United for Hope designs educational and vocational programmes to reach all members of the community. Classes take place in our community centre, which is has 24/7 electricity, a wifi connection, quality desks and teaching aids, and a computer lab.
Our after-school classes target motivated children who come from the community’s most disadvantaged families. Class topics include English, Computers and social skills. Classes follow modern methods and are supported by western volunteers. In addition to our after-school classes, we employ a full-time teacher in the local government school, and our western volunteers hold classes twice a week there around English and social skills.
We hold regular classes for young women with the aim of not only raising their educational and skills levels but also of increasing their confidence and helping them find their voice. Vocational training is designed to open up new income possibilities and bolster income generation in the village. Confidence training aids them in maneuvering their lives and family decisions within a highly patriarchal society.
Our programmes open up alternative income opportunities through a combination of vocational training and project implementation. The objective is to trigger behavioural change and to promote sustainable development in the local community. We offer basic employability courses like English and computer skills-building. Other trainings are chosen based upon our current and future social enterprise projects.
We conduct awareness campaigns and camps around community topics like WASH, disease awareness and prevention, and access to government programmes. These are done in our community centre but, more frequently, as door-to-door activities in order to reach those who are unable to or prevented from leaving home, especially women. Before we implement a new social enterprise, we inform the community around the new product or service to be offered and its importance to their health and wellbeing.
EDUCATION: The problem in context...
Successful social enterprise requires an educated, skilled workforce. Yet the state of education in India, and especially in Uttar Pradesh, is among the world’s worst. Reading and arithmetic capabilities are extremely low -- only half of all children in 5th grade can read a simple text meant for 2nd grade children. Gender inequality and poverty force many children, especially girls, out of school and into the workforce before their education is complete. Moreover, the education system is still mainly focused on frontal classes and rote exams. This produces students who lack the required academic, cognitive, and vocational skills to develop their personalities as well as their ideas. “Thinking out of the box” skills are important for entrepreneurs to run successful businesses.