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Training and equipping are key elements of life at Atulya Home, as we aim that each woman will become empowered to live independently when she graduates from Atulya. This includes:


Helping women complete their education as far as they can go

Coaching our residents how to resolve conflicts in relationships

Training women to persevere through challenges and struggles

Connecting women to paid internships and apprenticeships


Knowing vocational development is crucial, we provide training both in attaining job skills and in building a strong work ethic, through which women can grow in the values of faithfulness, hard work, punctuality, and doing their best with excellence.


We recently interviewed three of our residents—Rupali, Indra and Fareen*-- to hear their perspective on a one-year sewing & tailoring apprenticeship in which they are enrolled...


Tell us about your tailoring apprenticeship.

Fareen: We are being trained at a small manufacturing unit that makes clothes and speciality items for export.

Indra: We work Monday to Friday afternoons and receive a monthly stipend.

Rupali: We travel together by bus each day to and from the tailoring centre.

Fareen: The woman who trains us finished this same apprenticeship herself a few years ago!



What do you think of the tailoring training?

Rupali: It’s good! I never really liked sewing before, but I’m enjoying learning lot of new things there. At the moment, we’re learning how to make backpacks; before that, the trainers taught us how to make kurta/pyjama suits and cosmetic bags. We have also been learning about different fabrics and how to use them.

Indra: I’m thankful for it. It’s difficult, but it’s a new experience for me.

Fareen: I like it. I have had some training in sewing before, but I’m learning new things here. I find making bags quite hard, especially putting in the zipper, so it’s good to be learning these things. I really enjoy sewing and want to be a tailor in the future.


Apart from sewing, what else are you learning?

Fareen: We’re travelling alone, so I’m learning to take responsibility for myself now.

Rupali: Yes, we’ve had to learn to be careful on the roads as there is a lot of traffic these days!

Indra: Travelling on our own is teaching me how to be independent as well as to look out for others and to do things together.


Rupali: I have also been learning about money and how to use it, how to save, how to budget and decide what’s important to buy so that I don’t waste my money on other things.

Indra: I feel very privileged to get the money. Someone is teaching us and yet we are still being paid! It’s such a good opportunity. I’m learning how to save money. I’m also now seeing the value of things: I realise that before, I never used to take the cost of things seriously.

Fareen: I’m also learning how to save my money as well as how to buy things.



Rupali: I am learning to do the best I can in my work and to be careful with the items we are working on. The motto in the training centre is, “Always be neat and clean”!

Indra: It’s teaching me to work calmly and to focus on what I’m doing. I can feel my level of concentration is increasing.

Fareen: I have been learning to work hard, to do well and to take care in my work.

Indra: I’ve also been learning to keep going and not give up no matter how hard I find the work. If I keep trying, then I will be able to do it, and the result will be mine—I will be able to see what I have achieved.


We continually hunt for apprenticeships and on-the-job training opportunities in a variety of sectors. In case you know of a good option, please share it with us, as it could help other women like Rupali, Indra or Fareen in the future! (Write us at contact@newgenerationtrust.org)


To donate to NGT to support Atulya Home and our other efforts to empower the marginalised, please click here.



*Names changed to protect identity


“It’s difficult to even earn Rs. 200 in a day,” laments Deepa* during my recent visit to GB Road.“Some days I don’t even get that.”


Covid-19’s radical jolt on everyone worldwide has indeed impacted the women in GB Road. During lockdowns, they experienced dramatic financial loss. With no customers, their source of income was gone. Many women returned to their villages, but for those who remained, things were very difficult. They were left to survive on their savings (earnings usually set aside to send to their families) and on the help of NGOs and police who provided rations. For a long time, the brothels were running with a fraction of the normal number of women, and only recently have some ladies started to return from their villages.


Walking down the street on this hot day, we have bumped into Deepa sitting with a group of women outside their brothel, using old Styrofoam boxes for stools. They offer us a box and we sit to join them. Comments about the 40-degree heat turn into complaints about lack of business.


Deepa’s face changes, though, when asked about her family. She shows photos of her little granddaughter dressed up in a fairy outfit, and her eyes light up. It used to be that women in GB Road would tell me about their children, but many women—with wide smiles—are proudly announcing that they are now grandmothers.



