Stronger Than Odds

Sameer,the eldest son in a family of six, dropped out of school 4 years back due to food poisoning. Family savings were wiped off in his treatment, and since then his father's monthly wageof Rs. 3000 have been combating against Mumbai cost of living.

We met Sameer through a recent venture wherein, Airport Authorities of India (AAI) sponsored a youth employability center that offered NIIT Foundation (NF) courses behind Sameer's Bamanwada Basti.On his first visit, Sameerhad a clear agenda, a hard Mumbaiya accent and unkempt clothing. "English -Computer Seekhne ka hai, kuch kamaana chahta hoon”.(Want to learn Computer and English to start earning) Perhaps his bed-ridden mother's plight, or the family's financial struggle wasno longer discountable for Sameer, because he convinced us to enrol him regardless of the fact he could not read a word of English. 

Ashutosh, N F Center Manager, knew the enormity of the task he had taken over, but something unexpected happened,“I took him on mobilisation, counselled him about every little thing, I did my hard work, but what amazes me, is how fast he responded to these feedbacks and suggestions”. Sameer’s accent vanished fast, one could not keep track of when his ‘APPUN’ had changed to ‘AAP’ and in a matter of 2 month he had already started coming in formal clothes.

However, Sameer knew that English would take longer to master. Taking proactive approach, he applied for a part time job at the NFas a mobiliserand took to helping new students with beginner’s level English after work while simultaneously learning with them. Sameer has now cleared his 10th and is awaiting 12th class results. When asked why he is so dedicated, he replies “Normal institute sikhate nahi hain, sirf bataate hain. Yahaan sahi kaam kyun karna hai yeh sikhate hain.”(Generallyinstitutes do not teach, they tell. Here (at NF-AAI) they teach why one should do the right thing). His peers and teachers put his progress in a nutshell,“Sameer doesn’t look a part of Basti anymore. Everything has changed about him”

Though Sameer is still fine tuning his English, he is already a responsible young man. Refusingto treat his friends from his first salary, Sameer gave the money to hismother.WithAAI’s tool-kit, NF is shaping the Sameers of Mumbaito be stronger than odds facing them, especially by teaching them why to do the right thing.

Dreams Fulfilled - AAI Makes It Possible For Ashish

Ashish Prajapati, 19 year old, comes from a family of four, living in one of the slums of Mumbai. The family has an inadequate financial status where Ashsih's father is the only earning member who earns nearly Rs.6,000/- a month.

Due to the economic condition of the family, Ashish could not complete his education. However, though his constant hard work and impeccable urge to become self-reliant brought him to the recently launched youth employability centre established by AAI. The centre offers Basic Computer Training courses to economically weaker sections of the society. Currently, he is pursuing the ‘Job Readiness Training Course’ which runs for a span of 4 months. The training covers eight modules in three parts. The training covers basic computer course, English speaking, Industrial overview, Customer Service, Grooming and Etiquettes, Career Orientation, logical reasoning, Communication skills etc.

Though a fantastic learner, Ashish had to carve his way through the current circumstances. Despite the difficulties in his path, he refused to look back. English had been a remote language to him until the training. Though not a master at it, he is better at the language than before. He credits the training staff at AAI-NIIT Yuvastar for their support and patience towards him. He confessed his admiration for the staff. He says that they have taught him a lot. They adhere to their responsibilities. He states that the staff not only gave him the right lessons but has also been easy on him by answering the initial ‘whys’ and ‘what’. Ashish today looks a thoroughly changed man from what he was. Also with his sheer hard work he recently passed his XII with good marks.

The course offered guidance and proper training to Ashish. The course at AAI-NIIT Yuvastar cut out the hurdles on his way to a better job. Presently he is working in Future group of companies as a Marketing Assistant Executive. The initially difficult path has become smooth due to t AAI’s initiative.

