“I used to sit idle at home; this made me always feel very tense. Now, after the training, simply by working for 4-5 hours a day I manage to stitch around 2,000 leaves. I earn 2,000 Rupees a month, and with that money I am able to contribute to my family’s expenses and send my daughter to school.”
Mrs Pushpa Gorai, who lives in a rural area near Bankura, West Bengal, is one of the many villagers who were trained under the Vocational Education and Training (VET) project, co-funded by the European Union and carried out by Welthungerhilfe India and local partners. Mrs Goraj completed a 5-day course on sal leaf stitching in 2010, where she learnt to prepare plates later used for serving and packaging food. She receives the leaves and thread from a nearby factory – started and owned by another VET trainee – where she then sends the stitched leaves to be finalized and prepared for the market. The pride and happiness coming from her new job, and the financial independence that comes with in, can be seen in her beautiful smile.
Under the VET project, more than 4,000 rural youth have been trained on sustainable agriculture, animal husbandry, fishery and palm juice making in West Bengal, Orissa and Jharkhand.