Life had never been easy for young Priya Kumari who came to Noida in the Delhi National Capital Region from a remote village in Bulandshahr District, Uttar Pradesh. “I have three sisters and a brother. Our father left us and married another woman. My brother became the only earning member of the family. However, his earnings were not enough to meet the family’s needs,” recollected Priya, who is 18 years old. “Given the worsening financial conditions, I moved to Noida three years ago to earn money and support my family. But since I didn’t have any particular skills that could enable me to get decent work, I started working in local factories, earning Rs. 3,000-4,000 a month. However, since the earnings were meagre, I sadly couldn’t send anything back to the village for my family,” she added.
During this period of struggle, the one thing that Priya got to know was that she needed both computer skills and English literacy in order to get better jobs. However, the fees for such courses were something she couldn’t afford. One day, she came to know about a centre being run in her neighborhood, providing computer and English education to marginalized adolescent girls, completely free of cost. “This was the kind of opportunity I had been waiting for. I was a good student during school days and was, therefore, confident that I’d be able to learn these new skills too. Subsequently, I joined the centre and started going there regularly. The centre provided two hours of English and computer education every day. During the three months of training at the centre, I could learn most of the computer basics, including typing, using Microsoft Word, Excel and PowerPoint, and e-mailing. I also learnt Basic English – speaking as well as writing. Besides, I received personality development training and orientation programmes on rights, on health and hygiene, and on how to be safe,” shared Priya.
Being run by Empowerment For Rehabilitation, Academic and Health (EFRAH) and ActionAid India with support from Adobe Foundation, the centre was set up in Noida to equip adolescent girls and young women to access better livelihood opportunities, besides curbing the menace of child marriage in the city. Nearly 250 adolescent girls and young women are currently being provided English and computer skills training at the centre.
After completing the course at the centre, Priya started applying for better-paying livelihood opportunities. And very soon, she got a job as a data entry operator-cum-typist at a starting salary of Rs. 7,500 per month. “I feel very happy that I’m now able to support my family financially and I’m confident that my salary will increase in the near future. My earnings will also help my younger sister to continue her education. Thank you, ActionAid India and EFRAH, for helping me become independent and to build a new life – for myself as well as my family,” exclaimed Priya with pride shining bright in her young eyes.
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