Literacy India - Education, Empowerment, Employment
Indraani Singh is a pilot of large Airbus and Boeing aircrafts and flies for Air India to the whole world. She is one of few female pilots for such large machines. In India, Indraani is a role model for many women who want to achieve something. She even appears regularly on Indian TV and other media talking about the topic how Indian women can succeed in the male-dominated Indian society.
Indraani started the NGO "Literacy India" in 1996. Now, the NGO has 15 centres in New Delhi, Gurgaon, Rajasthan and West Bengal. The headquarters are located in Gurgaon, near the international airport of New Delhi, where Literacy India is also running a school with 35 classes, 35 teachers and 700 students aged 3-16 years, and where around 300 women are producing paper products, decoration objects, cloths and boxes.
Most of the women are casteless and come from very conservative villages. Traditionally, it is not allowed for them to participate in any kind of income-generating activities, which would allow them to improve the income situation of the family. Many are even not allowed to speak within their own house and domestic violence is a common reality for these women. As also the men of this class of society lacks basic education, it is unlikely that the casteless will ever be able to improve their lives, characterised by poverty, unemployment and lack of opportunity, under their own power.
The aims of Literacy India are summarized in the 3 E's - Education, Empowerment and Employment. Women, but also male children and youth (the next generation) get education in the Literacy India school and in learning groups. Empowerment includes aspects such as awareness about their situation and creation of confidence - Literacy often uses role models to inspire the women. For income-generation, literacy India is running vocational training programs and offers employment to the women in its own production sites for above mentioned products.
There are many cases that show how the life of such women and families has improved through the efforts of Literacy India. One woman for example, who previously wasn't allowed to speak even within her own family, is now member of the Panchayat, the local government body on a village level.
The success of the production and sales of cloths, boxes, decoration objects etc. is strongly connected to the creativity and hard work of Indraani Singh. She has a sense for products which are in demand on the Indian and international market. Instead of for example just replicating the purely traditional styles of handbags of a certain region, the focus of Literacy India's design of handbags lies in the fusion of styles from various Indian states. Women from West Bengal are for instance coming to Gurgaon to teach the Gurgaon members of Literacy India about their local handcraft skills. Designs from Kerala masks are being combined with the typical patterns and materials found in masks from Maharashtra. Such products are much more popular in India than the purely traditional handcraft products of a certain region, and can be sold at higher prices than traditional handcrafts that don't include new creative ideas. As Indraani also travels a lot to Asia and to the Arabic countries, she is further contributing influences even from these countries of the earth to the designs of the Literacy India products.
At the headquarters in Gurgaon, the Literacy India products are being packaged and shipped. Literacy India's ebay shop generates orders from everywhere in the world; DHL granted special shipment tariffs to the charitable NGO for worldwide shipments.
Volunteers/interns are usually working in the following subject areas, from which you would typically choose one:
* Compiling case studies. This is more suitable for female participants. You will spend time with a woman and you will write a report (text and pictures) about her life situation prior to the intervention of Literacy India and afterwards. You will also observe other processes of society which have been affected by the work of Literacy India and you present them in the form of reports. This work is particularly suitable for students of sociology, asia sciences etc.
* Assisting with sales, (online) marketing, e-shop, shipment of products. You should have previous experiences in these aspects.
* Teaching at the school. There is particular demand for interns/volunteers who can do projects/workshops with children and youth, related to science, technology, and arts. Examples are the design and construction of a solar lamp, presenting your home country ("About Norway"), photography, video production.
Watch video about Literacy India.
Location: Gurgaon, India
Duration: min. 3 weeks
Costs: Trouble-free package is obligatory; the services will be provided by a staff of Literacy India and the largest part of the money paid will be used to fund the education of a child.
Accommodation: Not included
Meals: Not included
Included: Contact and contact person; when booking our
"trouble-free package, all services of the trouble-free package are included.
Not included: Travel, insurance, visa.