In a country as vast as India, access to quality education and skills development is crucial for the holistic growth and empowerment of its youth. Lend a Hand India(LAHI) is an organization that is tirelessly working towards bridging the educational divide and creating opportunities for young people across the country.
LAHI firmly believes that education is the foundation for a bright future. The organization is committed to providing quality education to children and youth from underprivileged backgrounds. LAHI collaborates with local schools, teachers and volunteers to create innovative teaching methods and curricula that cater to the specific needs of the communities.
Recently at Tech4Dev we’ve decided to work closely with some of the NGO’s and understand their program really well. Lobo connected us with the LAHI team and in the last two weeks we’ve spent quite a bit of time on each of the program which LAHI offers. Although online meetings are great and comfortable but we decided to actually go to Pune where LAHI team operates and work closely with them to understand the programs really well. We also invited Jishnu from Goalkeep and that really helped us in terms of asking the right questions.
The agenda was really tight and to the point. Through out the day we had back to back sessions on different programs and we started with one of their older programs which is Plan 100 and we also met members who are handling those programs. Some of the takeaways for me was their the Multi Skill Foundation Course (MSFC) program which began as a pilot study in two schools in Pune in 1986 and later expanded to 100 schools as “Plan 100” with the approval of the Maharashtra government. In 2016, it was introduced in Mumbai and Pune as “Project Swadheen Maharashtra” and eventually expanded to 1,900 schools across Maharashtra. MSFC received central government approval, enabling other states to implement the subject. LAHI took the responsibility of implementing the program, covering costs and resources.
MSFC focuses on vocational education and has four skill sections.
- Workshop and Enngineering techniques: Carpenting, Welding, Construction
- Energy and ENv
- Gardening, Nursery and Agricultural techniques
- Food processing techniques, Personal Healtha and Hygiene
LAHI implements the program through two models: providing technical support to schools or directly funding and managing the program. The ultimate goal is to increase enrollment and make MSFC the preferred subject choice among students. The program emphasizes practical learning, and a well-equipped workshop is essential for implementation.The evolution and expansion of MFSC through projects like Swadheen demonstrate the commitment of LAHI in promoting vocational education and empowering students with practical skills for future success.
At the end of the sessions we visited the Karigar – School of Applied Learning, located in Pune, Maharashtra, is an initiative by Lend A Hand India (LAHI) that serves as a Skills Hub, showcasing a model for multi-skill vocational education. Drawing upon LAHI’s extensive experience, Karigar offers training in a wide range of skills including food processing, electrical appliances repairs, food preservation, baking, gardening and landscaping, auto maintenance, information technology, media and entertainment, fabrication, carpentry, and plumbing. The primary objective is to popularize and universalize skill education, emphasizing the value of “working with hands.” The facility is not only used for skill training but also serves as a Training of Trainers center, an incubator for young entrepreneurs, and an innovation lab. Karigar aims to empower individuals with practical skills, encourage entrepreneurship, and foster innovation in vocational education.
Sharing two photos from the program. LAHI has implemented a unique initiative as part of their program, featuring four mobile vans that travel across states to raise awareness about their vocational education program among children. These vans serve as mobile classrooms and interactive learning spaces, where LAHI demonstrates and provides live examples of basic skills to children. From repairing objects to fixing various items, these demonstrations bring hands-on experiences to life, captivating the children’s interest and showcasing the practical applications of vocational skills. The mobile vans play a vital role in spreading awareness, igniting curiosity, and inspiring children to explore the possibilities of vocational education.
We will be sharing more about our learnings through multiple blogs. But this visit set the stage for us to think about their data problems and for creating a solution around it. Shoutout to Lobo and Vinod for pushing us to visit the team in person and for trusting us.