Tata Steel Building a prosperous tomorrow with focus on skilling of youth

Joda: Shakuntala Purty from Bichakundi here has become an inspiration for the people in her village. Coming from a humble background, her journey from a nondescript village to running her food van is one to reckon.
She took light motor vehicle (LMV) driving training following which she took a loan to buy an autorickshaw. “I customized it into a food van and started selling breakfast items. During the evenings, I sell golgappa. Earlier, I faced a lot of issues because I was limited to my area and the sales were very less. Now, I park my vehicle at prominent locations and earn enough to sustain my family,” says Shakuntala.
Her training was facilitated by Tata Steel Foundation as a part of their initiatives to empower youngsters from Joda. Apart from training in LMV driving, youngsters are also provided training in driving heavy motor vehicle (HMV). These apart, women are also trained for the apparel sector through Shahi Exports.
Skilling has become inevitable with youngsters facing challenges due to caste discrimination, the lack of access and affordability of secondary education, low parental support to break social barriers, hardly any flexible learning and digital education opportunities and, most of all, low self-confidence. In last five years, more than 500 youngsters from Joda have been facilitated training in various sectors.
Bharathi Munda, a 21-year-old staying in Ulli Hutting, took training in tailoring from Bhubaneswar. After the training, she is now placed in Bengaluru and is supporting her father to run the family.
“I was very worried about my daughter because she is a school dropout and we had lost hope. Her father runs a small shop and the earning has not been enough to lead a good life. So, her job is like a ray of hope for our family. It feels great to know that my daughter has moved out of this place and is independently leading her life in a metro city,” says Bharathi’s mother, Dukhi Munda.
The Foundation has also partnered with NIIT Foundation that largely focus on basic computer courses and spoken English courses to enhance the applied skills of students.