Project Shakti is inspiring and uplifting an ever-growing number of underprivileged women in the holy city of Varanasi, India. Running in the Bal Ashram compound, Project Shakti teaches vocational skills to women in need and offers vocational training micro loans to young women whose families cannot afford further education.
Since Project Shakti’s inception in 2009, the vocational training program has already surpassed our expectations. Currently 60 women of all ages are enrolled in a variety of classes:
• Stitching and tailoring
• Small food item preparation (e.g. marketable pickles and dry breads)
• The art of home decoration
The classes are equipping women with the necessary skills to find suitable jobs and earn livelihoods. Some women have already begun to augment their family income through their services and by selling their commodities in the local community.
Project Shakti offers small loans to young women who, after graduating high school, are unable to further their education due to lack of family funds. We have made several computer training loans, and in the near future, will offer loans for nursing and other vocational training programs. After securing a job, the women will return the borrowed money so it could be given out to others. A selection committee reviews applications, performs interviews, and accepts applicants based on need and availability of funds.