The Hope Foundation does so much for the children of Kolkata and education is such a huge part of the strategy to break the poverty cycle. This extends into the vital teaching of life skills as the children get older giving young men and women vocational skills that lead to employment.
The Hope Foundation set up an integrated vocational training program in 2004 to give employment opportunities and generate income to enable people to earn a livelihood.
Which in turn leads to a break in the chain of the poverty cycle.
The unit works with women in poverty aged 16 to 25 years old. This age group is targeted as it is a key time of self-discovery and self-development for women. The program also works with underprivileged teenage boys and girls.
The main trades being taught are knitting, tailoring, fabric tie and dye, embroidery, bakery, catering, computers, beautician skills and photography.
One of the program’s success stories is The Panditya Life Skills Café tucked away in a quiet corner of Kolkata (as quiet as Kolkata can be that is!).
It is part of the Life Skills Training Centre run by the Hope Foundation. Trainees cook and run the front of house, giving them valuable experience in a true hospitality environment.
Upstairs there is a store which sells clothes, jewellery and handicrafts produced on site by the trainees. Nicknamed ‘The Fashion Floor’, trainees learn to sew and create products that can be sold in the store to raise further funds for the Hope Foundation and give the trainees further experience in vocational work.
Yet another example of the way in which the Hope Foundation truly makes change.
And lasting change at that.