The same happens at our next stop. We climb narrow stairs, squeezing close to the grimy wall as customers walk down, our eyes adjusting to the darkness. It’s cooler inside, up off the street. The women sitting in the dimly lit hall invite us in and we sit down on the concrete benches. The only decoration is a clock, a large mirror, and pictures of various deities. Buckets of water are stored under the benches, while around the room sit neatly arranged piles of pots, plates, cups, a mug with toiletry items, and small gas burners. Some women are lying on the floor, trying to catch up on sleep, one woman is chopping vegetables, while others are sitting around chatting.



Asha,* recently returned from the village, fills this room with stories of her own grandchildren: how they love to dance, how they talk with her, and how they easily convince her to buy them the clothing they want. Asha speaks as if she is shocked about her 3-year-old granddaughter’s brazen demands, but it is clear she enjoys being ordered around by this child who has won her heart.



Of course, some things don’t change—Covid or no Covid—and as has happened many times before, the main topic of conversation turns to questions of when will I marry and have children? This curiosity about my marital state always seems a little ironic, considering the horrific ways many women have been treated, not only by the customers but by their own husbands and families. Yet despite this, most women I meet on GB Road can’t understand why, at my age, I am not yet married. I leave today’s visit inundated with renewed offers to help me find a husband and to look after my future children!


As I begin the journey home, I gaze back at the long row of brothels and think of the women inside whom I personally know—mothers and grandmothers, each trying to make her way in this ailing world that longs for love.


*Names changed to protect identity.

 

NGT’s Atulya GB Road project seeks to come alongside sex workers and transgenders, offering listening ears and loving hearts that give practical help with medical, emotional, and social needs.

To support this effort donate HERE.

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A canopy of lush green trees provided temporary relief from the hot summer sun as our team from the New Generation Trust (NGT) set up a Medical Camp late one afternoon recently. We wanted to support people living on the roadside in one particular area of Delhi. These were families we had met earlier in the COVID-19 pandemic when we had given out food rations, followed by regular visits to get to know them more. While we sometimes gave medical care on these visits, we knew that arranging for doctors to be on hand could greatly help. We selected a spot near two different settlements, hoping to make ourselves more accessible for people of different communities.


For that evening, the shady area under the trees became a Triage and Consultation Area for the two doctors who graciously volunteered their time. We used NGT’s Mobile Clinic from our Jesiah project as a dispensary to give out medicines prescribed by the doctors.


By 5 pm we saw a steady stream of people lining up to register to meet with the doctors. Many of the patients were children. People came with complaints of gastritis, skin rashes, fungal infections, and pigmentation problems. Some had wounds on their feet which needed attention. Whether due to poverty, lack of understanding about available systems, caution due to negative experiences in the past, or the desperation of daily survival, for one reason or another people had not yet sought the medical help they needed.


An older man came with extreme stomach pain, which was remedied by simple medicines. After he walked home and took the medicines, he later returned, all smiles, to thank the team for helping him to feel so much better.


Some young men pulled one of our male team members aside and shared that they felt hesitant to share their medical concerns with the female doctors on site. When it was their turn to be seen by the doctors, our team member walked over with them to bridge the gap.


One of our project leaders chatted with women waiting in line, listening to their concerns. Most mothers expressed a desire for their children to receive tuition to help with their schooling. NGT’s Sahaitha team provides non-formal educational support to at-risk women and children, so we will explore how we might assist the people educationally in this neighbourhood in the future.


NGT is grateful for Delhi police personnel who checked in during the Camp to make sure everything stayed in order. We appreciate that those who came for treatment waited patiently for their turns. We thank the busy doctors who set aside the day to work with us to help the people of this neighbourhood. We are also following up with those patients who needed ongoing treatment beyond what could be done in one sitting.


In the coming months we hope to continue Medical Camps periodically. We will also encourage families to take their children to a nearby dispensary to receive immunisations, as we’ve come to see that most families have not kept these up-to-date.

 

Jesiah is a project of the New Generation Trust.

To donate towards the medical camps or other works of NGT please click here.

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