Enabling Independence

Sallimuneisha Qureshi, 22 years old, shaken by the plight of her non-working married friends, decided to change her life, "Shaadi hone ke baad unki haalat bahut kharaab thi. Ladies ko izzat tabhi milti hai jab woh kissi per depend nakaren. Main aage badhna chahti hoon, itna seekhna chahti hoon ki mujhe naukri ki koi kami na rahe"(They were in bad condition after marriage. Women get respect only when they are independent. I want to progress, (I) want to learn so much that I never fall short of job opportunities). Her recipe for success was clear, "English aur computer aana toh bahut hee zaroori hai, iske bina aap kuch nahi kar sakte"(It is extremely important to know English and computers, without these you cannot do anything), but all the courses she enquired about were beyond her meager means. Coming from a family of 12 members, Sallimuneisha had already given up her dream of pursuing graduation because of financial problems.


It was a mixed inertia of her lost dreams that Sallimuneisha did not lose hope even after failing the entry test, at NIIT Foundation - Airport Authorities of India (NF-AAI) employability center. Reason was theaffordable course fee. Suddenly, her zero exposure to English Language seemed a manageable constraint to her. She attended demo classes out of eagerness and kept visiting the center to persuade them of her potential. "It was only her resolve to learn that convinced us to enroll her", says Ankit Aggarwal, her soft skills trainer, who struggles each day with Sallimuneisha in her battle for independence.She joined immediately and has shown improvement slowly but surely."Mere 'tenses' improve ho gaye hain. Ankit Sir itna detail main padhaate hainki, do saal baad bhi nahi bhoolega" (My 'tenses' have improved, Ankit Sir teaches in such detail that I will still remember everything two years after), says Sallimuneisha.She took up a job at a local tutorial earning 4500/-p.m. to support herself.She soon aspires to get a raise in salary, when she does; she hopes to resume her graduation.?Bahut improve karnahai, per mehnatkaregitohseekhheejayegi? (She has to improve a lot, but if she will work hard, she will sure learn), says Ankit, who has seen many of his students achieve their dreams at NF-AAI. Sallimuneisha is no exception

Manali - Case Study.

Manali, eldest among her siblings, hails from small area in Mumbai. Her father works as a waiter in a small restaurant on daily wage basis and earns Rs. 6000/- per month. The most deteriorating situation was when her father fell sick, his salary got cut off, and it became very difficult to survive their family of five.

"My community is very poorly maintained and we want to move out; people here frequently fight between neighbours" says Manali. These challenges of situations of life made her struggle even tougher. She attempted many interviews for a job, but lack of computer knowledge and poor communication skills led her to lack of success. In the midst of this, her parent's constant encouragement helped her a lot.

She heard about the Career Development Center of Airports Authority of India. She met with the community mobilizers when they visited her area. They told her about the courses and invited her to visit the centre in the evening.

Manali feels that from the day one itself she realized how much she had to learn. Her favourite sessions include debate competition, creation of presentations, essay writing competition and class room discussion. Manali's confidence grew as she interacted with the other trainees and faculty members in the centre. After completing the "Customer Care Service Training" she felt empowered. AAI CDC environment made a difference in her life.

Manali now works for Vodafone and earns Rs. 6500/- per month as a Computer Data Entry Operator. She looks forward to building a career with the training and grooming she received from AAI Career Development Centre.

"The Career Development Centre in Mumbai is a unique initiative of Airports Authority of India", which focuses on empowerment of unemployed youth living in nearby slum areas of Mumbai airport. It trains nearly 500 young people in a year on employable computer skills and facilitates their placement in gainful employment. Till date nearly 120 young people are placed in such jobs".


Facilitating Economic Self Reliance

"Being the only earning member I have worked day and night and struggled really hard to earn living for me and my family of five. Today I can proudly say life has become easier than before and I sincerely thank Airport Authority of India for giving me opportunity of growth"


Babulal Meena " 40 years old man, left his small village in Rajasthan in search of employment due to compelling economic conditions . His father the only earning hand to family of eight- found that the low wage coming in each month was not enough to cover their essential requirements of the household. With early force of responsibility on his shoulders, Babulal moved out of village and decided to choose profession so that he can earn enough to take care of his family. With few short term courses and training programmes from paper research institutes, Babulal gained nine years of experience. Babulal today works at paper recycling and stationery unit" Rangpuri " Delhi.

"I was one of those fortunate one who was here since the foundation of this paper recycling unit. It started in 2009 and last three years I have grown with this initiative and I am happy to be part of something good and different which is serving something good which produces Eco friendly products. The experience has been extremely rewarding for us all"