Young Girls from Resettlement Colonies Thrive as Software Programmers
When Shanti first stepped foot into the Saathi Centre in Kalyanpuri, little did anyone know that she would become an inspiration for many other girls. She lives in Delhi with her elderly father, two brothers, and three sisters, while her mother still stays in Bihar.
As the most academically accomplished young girl in her community, upon completing her 10th standard in 2014, Shanti decided to pursue computer classes at the Saathi Centre. Alongside her studies, she eagerly began volunteering her time at the center.
She continued her educational journey with support from the Saathi Centre and achieved a remarkable 75% in her 12th standard exams, surpassing societal expectations. Recognizing her potential, the Saathi Centre offered Shanti a modest monthly honorarium of Rs. 5000 for teaching Math and Science to younger children after her 12th-grade completion.
Shanti's family insisted on her marriage upon turning 18 years old, despite her desire to pursue further studies. Financial constraints further hindered her dreams of pursuing a graduation course. The team at Saathi Centre supported Shanti in securing the necessary funds to enroll at Delhi University and played a crucial role in convincing her family.
In 2019, the Saathi Centre collaborated with Navgurukul, a non-profit organization that provides a one-year residential training program for students, particularly girls, from underserved communities. Out of numerous candidates, Shanti was chosen as one of two girls to participate in this program, held in Bangalore 2200 km away from Delhi. Despite resistance from her family, Shanti completed the course with an outstanding performance and was offered a job by Navgurukul. She is currently working with the placement team at the Bangalore campus and earns a monthly income which is equivalent to her family's combined income of INR 20,000 a month.
In the last three years, 12 other girls from the Shanti's community have joined Navgurukul and learned software programming. The girls and their families see immense possibilities for their future, which spells much more than marriage.
Shanti says, "After the exposure at Saathi Centre and the training at Navgurukul, I was able to recognize my inner leadership potential, and training helped me gain confidence and skills in time management, interpersonal communication, and patience among others. Today, I am supporting my family, and have been able to push back marriage." Shanti is currently considering coming back to Delhi and giving time at the Centre to teach Science and Math to the students.