CORP (Community Outreach Programme)is a society dedicated to “providing holistic development for women and children.” They do this through several programs all over Mumbai. In Dharavi they run a daycare center for 120 disabled children, a girls’ orphanage/shelter home, and a vocational training centre.
Reality Gives supports CORP by mobilising funds, sharing resources as well as raising awareness for their programs. In this endeavour we have connected CORP with the German consulate which funded around INR3 Lakh for new technical supplies and materials for the vocational training centre. Additionally we recruited students amongst our former Youth Empowerment Program for the training program.
In the new group, there are 24 girls in the 4-month beautician program and 49 students in the tailoring class, which takes 6 months to complete. Participants must be 16 years of age or older and are charged a small fee which helps ensure personal responsibility and improves attendance rates. The interest in the tailoring course has been so great that they will soon split the youth into two sessions so that each girl will have ample time with the instructor and the machine (the class meets Monday through Saturday for two hours each day). The center is currently in possession of 9 sewing machines but will soon buy 6 more - including 1 electric one - to meet the demand.
Girls come with little to no starting knowledge of the trade and are taken through the basics. Upon leaving, they are tested on their ability to perform various techniques, including sewing an array of clothes like shirts, school uniforms, and even the intricately stitched saris. Similarly, the beautification workshop culminates in the girls demonstrating how to prepare a bride for her wedding ceremony – an elaborate and detailed process if you’ve ever been fortunate enough to witness such a display! The certificates they receive legitimize the work they put into the class.
Through these studies, young people learn technical skills that can help put them in a better position to acquire jobs that will allow them to earn an income. CORP instructors help girls that have completed the course to network with garment companies and other outside people that come in looking for employees.
CORP has seen success in previous cohorts of their technical training and have every reason to be optimistic about the future of the program. Staff members shared that they know of several girls who are now able to own their own beauty shops or run a tailoring business in their homes. More than this is the general sense of empowerment that girls receive with their new-found knowledge.
Reality Gives also connected the centre to the NGO Srujna who will do an extensive trainings assessment to monitor the impact of the program in the next months.
Together, CORP and Reality Gives are collaborating to meet the needs of Dharavi youth. Rachana, the centre's supervisor notes that the girls are coming out of their homes more frequently with the self-confidence that little by little changes the mentality of a community.