BIS #6157 Don Bosco Nerul empowers young mothers through NIOS

by Cleric Christopher Nadar for BISMumbai

Don Bosco Nerul undertook intense food relief during the past few months and followed it up with reaching out to those most in need as the lockdown eases. Yet for the marginalized populations supported, not all were fortunate enough to earn a stable income. Some are in need of jobs. Various services like security, delivery, housekeeping, courier, etc., were studied, but not many openings were available. An intensive research on providing entrepreneurial assistance through various activities, were suggested: learn to earn from vending, making food produce, and the like. However, these activities need some skill, know-how and business acumen.

Coordinator Assumption George sent the many mothers of the underprivileged to procure jobs at DMart and some other large stores, but they were asked for at least a SSC certificate. This was the idea-spark that enabled the enrilling of the young mothers in the National Indian Open Schooling programme [NIOS] that offers direct attempts to clear Class X and XII after registering for a year. Self-study or tuition classes at a study center would guarantee the progress.

Father Blaise Fernandes, Project Director NIOS, contacted a private agency ’Kashvi’ that enrolls and teaches underprivileged women who would like to pass the NIOS exams.17 women (aged 35-45) were enthusiastic to enroll, of which 12 were selected. 05 did not pass the entrance test of a certain level of reading and writing Hindi. These are now being taught to read and write and will be enrolled as and when ready.

The other 12 women have started their online classes with Kashvi. “It is not just the subjects like languages and social sciences, etc that they are taught daily” adds Father Fernandes, “But there are small sessions at the end of the class”, ‘Team Spreading Smiles’ a volunteer group conducts spoken English classes every Wednesday. On Fridays sessions on communication skills, personal hygiene, trending fashions, motivational talks, savings-habits, personality development, etc. Thus there is some added value to attend the NIOS classes.

The ladies are excited about their ‘new found meaning in life’, as Lata points out, “I thought my life was complete, I have children, now have to wait for them to grow up, get married and that’s how my life will go, just caring for the family in the house, but now, I have so happy that I am dreaming to do something with my life, I can do better than what I have, this SSC has taught me that I have a chance, I have not wasted my life”. Another lady Maya adds, “ I used to be after my children to do their homework and to study, now they poke fun at me and tell me to do my homework and to study, it is so exciting, I like it” she chuckled. With support from Don Bosco Nerul, the women are sure to take care of their households in the future, live their dream and believe that their life is worthwhile.