Paisa hi sab kuch hai (Money is everything). I can’t live in a chawl. I need to live in a flat,” said Sairaj Salve, 15. To break the shackles of poverty and limited means is the sentiment that echoes among the youth of Ghatkopar.
SNEHA runs a programme – Adolescents Gaining Ground– for the youth in the area to empower adolescents with the knowledge and capacity to make informed choices about their physical, sexual and reproductive health and well-being through a regular series of health and life skills education sessions. The programme also focuses on enhancing employability skills of these community youth through the provision of vocational training of their choice and interest. On the occasion of International Youth Day, which falls on August 12, some of these youths got together to speak about their career prospects, their aspirations, dreams and the challenges they have to face to achieve those dreams.
The Ghatkopar youths clearly aspired for a white collared job and a more comfortable life. Many of them held full time or part time jobs while completing their college education. Because of their impoverished backgrounds, some have even been compelled to complete their education through correspondence courses.
“I am used to working and studying now. I go to Night College and then work a full night shift. I get to sleep in the daytime. Its not that bad,” said Ratnasheel Kamble, 21, said in a nonchalant manner. Kamble works at a petrol pump.
Salve said he wants to complete his bachelor’s in banking and insurance. “It is ideal. Students get placed immediately after college,” said Salve who is studying in college.
Like all youngsters their age, these youngsters are a confused lot. They do not know what skills can help them in their future careers. SNEHA is guiding these youngsters with their career choices and is supporting their vocational training.
Ashish Gore, who is studying in first year BSc wants to study computer languages. “I want to run a business and work in a job too. There is limited income in jobs,” said Gore.
Like Kamble, many have worked in the past as sales persons, or at the call centre. These jobs are very demanding. Many had a tough time adjusting that and studies. For instance, Zubair Shah who finished his 12th standard says that he had a tough time travelling to Dombivali for a sales job of mobile cards. Many expressed that such physically jobs offer them no major monetary gain and career scope.
Some like Abdul Ansari who is studying for graduation via correspondence has no option. He says he needs to support his family.
“Sometimes I had to take very abusive calls. They wouldn’t pay us the whole salary and not even on time. I am now desperate for a job, ” said Ansari who worked for several call centres in the past.