The World Bank Systematic Country Diagnostic for India in 2018 shows that 30.8% of India’s population aged 15-29 are NEETs (Not in education, employment or training). The Census of India (2011) findings show that adolescents from the poorer strata of society are not in the labour force due to lack of resources, skills, familial constraints and their poor economic conditions. High school education in India does not equip students with skills to get jobs or earn a livelihood in the formal workforce. In a 2017 study by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), where 150,000 youth appeared for an Employability Skills Test across domains, only 41% were found employable. A non-conducive educational environment and lack of positive role models for young people living in slum environments limit the career aspirations of youth and their ability to improve their livelihood opportunities. India’s education system is focused on exam results rather than on skill development, preparedness for higher education and jobs. Training on career planning and guidance for secondary school and higher education are not imparted in schools because most government schools are understaffed, have little to no teaching resources, lack infrastructure to deliver 21st century life skills and teachers are not trained or equipped to impart this knowledge. The existing vocational courses for youth rarely focus on developing multi-skill capabilities, problem-solving skills, and life skills. This, coupled with lack of resources, gender inequality and poverty, has resulted in young people not seeing the value of education with over 60% of students in India dropping out before high school graduation. Girls living in the slums communities, where Antarang works, are first generation learners and have limited access to vocational training skills. Of those who work, most follow their mothers and at a very young age are pigeonholed into exploitative jobs in the informal sector as domestic helpers, cleaners and daily wage workers as they lack any exposure to other potential job opportunities. In addition, a large number of youth in Mumbai slums are migrants from other states who lack documents of identity and city residence which further curtails their ability to find work in the formal sector.
Founded in 2012 by Priya Aggarwal, Antarang Foundation works with marginalized youth from urban, high risk communities in Mumbai to assist their transition from education to employment. Antarang equips economically vulnerable youth with core employability skills. It improves the education system by providing career guidance, awareness, mentorship as well as employment opportunities and long-term support. They developed two programs for youth: the Career Aware program for in-school youth (12-16 years) which encourages them to stay in school till they complete secondary school, and the Career Ready program, which provides a 15 month training to youth (17-24 years) on life skills development, technical skills training, business communication, supplemented by career guidance, mentorship, internship and placement assistance. Priya Aggarwal is a strong leader, with 25 years of experience: 10 in advertising and market research and 15 in civil society. Before founding Antarang, she led educational initiatives at Akanksha Foundation as COO and served as a Senior Advisor to EMpower grantee partner Aangan Trust in 2010. She was awarded an Ashoka Fellowship in 2015 for her work to provide career linkages to youth from low income backgrounds who are at a high risk of dropping out of the education stream and falling into the informal exploitative sector. Antarang received the Guidestar1 accreditation in 2015.
EMpower’s 1st grant to Antarang Foundation will enable 100 youth to acquire technical, employability and mentorship support to become competitive in the formal workforce.
Primary Location: Mumbai, India
Funded Since: 2018
Our Underwriters pay for all of our administrative and fundraising costs, so 100% of your donation goes directly to empowering at-risk youth.