Grit and Gumption

Cultivating Innovation
May 28, 2022
Diversity and Sustainability
May 28, 2022

At a young age, Keya Paul learned the ways of life. Born and brought up in Howrah, she lost the love of a parent when her father abandoned the family. Keya’s support system was her mother and an elder sister, but only her mother was the earning member of the family. Bengal is one of the state in India after Kerela and Himachal where education is given importance despite poverty, Keya managed to complete her graduation in Bengali through distance learning. Her entrepreneurial spirit led her to explore, along with her sister, income from different sources . Keya decided to upskill herself with Literacy India’s course on beauty and wellness.

Keya quickly learned skills like threading, pedicure, manicure, hair styling. Keya’s long-term goal is to own a saloon and to provide on-call beauty services to her customers .Keya managed to get work going and she has completed four threading and six facial appointments, observing proper hygiene and social distancing during the lockdown. Her current income is 1500-2000 INR which she hopes will increase during festival time.

Keya continues to attend online classes from Literacy India on Grooming, Financial Literacy and gets mentoring from her class teacher and Literacy India staff. She believes these sessions have helped build her confidence and to widen her network of customers. Keya is proud to contribute to her family’s income and add a positive value to their daily life.

Age is just a number and Mithu’s story proves this. Mithu belongs to a low-income household in Liluah, Howrah. Before being associated with Literacy India, Mithu was working in a tailor shop as a delivery person for almost five years. Even though during this time she didn’t learn much, she had an interest in stitching and tailoring. In 2020, due to the nationwide lockdown, she lost her job.

 Not wanting to rely on the uncertainty of a job, Mithu decided to enroll herself in a course from Literacy India in Tailoring and artificial Jewellery. Her punctuality and diligence were noticed by all the teachers. In the Tailoring course, Mithu covered topics like stitching Patiyala suits, Salwars, Petticoats, frocks, etc. She also joined a few online and offline sessions conducted by Literacy India on hygiene maintenance, financial literacy, women entrepreneurship which helped her stay motivated. Literacy India also supported Mithu and many others by providing them with Ration Kit and COVID-19 medicines during the 2nd wave.

There was another issue ailing Mithu. She was depressed because she did not have any children and was mentally tortured by society. Through regular mentoring by teachers and coordinators, she felt settled and is slowly overcoming it. For the last three months, Mithu has been working at Balaji Tailor. She takes measurements of lady customers and maintains documents. Mithu has started earning 4000 rupees from working at the tailor shop and by picking up small repairing and mending work from the community.

Though we have completed 25 years, we still have lot of communities to educate and empower which is not possible without the support of our friends and well wishers.