By Kunal Nichkawade, Rang De Intern
A picture of everyone at the Gurukul when we went to it. This Gurukul is located in Hanuanthkuppan, approximately 100km from Chennai.
It has been almost 3 weeks now since I joined Rang De for my summer internship and it has been an amazing experience. Sometimes I feel the criteria for evaluating a workplace is very simple. If after a day’s work, you can get a good night sleep, feeling satisfied about your day, without your conscious haunting you, you know you are at right place.
One week into the internship and I got a chance to go on a field visit to ‘Gurukul’, a vocational training school, training young people who don’t have access to quality education mostly due to financial reasons. A joint initiative by NABARD, PanIIT and Rang De, the aim is to tackle the ultimate challenge, ‘employment for all’. Most of the youth in the pilot project at the training center are from Bahraich district, Uttar Pradesh. They are given different assignments like bar bending, Masonry etc depending on their skills and preferences. It is a one month long program, along with 6 month ‘on-job’ training, after which each youth will be a certified worker; a certificate which will be government recognized carrying similar weightage as that of ITI certificate.
A group of construction gurukul students get hands on experience. The PanIIT program has gurukuls for programs such as construction and driving.
The facilities provided are very good. Care has been taken in everything, right from choosing the right kind of mentors to providing basic amenities. But what amazed me most was the attitude of the trainees. Maybe the thought of a regular source of income, maybe financial stability but I guess more than anything else the thought of fulfilling the dream of becoming a skilled worker eventually was what which was driving them. The conversations we had with some of them were very interesting. Most of them had a big family with very few sources of income. Typically each one of them was either working in someone’s farm or was doing household work at some corner of India before joining the training. After receiving the training they want to break free of the vicious age old poverty cycle. They don’t want to keep doing what their forefathers did just for the sake of it. In simple terms, they want to do something which ‘adds value’. And no, they don’t use this phrase like Corporates do; they surely haven’t heard of it, but they mean it. There was a healthy sense of ambition in each one of them; there was spark in those eyes. They didn’t want to be limited to a 6000/- per month job. They wanted to work hard, learn more, improve and climb the ladder. All they need is an opportunity to show their worth. Most of them probably haven’t heard about Winston Churchill but those eyes were saying, “Give us the the tools, and we will finish the job.”