INDIA: Young women in legal trouble learn job skills
23 young women supported at Surakshita Home thanks to funding from Salesian Missions.
NEW ROCHELLE, NY (Feb. 18, 2021) Twenty-three young women who lived at the Salesian Surakshita Home, located in the town of Ravulapalem in Andhra Pradesh, India, were supported through funding from Salesian Missions, the U.S. development arm of the Salesians of Don Bosco. Surakshita Home provides living facilities for young women who have been in legal trouble. There are dorms, bathrooms, a dining hall, a work room and a training hall.
When young women enter the program run by Surakshita Home, they are given clothing and proper nutrition. They are sent for a medical examination and women with special health needs receive individual follow-up care. They are also able to access a counselor and legal support for their cases in court. In addition, the young women are empowered with information about their rights, and they access training in tailoring, maggam embroidery and other handicrafts.
During the five months that funding was provided, 23 women completed their coursework. The goal was to help them learn skills for employment so that they can live independently. They also stitched 10,000 masks and distributed them in the neighboring villages as part of helping with the COVID-19 pandemic response.
After the program, some young women found work in tailoring shops while others were able to do dressmaking and embroidery work for themselves. Four of the young women were given tailoring machines so that they could launch a small business to become self-sufficient.
Once they are released from the program, women are integrated back into society. Salesian staff members visit parents and guardians, and they help young women go back home if possible or find other reasonable accommodations.
“This program is giving young women in trouble with the law a second chance at life,” said Father Gus Baek, director of Salesian Missions. “Salesian programs not only educate, but they prepare young people for work in fields that are hiring and jobs are available.”
India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.
Salesian programs across India are primarily focused on education. Salesian primary and secondary education in the country helps youth prepare for later technical, vocational or university study. Other programs help to support poor youth and their families by meeting the basic needs of shelter, proper nutrition and medical care.
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