Yashoda Foundation’s Abhaya programme helps 3000 deserving orphaned candidates build a livelihood
Day starts early for 18-year-old Poojitha who works as a domestic help in Moula Ali. She, however, has bigger dreams and doesn’t mind waking up at 4 am every day for work as she has classes to attend at 9 am at the Yashoda Foundation in Secunderabad where orphan youngsters like her are trained for the job market.
“After this three-month course, I don’t have to live like this anymore. I am an orphan who has to take care of a younger sister, and earning a mere Rs 4,000 a month isn’t enough. As a nurse I’ll be paid Rs 10,000. This will change both of our lives,” she said with a grin.
Poojitha is one among 50-odd students in her current batch who now look forward to a new life as an entry level employee in different multi-national companies and hospitals across Hyderabad.
Started in 2011 with an intention to empower and socially include orphan youth through employment, Yashoda Foundation’s ‘ABHAYA’ programme has, so far, trained and placed 3,000 deserving youngsters in multiple retail chains and call centres in the city.
“In our tenth year when we were commercially comfortable, we decided to open an orphanage home. For this, we visited close to 10 orphanages in the city where we found a common problem. As soon as the child attained 18 years of age, they were asked to leave without any support or job. I was informed that the government too doesn’t offer any financial support after the age of 18. So, our Board of Directors decided to take such children into our fold and train them to earn their livelihood,” said G Ravindra Rao, chairman of Yashoda Group of Hospitals.
Ravindra then started the ABHAYA programme which was designed as a three-month-long course to train students in three major foundation subjects namely life skills, communicative English and basic computer skills. The training is free of cost and includes free accommodation, food and transportation charges for the candidates.
Occasionally, the students are also taken out for outdoor activities and trained personally to face job interviews in order to build their confidence.
“The students joining us here have low self-esteem and confidence issues. Hyderabad is a competitive city and they are clearly intimidated. So, it usually takes them a month to settle here and open up. But, once they do, they are determined to do something with their lives,” said Aruna Jyothi, assistant manager at the Yashoda Foundation.
Aruna, along with six full-time faculty members, is responsible for running this intense three-month course that only enrolls unmarried and semi- or fully-orphaned candidates aged between 16 and 21 years.
Inducting these candidates, however, is a tedious process as it requires a dedicated student identification team on field that works with Anganwadi workers, government teachers and representatives from slum areas across Hyderabad to find potential students.
Every month, the course recruits over 50 students, classes for whom are customised with interactive audio and visual presentations in Telugu, Hindi and English to make it more accessible.
“I learnt English here through these interactive classes. All the motivational videos that I saw here helped me get a job as a nurse in Yashoda Hospital and I cannot be more grateful. I’ve been working for almost one-and-a-half years now and my life has clearly changed for better,” said 21-year-old Supriya, who lost her mother as a toddler in Nalgonda.
Director on the board of Yashoda Foundation, Rajendra Aekka, was quick to point out how the foundation is working hard to meet the growing demand for skilled workers like Supriya.
“We often get positive feedback from our clients D-mart, Metro, Hyderabad Central and even NIIMS about our students. They are very hard-working as for them it is an opportunity to lead a new life. We are working towards expanding this course as there is no dearth of jobs for these bright youngsters,” he concluded.
To know more about the foundation and the programme, visit www.yashodafoundation.in or call 040-67779216, 214,411.