One of ETASHA’s major goals is to train disadvantaged youth and help them find employment. But for that to happen, those youth first need to be found and introduced to an ETASHA center. This is one of the reasons for which the community team exists. Led by Nitesh Parakh, this group of ETASHA employees searches the communities for potential students, and spreads word about ETASHA, employability, vocational training and career guidance across the various communities. “To find needy trainees, we do whatever we can. We contact other NGOs, we contact some local people, we send out our pamphlets,” Nitesh explained.
Naturally, this means that Nitesh and his team spend most of their time in the local communities, searching for young adults to bring into the organization. I recently had the chance to interview him when he had a rare spare minute while at Madanpur Khadar.
I learned that Nitesh immensely enjoys the process of touring the communities, searching for people that his organization can provide with training and employment. Unfortunately, though, some trainees are not always so receptive. Nitesh pointed out, “The hardest part is being able to convince potential trainees of the long term benefits of vocational training in a three month program before looking for and finding employment. Many of them want immediate employment, which is just too unrealistic given their skill sets.” Thus, not only must Nitesh identify possible trainees, but he must also outline to them specifically what ETASHA can realistically do to help them.
Despite the difficulties his job entails, Nitesh loves braving scorching heat and crowded streets on a regular basis to interact with less fortunate youth. “I like being able to think that the information I’m about to provide them with will help turn their lives around,” he explained. “Being able to convince them to join ETASHA and seeing the hope in their eyes—it’s fantastic.”
By utilizing all of its resources, ETASHA is able to ensure that young people from impoverished communities continue to show interest in training and in the organization. Nitesh told me that there are four main ways new trainees come to ETASHA: 1.) a trainee comes into direct contact with a member of the community mobilization team, 2.) someone (a friend or neighbour) has told them about ETASHA, 3.) He/she reads one of our pamphlets or talks to one of our alumni, 4) the trainee joins a program from another NGO or Vocational Training Partner.
However, the community team’s job doesn’t just end there. After this, the process of registration for new trainees begins, in which trainees are brought to the centers for the first time and their skills are assessed, so that proper class placement can take place. If the student meets the minimum requirements, then he/she is welcome to register with ETASHA and take a three month course. At this point, the trainees join the facilitators for training, and the community team’s job continues: identify trainees, counsel him/her, assess the trainees’ skills, place him/her in classes, and repeat.
Although he has only been at his post for a few months, Nitesh has already made several fond memories. His favorite to date was being present at the Certificate Ceremony, held on the 19th and 20th of June. In the future, he hopes to continue to use ETASHA as a platform to exercise his devotion to helping others in need and changing lives in a positive way.