The majority of the work JanPragati focuses in and around slums. Women and children are almost always the most vulnerable. In the earlier years we had a beloved Bhamini program empowering young women in our slums. Due to COVID this program was paused, with the exception of our tailoring school, Bhamini Silai School, which has continually be running since it's inception. In 2023, we reopened the rest of this program with the goal to increase focus on children by providing Life Skills Education classes, forming self-help groups among adults in the slums, hygiene distribution programs and assisting with medical needs in the families.
Currently, we have vocational training through our tailoring school, Bhamini Silai School, a sewing school for young women. Here, they absorb basic tailoring skills so that they can use this skill as a means for their livelihoods. Since it started in 2017, we've seen more than 140 girls complete this program receiving a certificate. Many more have gone through the course, but due to unfortunate reasons, they gained knowledge, but were unable to get the certificate. They go through a six-month course, starting from the basics of stitching and continuing until they're sewing their own khurtas and frocks. Not only do they learn the cutting, stitching and workings of the machine, but they also develop their literacy skills. They build their Hindi and English literacy skills as well. We've seen these empowered women helping their families and community with these skills as they mend clothes and stitch new outfits. The joy on their face cannot be contained to exhibit how proud they are of the skills they are learning.
At the heart of our Life Skills Education is the learning of life skills. Life skills have been defined as "abilities for adaptive and positive behaviour that enable individuals to deal effectively with the demands and challenges of everyday life" (WHO 1993). Life skills from this perspective, are essentially those abilities which help to promote mental well-being and competence in young people as they face the realities of life. Secondly, to enable children to learn and practice skills, life skills education is based on a child-centred and activity-oriented methodology. And finally, life skills education is based on the philosophy that young people should be empowered to take more responsibility for their actions. The learning of life skills has been facilitated through the development of curricula for schools. The study of numerous interventions based on this approach has identified important areas of life skills that are being taught for the promotion of the health and well-being of children and adolescents.
We currently have 7 classes each month. One of the classes at the Bhamini Silai School, had the girls making food without any electricity or fire. This is not an easy task in a culture, where almost all consumable food has been cooked. Their brilliant minds got to work, and we had a feast of sandwiches, salads, and a chocolate shake.
Our next goal is to form Self-Help Groups in the slums. The goal of these groups are to empower the women in these slum communities, serving as catalysts for change. These SHGs will provide a platform for women to come together, support one another, and develop entrepreneurial skills. Through skill-building workshops, financial literacy training, and mentorship programs, we aim to empower these women to become self-reliant, contributing members of society