19-year-old Soni was the first girl who found a job after successfully completing a two-month hospitality and retail skills course provided by Project Lehar. She is working at a Café Coffee Day branch as a waitress and earns Rs. 5000 a month.
When AKF’s community mobilisers were conducting house visits, they approached Soni and her family. Soni’s father, the main bread winner in the family, has an irregular income and planned to get Soni married. However, through the home visit Soni learnt that she could find employment with the skills she would acquire in the vocational course and saw this as an opportunity to financially support her family. She says that she often thought, “There are so many of us in the house and only one earner, how can I help?”. This motivated her to enroll for the course immediately rather than waiting for her parents to plan her marriage.
Project Lehar enables girls from marginalised communities living in the Phulwarisharief and Danapur areas of Patna to pursue either scholastic or vocational skills training. The scholastic support being provided in centres established by AKF aims to build the girls’ learning levels so that they can either re-join formal schooling or prepare for their Class 10 Board examinations. Vocational skills training is also provided at AKF’s centres where girls are trained in skills that are in high demand and will enable them to earn a better income and gain financial independence.
Cutting across both the scholastic and vocational skills courses is life skills training which helps the girls build their confidence and understanding of how to successfully overcome the challenges they face in their day-to-day lives.