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Pune City Connect

From unemployed to starting a business that not only fills his but everyone’s stomach

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Nilesh, is a resident of Ghorpadi gaon, Vikas Nagar who lives with his family. Due to the circumstances at home he could not continue with his education. After passing his 12th grade he began working as a tele-caller but could not continue due to some unforeseen circumstances.

Nilesh was unable to find a new job and this brought a lot of difficulties to his family. His educational qualification and lack of skills in the digital medium created major hindrances. He came across the Digital Empowerment course through the mobilisation process in the community.

During the Digital Empowerment course, Nilesh got introduced to the online platforms for the very first time. He learnt the basics to having a proper digital presence. During a session, he got to know how the online platform can help in self-employment and earn a steady income.

“I was never aware of the opportunities available on the internet. The Digital Empowerment course has helped me ease my day-to-day life but, most importantly, helped me earn enough to support my family.”- Nilesh

Nilesh got the knowledge of PMC’s scheme for self-employment through one of the classes and saw this as an opportunity to begin his business. He enrolled for an online self-employment training session after which he applied for a shop act licence. Today, he owns a dosa centre in Vikas Nagar with an income to lead a comfortable life.

The Digital Empowerment program gives individuals from underprivileged communities to leverage the internet to improve the quality of their day-to-day life. The components of the Digital Empowerment curriculum focus on the ability to search on the internet, utilize e-Services, undertake cashless transactions and have a digital presence.

A story of sheer hard work that reaped the sweetest fruits

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A resident of Laxmi Nagar community in Yerwada, Tauseef is a persevering youth who has been by his family through all their ups and downs. His family’s sold fruits at the market as a vendor which was a major source of income for them. He has currently appeared for 12th-grade exams and also does odd jobs to help his family out financially.

He was a student of the second Online batch at Yerwada Lighthouse. Despite not having access to a smartphone, Tauseef took a lot of efforts to attend the online foundation course with his friend who lives close by. The lockdown rules during the pandemic often hindered this but he put every effort into reaching his friends home for attending the course.

During the Foundation course, Tauseef would actively participate in the activities conducted and slowly began to realize his true potential. Tauseef’s conditions worsened when he lost his license as a fruit vendor. To support his family, he worked as a truck that delivered vegetables & fruits to the markets early morning. Even though he had worked the whole night, Tauseef attended the online foundation course.

“The Lighthouse helped in difficult times during the pandemic. They provided my family with food when we had no source of income and helped me train myself to get a regular source of income. My family is grateful for their support.” Tauseef

Tauseef’s family also received food packets from PCC during the pandemic. Tauseef is currently placed with BigBasket which gets him a regular income to help his family. For Tauseef, learning is the only constant. Currently, he is pursuing an online course in Retail Management to improve the promotion of his business.

The Lighthouses are designed with a holistic approach to empower the underprivileged by giving them an opportunity to turn their life around. The motive here is not only to help them gain financial stability but also to provide them with emotional support while they’re on the way to self-realization.

Dreams Turned Into Reality

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Zeeshan Ansari was always inclined towards the fitness and health industry. He stayed updated with the latest trends in the industry too. Even though Zeeshan hailed from a small suburb on the outskirts of Pune, he had big dreams and aspirations.

He joined the Lighthouse with the aspiration to become a trained gym instructor and financially independent. During the Foundation course, he was always proactive and enthusiastic about every activity conducted. On learning his field of interest, the Lighthouse team helped him get the right training and further enrolling him in ABS Fitness Institute.

Zeeshan excelled his training and in a short span of two months, he joined one of the trendiest gyms in the city, Golds Gym, as a gym trainer. He now earns a living to support himself and his family. He is happy to be a part of the fitness industry and continues to learn new techniques to progress in his career.

“The mentors at the Lighthouse are very encouraging towards every student. They supported my aspirations and guided me to achieve my dreams and become financially independent.” – Zeeshan

The Lighthouse offers its students the freedom to choose their career paths and stand by them in every stage of their journey. Currently, there are 5 Lighthouses in Pune that are successfully transforming the lives of the underprivileged communities with the sole objective of enriching every life.

The metamorphosis of Aarati into a confident youth

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Speaking English fluently means that you are a smart person was the belief that Aarati Mulay, a home-maker, had for a long time. Her language in English was weak and this was the reason she doubted herself and never had confidence.

