About: Generating Sustainable Livelihood through the Lighthouses of Pune

Sustainable Livelihood:

Currently most livelihood generating programs are limited in their approach to alleviating poverty. These programs primarily focus on ways is to enhance the beneficiary’s skills which will allow them to take up a job and earn a living. They do not take into account other vital aspects such as the beneficiary’s passions, their vulnerabilities, sense of social belonging, etc. As a result, there is a substantial number of drop-outs from these programs, or else some of these beneficiaries that take up jobs, do not stay employed for long. In order to change this scenario, the new approach must be towards sustainable livelihood programs. These programs must take into account factors that either constrain or enhance the beneficiary’s ability to make a living in an economically, ecologically and socially sustainable manner.

Sustainable Livelihood programs at The Lighthouses of Pune:

Pune City Connect (PCC) aims at approaching this issue in a more holistic and sustainable manner. PCC’s livelihood centres christened The Lighthouse, would be welcoming and safe haven for underprivileged youth who enrol at these centres. There would eventually be one Lighthouse in each of the 15 wards in Pune. These Lighthouses would be situated close to the slum communities in these wards. Hence logistically these centres would be easily accessible by the youth. The Lighthouse programs will provide the underprivileged youth of Pune a chance to explore the possibilities available, and eventually take up a vocation that would encourage them to pursue a meaningful career.

What can the youth expect at The Lighthouse?

Enrolling at the Lighthouse would be the start of an exciting journey for the youth. This process will play out in stages, with programs designed to include technology, music and art, which will ensure the youth enjoys this transformative journey. So what can the youth expect, and how can it transform lives?

Stage 1: Foundation Program - Well Begun is half done!

The youth will commence this journey with a self-exploratory process where they can discover their inner ‘agency’. The concept of having agency within oneself, refers to the capacity of an individual to drive outcomes as per his/her requirement. Unfortunately, as we know today the youth do not have a clear vision of their future. Hence the Foundation Course at the Lighthouse would be geared towards awakening the youth's inner "Agency". This will allow them to discover a world of possibilities that exist and enable them to work towards a better life.

The youth will be encouraged to work on action projects along-side others. This is the chance to work on real life projects that will enable him/her to start developing Human Capacities. For instance, a youth may take up a project of cleaning the lane his/her house stands on. In executing such projects, the youth learn to negotiate with others, influence behaviour change and experience leadership.

Stage 2: Counselling and Market Exploration:

At the Lighthouse a counsellor will work along with the youth, and help them discover the career path which will enable them to operate to their full potential. They will look for an overlap between the youth’s passion, talent, his/her intelligence, current life situation & existing job opportunities. The youth would be given the opportunity to apprentice under a volunteer to discover the finer nuances of his / her chosen vocation. This would allow them to discover whether or not he /she should pursue with the vocation, or perhaps explore a different path.

They require additional training or perhaps that they need to study further in which case the next step would be in academics.

Stage3: Skills Training - Skilling/Entrepreneurial / Academic Programs:

Once the youth has decided on his/her preferred vocation, the next step would be to acquire the necessary skills or they may need to study further in which case the next step would be in academics.

There will be an array of courses ranging from tailoring, nursing to IT enabled and other employability enhancement programs. In addition, there will be a Skills University and several of the programs offered there will offer a certificate or a Bachelor of Vocation (B.Voc.) degree on successfully completing the course. In certain cases, the courses may be offered through online mechanisms, where technology will be used to enhance the user experience.

Stage 4: Internships & Placements - Employment / Entrepreneurship / Pursuit of Higher education:

The youth will receive placement assistance, and/or be provided assistance with placement in B.Voc. programs, at partner Universities. Even after the youth graduate from the Lighthouse and get a job or start their own company or move on to higher education, they will still be welcomed back to the Lighthouse for reinforcement learning, or for acquiring a new skill by taking up fresh modules.

The youth can also register their services in the Skills Market Place, an online portal that will connect service providers with those who need these services.