Youth unemployment in Bihar, India is a serious concern. According to the 2011 census it stood at 31%. More worryingly, by the beginning of 2013 there were nearly 2 million unskilled youth registered as unemployed. Due to a lack of education and vocational training the prospects are often bleak for these young people, meaning that the cycle of poverty is maintained.
Tzedek, along with our partner The Bureau of Obligate and Accompainer for Rural Development (BOARD), aims to combat this youth unemployment by running several vocational training schemes and providing microcredit business loans. These include tailoring, embroidery and basic computer training for 120 young women and car maintenance training for 40 young men. There is also a provision for up to 150 microcredit business loans for female entrepreneurs aged 20-35.
In providing 160 young people with new and employable skills, this project will make a huge impact on many lives. After learning new skills, it is expected that the average participants wage will rise from on average 48 Rupees (£0.50) per day to between 125-185 Rupees (£1.30-£1.90) per day. The microcredit business loans are expected to raise the average income of 48 Rupees (£0.50) per day to 110 Rupees (£1.15) per day. This extra income will give the participants access to health care and education opportunities, and will provide food security for themselves and their families.
In the first 6 months of the projects, 39 beneficiaries received high-quality training: 9 boys received training in diesel engine repairing, 10 girls in embroidery, 10 girls in computer skills and 10 girls in tailoring. They are now all employable. On top of that, 25 women have received seed money to start their own businesses. In the next 6 months, another 40 youths should benefit from the program.
A Day in the Life of a Beneficiary
Nitu Kumar is a 19 year old from Shahjahanpur. She is married and lives with her parents and brother, the house they live has no toilet or running water. Her entire family work as agricultural labourers and as a family they earn just 150 Rupees (1.50) each day, this is well below the international poverty line. Nitu’s average day starts at 4.30 am when she wakes, feeds the animals, cleans the house and helps bathe her brother. By 8.30 she has had breakfast and starts her work in the fields. She returns home at 5.00, cooks dinner, eats and is asleep by 8.00 pm. Nitu has recently started our tailor training project, run by BOARD, and she is expecting her personal wage to rise from 50 Rupees (£0.50) per day to 150 Rupees (£1.55) per day. This will lead to her family’s income increasing to 250 Rupees (£2.60) per day, lifting them above the international poverty line.