The M. Night Shyamalan Foundation recently returned from an amazing visit to India. After three-years, our skills training program for the women of Kasturba Nagar has been completed and a post-grant evaluation trip ensued.
Our visit with Usha and the community proved to be an extremely moving and inspiring time for us. We had time to meet with the community members, both men and women, and speak with them about how their lives have changed since receiving skills training and employment as a direct result of this project.
The change was palpable. The community itself has a different look and feel- it is bright and joyful. Kids are playing, vendors are selling, the majority of homes are now made of concrete instead of tin, and most of all, the people seem to have a sense of confidence that was missing last visit.
When we had first visited with the community in 2007, there was very little activity. Most of the women had no jobs and were housewives or domestic workers making no salary, or an average salary of 300-800 rupees a month. ($5-$15USD) All the women in the community have since received skills training in markets such as garment and sewing, computer skills, catering and cooking, making ceramic teeth, and milk processing. Early results show that all of these women are either employed by a business, working as a group or collective, or self-employed, and have increased their livelihood to as much as $56USD per month.
More importantly, the women expressed a feeling of happiness that they said they did not have prior to the job training program. They have their own income now and do not have to rely on their husbands. They also have confidence and the ability to pursue other interests if they please.
The men also received training if they were interested, and many have received gainful employment as a result, including government jobs which were never accessible prior to this training.
As we continue to evaluate this grant we will post more results. Have a look at the photos
on our media page which clearly tell this transformative story.