Empowering Educated Rural Women

We are empowering underprivileged rural women (girls) to build their capacities and transform rural education through Girl Empowerment Clubs

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Eligibility

  • Yes, I fulfill all of the eligibility criteria.

Initiative's representative name

Baljeet Yadav

Initiative's representative date of birth

17/01/1992

Initiative’s representative gender

  • Man

Which eligible market are you based in?

  • India

Where are you making a difference?

Rural interior villages of Karnal district in Haryana, India.

Website or social media url(s)

https://hundred.org/en/innovations/varitra-foundation, varitra.com, https://www.linkedin.com/company/varitra-foundation/, https://www.instagram.com/varitrafoundation/, https://www.youthkiawaaz.com/2018/08/youths-transforming-government-schools-in-haryana/, https://www.facebook.com/varitrafoundation/, https://twitter.com/Varitra2,

When was your organisation founded?

January 2018

Focus areas

  • Helping people adapt to technologies of the future
  • Reskilling and upskilling the workforce

Project Stage

  • Growth (have moved past the very first activities; working towards the next level of expansion)

Yearly Budget: How much capital do you need to accomplish your proposed project?

  • $10k - $50k

Organisation Type

  • Non-profit / NGO

1. Founding story: Share a story about the "Aha!" moment that led the founder(s) to get started or the story of how you saw the potential for this to succeed

Born in a small agrarian family, I have first-hand experience of the hunger challenges faced by children and women in rural areas. Youth in rural areas don't have access to proper education and they are left out of the competitive world due to lack of English speaking skills, life skills and other leadership skills. Being good at study, I got chances to study in best universities of country and worked in metro cities. It was my exposure to urban space, good colleges that I have many opportunities in hand. But back in my village my friends were unemployed and jobless. I wanted to do something for rural youth to empower them to become more skillful and employable. In Jan 2018, I left my job to work for underprivileged rural youth

2. The problem: What problem surrounding employability or financial capability are you helping to solve?

About 2 million graduates and half a million post-graduates are unemployed in India. The high rate of unemployment among the educated is both due to the lack of sufficient jobs and poor schooling as well as the low quality of education in colleges and schools. The biggest challenge of employability is for women in rural areas. They are not allowed to work even after having good qualifications due to patriarchal nature of society.

3. Your Solution: How are you planning to solve this problem? Share your specific approach.

Two biggest hindrances in finding qualified and employable youth in rural areas are: 1. Unavailability of quality education in rural government schools, 2. Educated women not allowed to work. We envisioned empowering these women and tapping their potential to transform rural government schools. This way it was meeting two purposes at one time. He started Varitra Foundation to provide quality education to rural children with the support of local women volunteers. These women volunteers teach at the post school remedial centres in their village itself. These are the women who are well educated but are not allowed to work outside of their village. It is not only providing them employment but it is also providing them a life of dignity, they are no more dependent on their family members (husband or father) for sustenance. Also, Varitra Foundation is providing them training on leadership, life skills, teaching practices, classroom management, curriculum, etc. Some volunteers are being sent to metro cities for workshops and trainings and this is slowly creating a momentum among these women to become independent. Now they are treated in better manner at their homes.

4. How are you innovating or using unique approaches to solving the problem?

First and most important task for us is to identify the right talent which will become a very good human resource to transform her village school. This way we will be able to build a momentum in target villages and it will inspire other girls and women to come out of their houses and start working. These women become Varitra’s volunteers and they start teaching at our post school remedial centres for 3 hours on the daily basis. Orientation training of 15 days and periodic training is being provided to them. Various development organizations are being invited to provide trainings to our volunteers. The idea is to give them more and more exposure about development sector so that they become valuable resource for development sector.

5. Employability: how is your organization or project teaching people to develop the skills that they need to survive in the future job market?

Lack of employable skills, constraint to work outside their villages, lack of desirable opportunities, are preventing our volunteers from getting employment. They have potential and knowledge but recognition of their talent is very less. Due to patriarchal nature of society, girls and women are discouraged to work. First, we break this taboo and then we start working on their life-skills slowly. They are given teaching work which has acceptability in the society. Once our volunteers start coming out of their houses, they are exposed to various kind of leadership, life-skill, management and development sector related trainings. Once our volunteer start working in remedial centres they are provided handhold support. Most of them show high commitment at their work, since they are getting opportunity to work and a dignified life. They also start getting respect in their villages.

