The Sakhi Trust Youth Resource Center evolved out of the wish to address the issues of young people from vulnerable communities in Hosapete Taluka. The youth that comes to Hosapete from the nearby villages in order to work on their future often becomes a target of discrimination and exploitation, be it in their educational institutions, in hostels, at their workplaces or in health centers. Especially girls are sexually abused and prevented from accessing (even primary) education. Often, they are forced to stay out of school in order to support their families to fulfill their basic survival needs. Underage girls work in agricultural fields, mine sites, in urban slums as petty vendors and as domestic laborers or are forced to migrate seasonally in search of sustenance. They are being exploited and physically and sexually abused by contractors, landlords, mine owners, migrant workers and by men within their own communities and families. These conditions lead to severe malnutrition, diseases, emotional stress and mental health problems.
In order to rescue the girls from this helplessness and to enable young people to use their energy to defend themselves and develop constructively, Sakhi was formed as as a youth resource center. We now provide shelter, rehabilitation and development opportunities for young people in Hosapete and the nearby villages. Our main focus lies in providing educational support, creating safe spaces and shelter to prevent atrocities against girls and give them the opportunity to grow. This youth empowerment programme was initially supported by the youth organization Samvada through a fellowship of Dr. Bhagyalakshmi, who just had finished her doctoral studies on the situation of girls in the region of Hosapete. After a deepened analysis of the topic, she decided to take up the challenge of working on the empowerment of our youth.
Sakhi’s Education Assistance program provides a great opportunity for young people to become aware of their aspirations and dreams. Within the scope of the program, we financially support students from economically and socially backward communities to guarantee that they can continue their education. We aim at empowering this youth and making it possible for them to get the same development and career opportunities as the mainstream society.
In the year of 2017-2018, Sakhi Trust extended the educational support of tuition fees of 245 young people.
The total fee support that they received comes up to INR 442,000/-. Among the students were 169 girls, 97 of them were undergraduate students, the rest were pre-University and postgraduate students. They attended all different kinds of courses such as Law, Journalism, Biology, Humanities, Psychology and others. Without our program and support, this would not have been possible for these youths.
It should be noted that the fees do not only support the youth’s education itself, but that they also play an important role in opening the mindset of their parents. For some families, the fact that Sakhi takes care of their childs fees represent the only reason to allow their children to go to college or to workshops and exposures that are conducted by Sakhi. This counts for girls in particular. Through our workshops and long term programs, we therefore do not only educate the participants, but also their surroundings.
This year we have received applications from 282 young people out of whom we selected 250 to support. Our Sakhi animators identify students in need by visiting their homes in slums and villages. Furthermore, they help them to apply for the support. Sakhi’s project team then screens the applications and decides upon the qualified students.
We are grateful for AEI, AJWS, Global Giving, Aviratha-Bengaluru and MEWS Ladies club who generously contributed to the fees. Besides the financial support, the youths also participate in Sakhi’s youth programmes, as detailed below.
Crisis Intervention and Support
As our targeted people are from weaker sections of the society, they tend to be more vulnerable to vagaries. Hence, they may need assistance and support that differs from our regular educational support. With the Sakhi Short Stay Housing Facility programme we provide short stay and boarding facilities for those who are in distress.
However, from our experience in the past, we realized that youths – especially the ones from rural areas – need multiple facilities and different types of support in order to receive better education. Consequently, we now provide tuition-fee-support and training sessions in multiple topics besides our short stay program. These include computer literacy, spoken and written English and other skill-related topics. Moreover, we offer special coaching sessions for school dropouts. Ultimately, our aim is to ensure that no young person is denied access to good, efficient education and important life skills that are needed to lead a decent and dignified life.
To get an insight of our crisis intervention and short stay program, please visit Success Stories.
Children’s Supplementary Education Centers
Sakhi has promoted and still runs Children’s Supplementary Education Centers in government schools to provide educational support to the children, besides enabling Sakhi to mingle and get in contact with the local community. This year, Sakhi is directly in touch and working with 720 children in 15 government-run schools of Hosapete Taluka.
Through these centers, Sakhi sensitizes both parents and students on social issues such as child marriage, the Devadasi system and children’s rights. Finally, children become ‘Ambassadors/ Change agents’ to disseminate the gained knowledge to their communities. Our youth facilitators are the key in bridging school and community.
Making learning as friendly and simple for children and providing good environment are major objectives of the programme. Apart from the regular syllabus, developing leadership skills, discussing in groups, singing, drawing, essay writing and other extracurricular activities are conducted. Besides this, Sakhi animators provide regular one-on-one counseling with children.
Awareness and Sensitization Programmes for Youths
Sakhi Trust also conducts a variety of workshops, training sessions and sensitization programmes for the youth groups of the Yuvadwani Youth Federation and as well as for youths in hostels and villages. The workshops/ training sessions treat major topics such as the Panchayat Raj System, Youth and Caste, Handcrafts Tax, Higher Education, Career Guidance, Gender and other topics. After participating in these sessions, the youths are constrained to think about developing their own campaigns or initiatives.
This year, children participated in the ‘Sensitization Programme on the Environment’. The participating children planted trees next to their homes and had discussions about the environment and how to save it. Ultimately, they shared their new gained experience with others.