young adults were trained in market-oriented life skills from the National Skill Development Corporation (NSDC) accredited institutes. They also learnt about goal setting, communication and leadership skills, team building, gender rights, career counselling and financial literacy.
Over the years, the project has expanded to other parts of Kolkata and South 24 Parganas and impacted more adolescents and young adults. The aim is to equip these youths with appropriate and relevant life skills education and build their confidence to embark on a steady future. Between 2020 and 2022, the Save the Children team has reached more than 600 adolescents and youths.