5a. Please describe which future-oriented skills your organization is focused on fostering and how you have measured / plan to measure progress

Volunteers are trained on three skills: life-skills, teaching skills and management skills. Life skills include such as communication and interpersonal skills, decision making and problem solving, critical thinking, self-awareness and empathy. Teaching skills include classroom management, reading and writing skills, session preparation, documentation skills and assessment skills. And management skills which are taught include personal management, public speaking and stakeholder management. Our volunteers are exposed to these trainings during two years of period.

6. Financial capability: how is your organization or project creating innovative solutions that arm people with ability to optimize their current and future financial health

We provide honorarium to our each volunteer so that they can support their higher education or become independent from their family during this learning process at Varitra Foundation. Varitra makes sure its volunteers are placed after two years of journey or they attain higher education for better employability and become source of inspiration in their communities. Varitra works with Self Help Groups (SHGs) in the villages. Women contribute small amount of money in these SHGs and have been able to save lot of money in past few years. Varitra is exploring formal partnerships with these SHGS to provide livelihood opportunities to these women and Varitra volunteers can lead in handling of field operations of these livelihood projects. This way our volunteers will be employed in sustained manner and will be emplloying other women of their villages.

7. Marketplace: Who else is addressing the same problem? How does the proposed project differ from these approaches?

There are many organisations (NSDC, Labournet, Dasra, N/Core, etc.) involved in skill training in India but these organisations are providing training for private sector or for businesses. None of them is providing training for development sector. Because of which a large chunk of human resource is left out in rural areas as these women are not allowed to work in private sector. Varitra Foundation is providing employability training to these women. There are 3.2 million registered NGOs in India and NGOs face challenge to find right human resource for their projects.

8. Impact: How has your project made a difference so far?

Over the past two years, Varitra has worked with 52 volunteers in 20 villages. These 52 volunteers have worked with 1500+ children in their respective villages. Varitra is targeting to train 250 volunteers till 2025 and positively impact more than 20,000 stakeholders. Renu has done Masters in Commerce (MCOM) but she was not allowed to go for higher studies or to work anywhere. She was not allowed to go outside her village. When Varitra got to know about her, we approached her parents and informed them about our work. Since she had to work in her village only, her parents said yes after some hesitation. After training she started working in her village remedial centre and government schools. Due to her efforts, 20 dropped out girls got admission into school and attendance of children in school improved. These days she is preparing for govt. exams. Pooja got job at a reputed school.

9. Financial Sustainability Plan. Can you tell us about you plan to fund your project and how that plan will be sustainable in the short, medium, and long term?

Short term: We are supported by some incubation centres in India to support salary of our staff. We are approaching individuals in local area to support us. Mid-term: Villagers will be supporting our remedial centres as it is benefiting their children and they don’t have to spend money on tuitions. This way we will be able to save money for honorarium of our volunteers and some of our volunteers will be getting regular employment. Long-term: We are approaching corporate for CSR projects to support us and also approaching government to adopt the project. We are planning to scale up the project to 100 villages in the coming 5 years in partnership with government. This way we will creating a revolution by women.

10. Team

We are seven full-time members. Founding members are Ayeshna Kalyan, Baljeet Yadav and Narendrayash Das. Due to our efforts in development sectors, Varitra Founders have received many recognitions like GP Birla Women Leaders Fellowship, Pravah Changelooms Fellowship, Wipro Seeding Fellowship, Edumentum Fellowship, etc. We have 5 advisors: Dr. Ramji Lal, Neha Buch, K L Mukesh, Ulhas Vaigrakar, Sandeep Mann in our board.

Help Us Support Diversity! Are you a member of an under-served , under-represented, or marginalized group in your country of residence? (yes/no) (this question is optional – if you choose to fill it out, the response will not be shared with your fellow contestants)

  • Socioeconomic class

If you selected “yes” to any of the categories above, please explain how being a member of this group has impacted you and your work?

