India has over 350 million young adults who are in working age (15 years - 29 years of age); 30% of who are Not in Education, Employment or Training (NEET). Further, less than 25% of them will make the transition to higher secondary education or technical education - a significantly smaller number of young women than young men. There are 3 significant reasons for this sharp drop as evidenced by the work that Antarang has been doing since 2013:
1. A lack of awareness of opportunities and the pathways to get there
2. A lack of resources and skills to take advantage of career opportunities
3. A lack of access to opportunities that would help vulnerable young adults build meaningful careers that would break the intergenerational cycle of poverty that their families were caught in.
Young women are especially vulnerable. The Labour Force Participation rate for young women, especially from urban low income communities, is less than 20%. Lack of financial independence, lack of agency to access the employment marketplace due to the lack of awareness of opportunities is even more underscored when it comes to young women.
In light of this crisis and the continuing exclusion of marginalised young adults, providing access to local employment opportunities and continuing to help these aspirational young adults stay relevant is even more critical. Our insights point to the need for investing in building agency and resilience doubly now - as marginalised young not only need to start believing that they too have their place in mainstream career opportunities but also be able to survive this crisis that has dealt a severe blow to them.
The COVID crisis has highlighted the need to address their emotional resilience and deep-seated fears in addition to building their awareness of self, careers, work skills and work ethics to bring about change in mindsets that would be sustained.
Bright Future was co-founded by Kishor Palve in 2009 with the aim of providing employment related support to youth from marginalized communities. Bright Future developed its program to transform youth potential into gainful employment and with EMpower’s support, Bright Future has actively reached out to a higher number of young women who would otherwise be at risk of early marriage. Ove the last few years, Bright Future’s team has been actively engaging with parents in the community to change mindsets related to women at work and uses ‘Drama for Development’ to achieve this.
Bright Future has set up a youth advisory council to engage their alumni and other youth in the community. Additionally, some of their program participants have been hired as full-time staff and an increasing number of new staff are from the communities that Bright Future works in – this helps them understand the community challenges first hand and accordingly customize program offering.
EMpower’s 6th grant to Bright Future will enable 84 young women and 36 young men to get employability skills training and placement support. Bright Future works in resource-poor communities and youth enrolled in this program are first time job seekers in the formal labor market with limited access to education and vocational support. Through career guidance, life skill development, mentorship and placement opportunities this program has been supporting youth – especially young women from resource poor communities in Mumbai to enter the formal workforce.
Primary Location: Mumbai
Funded Since: 2016
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