India is a big country with a population of 1.3 billion people. It has approximately 6,00,000 villages with 70 percent of its population staying in the rural areas. Most of the youth are leaving the villages in search of livelihood and ultimately land in urban slums and live a miserable existence to earn and feed their families back home. There are thousands and thousands of ghost villages in our hilly terrains where the youth have left their prime occupation of agriculture and left for urban areas in search of jobs. The foundation recognises this monumental problem and has been working to mitigate this enormous task through various interventions such as supporting vocational training programmes, good agricultural practices, encouraging traditional arts, animal rearing practices, setting up small enterprises etc.
The Hans Foundation supported organisations like Don Bosco Tech for vocational training of youth in the north-east India for their livelihoods opportunities. Similarly, in the north east – projects were also granted to Tomorrows Foundation, Prayas JAC for employment generation of youth. In the endeavor, the screening / selection of candidates were given top priority to arrive at the most eligible candidates. The training curriculum were designed after assessing the needs of the industry and the training were imparted with a combination of classroom session, practical and placement in the actual industry setting. The training curriculum were guided with the guidelines of National Skill Development Council (NSDC), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, that have broader guidelines of skill development in India. The trades introduced were primarily in hospitality, beautician, tailoring and industrial mechanic. To ensure smooth absorption of the candidates, the network with the future employers were also established. The employers were provided with the summary of the training capsules and the profile of the candidates for greater placement rates. For the candidates who were successful in getting employment in the states in different geographies, the financial support were also rendered for smooth transition. Apart from the employment, the youth were also encouraged to establish their own enterprises for which they were linked with the banks for financial support and the market for leveraging the opportunities.
The skill building projects were also supported in Delhi through Adharshila where the focus was more on the women who had the potential but were never harnessed due to lack of exposure and opportunities. Through The Hans Foundation funding, Hope Foundation was also engaged in the project implementation in Uttarakhand.
The Hans Foundation has supported projects across India for enhancing farm-based interventions through aptly designed agricultural packages. The projects were granted to National Foundation of India, Sadguru, Himalayan Action Research Centre, SBMA, Himmothan, Srijan, International Association for Human Values, Tata Trust on this. These projects covered the states like Assam, Odisha, Uttarakhand, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh, Karnataka. The projects components focused on improved agricultural practices for greater productivity. For cereals, vegetable and other crops – farmers were trained on practices right from selection of seeds, seeds treatment, nursery making, transplantation of crops, spacing, weed management, use of bio-fertilizers, vermi-compost, harvesting and overall crop management. Use of demonstration plots were also done to promote easy understanding of farmers on the proposed shift in the practices. Each farmers were guided with the crop plan to get the maximum output from the available land round the year. To get the best price for the yield the farmers groups were formed to optimize the opportunities in the value chain. The market linkages were established and the system were established so that the farmers in the group could have a favorable deal in the negotiations. The use of technology was also leveraged for ensuring farmers are abreast on market movement.
To facilitate the availability of water, the support was also provided for construction of various infrastructure like check dams, gully plugging, boulder checks, ponds etc, through technical experts. These interventions also led in enhancing the water availability and also helped in ground water recharge. Through the Kumudvati River Rejuvenation, and Manjra river projects in Karnataka and Maharashtra – work were carried out for ground water recharge and towards collectivization of farmers in large geography were various watersheds of Manjhara and Kumudvati rivers were taken of interventions. The river rejuvenation, ground water recharge was further buttressed through social forestry / tree plantation.
To bolster the household level income, the activities around poultry, piggery, dairy were also introduced for gainful engagement of women. The initial support to the deserving families were given under the project and the technical inputs around the venture were also provided by the experts who extended handholding support. For dairy project, the funding support was given for cattle, feed, chilling plant, establishing the collection centres and even formalizing the distribution system.
Linkages with government schemes has been one of the strategies that The Hans Foundation have been promoting with its partners. The partners availed government programs like National Skill Development Council (NSDC), Ministry of Skill Development and Entrepreneurship in developing the training modules and assessment of candidates. The NSDC Certified training provided greater opportunity and recognition of the courses conducted by the candidates. For agricultural projects, the support were sought from respective states in availing technical inputs from – Krishi Vigyan Kendra (Agricultural Science Centre) and other agricultural institute. The project also leveraged the provisions of agricultural equipment like water pumps / motors from government schemes for greater reach and sustenance of the project.
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