Sambhav Foundation team
“Should you find yourself in a chronically leaking boat, energy devoted to changing vessels is likely to be more productive than energy devoted to patching leaks.” ― Warren Buffet
Some 56% of employment created in India are gig jobs, and still, 40% of the nation’s workforce is unemployed and 23% of our youth are jobless, meaning a large portion of our population is unable to earn because of a lack of opportunities and skills. Instead of waiting for them, what if people created opportunities for themselves and others like them? At Sambhav Foundation, that is the question we sought to address.
Our Entrepreneurship Development Program works with the waste-picking community - both waste pickers themselves and their family members looking for employment - not only to skill them and enhance business capacities but also to guide and handhold them when they do begin their enterprises.
For the Saamuhika Shakti project, we developed and designed the entrepreneurship training programme with a curriculum and assessments that would suit the interests of waste pickers.
The general approach in a short-term entrepreneurship programme model is to train candidates with a specific trade skill to be self-employed. But for the collective impact project, we focused more on the candidates’ business skills. In our pilot project in Bengaluru, the course consisted of modules including soft skills, financial training, methods of networking, and digital and technical upskilling so candidates learn to use SAHI, our online staffing & business platform that connects small entrepreneurs to customers, and tracks and monitors income.
This pilot has been crucial in analyzing risk factors and other challenges that need to be addressed specifically for the waste-picking community.
To ensure that the people who train with us are able to independently sustain their businesses, we have included a post-training hand-holding phase, where we guide them with financial know-how, monitor their income and business models, and ensure they are connected to a larger network - we put the candidate at the heart of this phase of the training to give them a hands-on experience running an enterprise.
In one community, a single mother who attended our beautician training course, has been able to increase her income and ensure her children go to school. In another, a young woman has started financially supporting her family. A hearing and speech impaired woman, who was made to feel like a burden all her life because of her disabilities, attended our training diligently to show the world nothing can stop her.
Thirty-three-year-old Savitha from LR Nagar is one of five siblings. With no education to build herself a livelihood, Savitha jumped at the opportunity to attend our 200-hour self-employed training course. During the sessions, she not only picked up skills to earn a living but also grew more confident and independent.
Savitha now works as an independent tailor, with a set up in her home. She earns between Rs 3,000 and Rs 4,000 a month and hopes to expand her business as she earns more.
We have many such inspiring entrepreneurial stories from our self-employed tailoring and assistant beauty therapist courses. These are the significant qualitative results that we are proud to share, as we work towards our agenda of ensuring equal opportunities for all.
In the past few months of our work with the waste-picker community, we have seen how a lot of them do not live socially secure lives. But, when we share this world of entrepreneurship opportunities and the resources they need to get on board, we see their abundant enthusiasm to learn and earn.
With our pilot successfully running, we look forward to scaling the programme to other locations in collaboration with Saamuhika Shakti partners. We hope to continue supporting policies and build programmes with such close-knit ecosystems that promote knowledge and information exchange.