Aarati enrolled herself to the Warje Lighthouse primarily to learn and speak in English. Knowing about her interest in learning the language, the Lighthouse team encouraged her to enrol her for the English course along with the Foundation course.

During the activities of the Foundation course, she began to gain self-confidence slowly and steadily. She was always proactive and sincere and often asked questions and cleared all her doubts during the course. With time, her command over English also improved.

By the end of the courses, she transformed herself into a young and confident youth who aspires to achieve her dreams out of which one was to become financially independent. Aarti started applying for jobs and gave interviews regularly.

“The Lighthouse not only helped me ‘find the diamond in me’ but also made me independent and confident.” – Arati

The English & Foundation Course gave Aarati the confidence to answer all the questions with ease and she bagged herself a job at Astute group as a tele-caller. Today, she supports herself and her family with a comfortable living.

The Lighthouses are designed with a holistic approach to empower the underprivileged by giving them an opportunity to turn their life around. The motive here is not only to help them gain financial stability but also to provide them with emotional support while they’re on the way to self-realization.

Leading children into the future

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Mrs. Nakusa Pawar,
Buntar Barnard PMC School 58G

Born in a family where girls were not wanted or appreciated, Mrs. Nakusa Pawar is like a ray of sunshine. The name Nakusa means ‘unwanted’ in Marathi. Mrs. Pawar has made it her life’s mission to change that perception and spread warmth and happiness wherever she goes.

Under her leadership, the Hadapsar- Bunter Bernard school has really flourished. Mrs. Pawar leads from the front and is a hands-on headmistress. She knows every single child in the school and is aware of their progress and challenges. She observes classes and even teaches herself from time to time. She is always willing to step in and fill any gaps in the school when teachers are on leave. She conducts the morning school assembly and ensures that a diverse variety of ideas are implemented – from songs, to poetry and discussions on history and great leaders.

Mrs. Pawar proactively supports any initiative for the betterment of the school and her children. The Jeevan Shikshan – Social and Emotional Learning program has flourished in her school due to her leadership.

Teaching children, changing lives.

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Mrs. Surekha Bhalerao
Sitaram Abaji Bibwe
PMC School No 64B

Mrs. Surekha Bhalerao is a teacher to her core. She not only aims to see her students excel academically but also to be better human beings. Her continuous efforts to teach students in innovative ways has earned her the love and respect of all her students. Even after the students leave the schools she has taught in, they have stayed in touch with her.

Mrs. Bhalerao welcomed the Jeevan Shikshan Social and Emotional learning program as she intuitively understood the benefits it would have on her children. The sessions are conducted patiently, giving each child space to speak and participate.

Due to COVID-19, the schools have been closed since March 2020. But Mrs. Bhalerao’s 7th-grade class has not been defeated by the pandemic. Education for her children has continued through Whatsapp in an iterative process. She first posts lesson explanations through voice notes and videos where she teaches using a whiteboard. Then she responds to queries received from children. Some homework is also posted. Children do their work, take pictures, and post it back on the group. Mrs. Bhalerao has innovatively used markup tools to correct the work and send it back to her students. She ensures she responds to each and every message she gets. The class is active from 8 pm to 11.30 pm and that doesn’t restrict her in any way.

She firmly believes that a teacher can bring about monumental changes in the lives of students and shows the way herself.

Mentoring teachers, learning together

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Mrs. Vijaya Mahadik

The textbooks for grade 2 were revised at the end of the previous academic year to focus on activity-based learning. One of the Sahyogis, Vijaya Mahadik, realized that the teachers needed guidance to use the updated versions of the textbooks.

Vijaya took the initiative to study the revised curriculum and guidelines for Math & Marathi during the summer break. She designed a progression of modules of learning activities for teachers to use along with the textbooks. With the inputs from three other Sahyogis (Savita Mahajan, Sunita Pingat, and Nivedita Barnabas) and approval from Mrs. Shubhangi Chavan, DEO, a complete set of training modules were created.

These modules were to support the teachers of Grades 1 & 2 through training and classroom support. This was an important milestone for the project because of the ownership shown by the Sahyogis in creating a teacher’s support module.