Women are leveling the playing field

Nineteen year old Komal, from Rewari in Haryana, dropped out of high school when her parents were unable to pay her school fees. She wished to continue her schooling but had to give up her dreams instead and take up odd jobs to help out. Her father runs a street food stall and his monthly earnings are not enough to support a family of four. Komal’s life changed when she joined a beautician’s course in AIF’s Market Aligned Skills Training (MAST) program. After completing her training she gained employment with Navrang Beauty Parlour, where she has been working for the last seven months. “I never imagined I would ever be able to handle things like facials, haircuts, and makeup, it looked well beyond my reach. The MAST course also taught me how to interact with clients. My social skills have improved and so has my self-confidence.” Tani Jain, one of Komal’s regular clients, says, “I love Komal’s hair spa and head massage, she has gentle but firm hands.” India’s rapid growth has given rise to provincial towns and the transformation of surrounding villages. Local youth regularly seek work in factories or through self-employment. Rewari is one such town in the state of Haryana where MAST is harnessing the vast potential of India’s youth to power the country’s growing industries and address the country’s increasing lack of qualified labor. Through market-aligned curricula and hands-on training, MAST provides the knowledge and skills needed for young people to succeed in the workforce. Today Komal’s income as a beautician has more than doubled. She is saving to start her own beauty parlor where she says she will be able to employ skilled persons from the MAST center. “Earlier, I used to wonder what my future would be, whether I would have to help my father in his food stall or continue doing odd jobs. Now I have no fears,” she beams proudly. “I want to build up a good reputation and have regular clientele.”

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