I come from a backward class and from a very poor family. Due to poo socio-economic background, I had to face many challenges in schooling and study. I had to cycle 8-10 KMs to reach school. I had to work at my fathers' farm after school hours. I had to take buffaloes for feeding in evening and had to skip games with friends.

How did you hear about this challenge?

  • Social media

11. Bring it to life: Please walk us through a concrete example of how your solution will solve the problem you’re trying to address

Varitra team interacts with various village leaders and identify volunteers. Babita who has done but due to lack of employability skills she couldn't get a job and afer marriage only involved in household activities. Once she joins Varitra, she meets another volunteers like her from other villages. Babita is provided life-skills training at Varitra through partner organisations and she goes back to her village to interact with women on education of their girls. She maps problems and challenges associated with drop out girls, college & school going girls and curates a plan to mitigate these problems and challenges. Varitra team supports her and guides her in this journey. Babita starts Learning Centre in her village where she teaches underprivileged girls in evening to improve their learning levels, leadership skills and creates a safe space in the village.

12. Skills Matching: HSBC Employees will have the opportunity to offer skilled-volunteering. If matched, which of the following skills would you be most interested in receiving?

  • Marketing Strategy, Design
  • Brand Development
  • Multimedia
  • Web/Mobile Development

13. Financial Sustainability – funding breakdown: please list a quick breakdown of your funding, indicating an estimated percentage that comes from each source.

Individual donation - 20%

Fundation or NGO grants - 50%

Grants - 15%

Consultancy-15%

14. Financial Sustainability – please tell us more about how you plan to fund and scale your project over the next 12 months.

Around 50% of our current funding comes from foundation incubations. This funding part is sustainable for three years. For individual donations and grants, Varitra looks for funding every year. We spend 60% on HR, 27% on our Learning Centre run by our volunteers, 8% on admin and overhead and 7% for capacity building & exposure of our volunteers. All our field volunteers are paid so that they feel dignified and put more focus in learning and magnifying on-ground impact of Varitra Foundation. Major portion of our funding gets spent towards paying salaries and capacity building of our team and volunteers. We believe in investing in stregthening human skills and developing local leadership. We are also training our volunteers to raise funds for themselves so that they become independent changemakers and lead a life of transformers.

15. Growth Strategy: What are your main strategies for scaling your impact?

Varitra believes in scaling up of the idea whether that is with our organisation or in partnership with other organisations. We collaborate with organisations, individuals who have relevant skills, expertise and try to incorporate their skills, expertise in our idea. Currently, we have more than seven partern organisations across country and we will scaling up our idea in collaboration with these organisations. We are ready to share our curriculums, documents and trainings with likeminded people. 

16. Activating changemakers: How are you giving people the power to control their own destiny and support other people to become changemakers in their communities?

We are empowering our changemakers by enhancing their employability and life skills. Each volunteer is being provided trainings on different components. We have partner organisations to train the vounteers on these components. 

Also, we emphasize of peer learning and each month we organise peer learning workshops for volunteers. At monthly peer learning workshops, our volunteers get chance to showcase their talent and it has been notices that it enhances their interest in learning. 

17. Awards & Recognitions: What awards or recognitions, if any, has the project received so far?

Varitra has been incubated at following prestigious centres in the past two years:

1. Pravah Chagelooms fellowship

2. Wipro Seeding Fellowship

3. G P Birla Women Leadership Fellow

4. Edumentum 

5. Project has been featured in business standard, the tribue and many local newspapers.

18. Tell us about how collaborations and partnerships would enhance the scalability and impact of your project

Varitra has partnerd with seven organisations, one university and one school to enhance quality, scalibility and impact of our project. Some of our partners are Astha Trust, The Eighth Dimension Consultancy, Share A Book, All India Institute of Local Self Governance (AIILSG), Arpana Trust, Mantra4Change, LabourNet, etc.

Finally - Your Selfie Elevator Pitch: Share a 1-minute video that shares a quick summary of the problem you would like to solve, how you’ve chosen to solve it, and the impact you hope to see.

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