Trainees from Essar Lok Vikas Kendra (ELVK) got the opportunity to display and sell their ware at Apna Haat recently. The items up for exhibition were hand-made bakery products like nankhatai, cookies and chocolates. Besides offering mehndi designs, nail art and bead jewelry were attractions that enthralled the women attendees. The bakery products were packed in gift bags made of recycled paper from Essar’s very own recycling unit in Hazira. The nankhatais were in great demand and flew off the shelves quickly.
With a healthy daily footfall of over 400, the fair was a great opportunity for the trainees to improve their sales and marketing skills.
Among a wide range of initiatives by Essar Foundation, the ELVK focuses on a multi-pronged approach to livelihood and skill development. Essar’s attempt to impart marketable skills to the underprivileged is an important contribution to the country’s mission of building sustainable communities.
“The Apna Haat experience was very motivational for us. It gave us the opportunity to interact with varied customers and reply to their queries.” –
Nayna Ben, member of the bakery unit at ELVK-Junagam
“I wasn’t sure that my bead jewelry will make me so popular… I have got enough orders to keep me busy for weeks!” – Nisha Ben, Trainee, ELVK-Junagam
“I appreciate the efforts of these women who have managed to show remarkable progress in a very short time. I loved the bakery products and my daughter purchased some bead jewellery from the stall.” – Bharat Patel, a visitor
About Essar Lok Vikas Kendras, Surat, Gujarat
Since 2005, ELVK Hazira has been promoting skill development and entrepreneurship among youth and women, and building their capacity to bring lasting changes in the socio-economic lives of their families. Training sessions on apparel production and handicrafts for the women’s groups with advanced sewing machines, computer classes for children and youth are the major courses offered here. The trainees receive intensive training in batches of 40 for three months each.
Women entrepreneurs regularly showcase their skills at large events and exhibitions which highlight their entrepreneurial confidence, which they attribute to their exposure at ELVK. Most women have started businesses locally and are moving towards economic independence. Keeping up with the enthusiasm of the rural youth and women, new courses like that in bakery, bag making and beauty therapy have also begun.
Children in the computer classes have gained significant skills to use it for improved learning. Besides receiving skill training from master trainers, the women Self Help Groups are promoted to take entrepreneurial initiatives. Intensive counselling and handholding also instills the confidence they need to venture into enterprise building.
ELVKs are continuing to impart skills in Gujarat, West Bengal and Madhya Pradesh.