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INDIA: Women’s Vocational Training

FCF project partner Family Development Services (FDS) has been involved in a range of educational development programs in the state of Karnataka since 2004.

The WIN Project—with its motto, “Helping women in need to win in life”—is the latest initiative of FDS. Targeting women from the poor socio-economic DJ Halli slums in Bangalore, the WIN Project offers vocational training in sewing and tailoring, along with mentoring in job and life skills. The program was designed to empower these hard-working, yet poorly educated and severely disadvantaged women, with the self-confidence and skills necessary to WIN in life.

In its pilot phase, 50 women enrolled in the program, attending three-hour classes, six days a week. Professional tailors provide hands-on instruction and conduct regular performance assessments to ensure course comprehension and satisfactory progress. Upon completion of the six month course the women receive a certificate of competency. Obtaining income-generating skills is an invaluable resource for these marginalized women, enabling them to become financially independent and better able to care for their children and provide them with educational opportunities.

FDS plans to expand this program to additional training locations throughout Bangalore and include trades such as gold thread embroidery and henna design.

The FDS flagship program, Building Blocks, successfully operates six kindergarten schools near Bangalore slums, providing a well-rounded two-year educational program with a solid foundation in English for 650 slum children, ages 4 and 5. This allows these children, who would otherwise not be able to attend school due to economic reasons, to later enroll in English-medium primary schools.