The Collaborative Model – Maharashtra

Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations Maharashtra have experimented with a different model of youth vocational training. Rather than establishing RVTCs, SSSSO Maharashtra tied up with other organizations that already have well established training programmes. Some of these are: Don Bosco in Karjat. lata Strive in Airoli, and ICICI Academy in Pune. The ICICI Academy in Nag pur is a facility to train female candidates.
The Sri Sathya Sai Samitis in various towns and villages identify rural youth that could benefit from the vocational training courses. Videos of vocational training programmes are used to acquaint the youth with the content. The Samitis recognized that youth do not have to go to distant cities for employment. There is a great need for trained and skilled labour in tier 2, 3 and 4 towns which are underserved. Accordingly, some of the job-oriented courses that youth are sent to after selection are: AC and refrigerator mechanics, electrical, welding, pump repair, appliances repair, office administration and home health assistants programme. Rural and tribal youth from the districts of Akola, Sangli, Aurangabad, Nashik, Buldhana, Satara and Yavatmal have benefited from the vocational training courses.
Once the candidates are selected and sent to the residential training courses, the local SSSSO Samitis continue to support those who cannot afford the costs with boarding and lodging. Thus, SSSSO ensures that all arrangements are taken care of during the training periods that range from three to six months. The host organization that conducts the training pays for the programme. The agencies training the candidates help with placements as well. Some of the trainees from ICICI Academy have received pay packages of ~2-2.5 lakhs per annum. Companies they have been placed in include Kotak Mahindra Bank, Kirloskar, Godrej, Videocon, and Haier. Welders trained at Don Bosco go on to earn ~8000-1 3,000 per month depending on their location, while AC Mechanics working as free lancers manage to earn up to ~20,000 per month.
The rural youth are unused to and unprepared for the regimented training programmes and the work culture required of professionals. Volunteers from Sri Sathya Sai Samitis ensure that some hand holding is continued even after the trainees arrive at the training centre, as well as after they join employment at various companies. Counselling sessions are held to prevent dropouts and moral support is provided during training and employment. Employed youth are encouraged to remit at least ~1 ,000 per month to their families. Consequently, families also convey their happiness at the thought of their boys and girls working as professionals.
Through this collaborative model, SSSSO can contribute by mobilizing youth in rural areas and leverage the strength of already established training academies whose vast networlk of thousands of companies help with successful placements of trainees. About 90% of the trainees go for corporate employment while the remaining are self-employed. So far, 840 youth- both boys and girls-have been selected and sent for training through this model by SSSSO. Access to such resources for rural youth, especially from tribal areas, can be a game changer for their own as well as their families’ futures.

Skills Offered

More than 40 skills are offered between the 169 Centres. Most of the Centres offer one skill; 39 Centres offer two or more skills. The groups below (called “primary skill groups”) are created for ease of analysis. A Centre offering Tailoring training may also have a computer course (trainees could be different or same). A RVTC offering Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills may also be offering Spoken English, Masonry or Carpentry.

The women’s wing (Mahila Vibhag) of SSSSO generally offers training on Samiti premises or in space donated by volunteers I members. 71% of the trainers in the Tailoring training domain are volunteers from the Samitis (231 volunteers) and only 96 are paid volunteers (29%). For nearly five decades, Tailoring has been an established training programme in SSSSO and therefore, it has scaled up pan-India over the years. Typically, these are delivered through VTCs in urban areas and towns where Sri Sathya Sai Samitis are functioning.

‘Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical’ is a broad category that encompasses multiple skills offered by RVTCs. Targeted at rural youth, predominantly male, this category offers a variety of skills that help young men to either find jobs in these fields or, to be self-employed in the village(s) they come from. Many RVTCs offer multiple skills in this domain, so that the youth are well equipped to earn an income by offering various services.

The figure above provides details of skill offerings by the Centres. Of the 122 Centres offering Tailoring and associated skills, 97 offer this skill alone. Another 14 offer Computer courses at the same Centre; 5 offer Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills and 17 offer other courses. Similarly, of the 16 RVTCs offering Plumbing, Electrical and Mechanical skills, 2 offer computer courses and one offers tailoring and associated skills. Together, the 169 Centres have trained 30,187 candidates over the last six years.


Description of Sri Sathya Sai Vocational Training Centres

There is a wide variety and range regarding almost every aspect of the functioning of VTCs. Geographically, for example, the VTCs are situated in villages, small towns, district headquarters and metro cities like Chennai and Hyderabad. Some have a handful of trainees per batch while others have a few hundreds. Some are new and have run a few batches as of December 2019, while others have been running for several years and have run more than 100 batches. The duration of courses also varies greatly – from a minimum of 10 days to a few that run for 6-9 months.


The Collaborative Model: Bired – Andhra Pradesh And Telangana

Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana have been collaborating with the Bankers Institute of Rural and Entrepreneurship Development (BIRED) to provide training to rural youth in various income generating skills and activities. It was established in 2007 jointly by the Government of Andhra Pradesh, National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development {NABARD) and five leading Public Sector Banks working in the state. The Institute, a first of its kind in India, is registered as a not-for-profit society under Andhra Pradesh Societies Registration Act, 2001. After bifurcation of the state, the Institute is serving both the states of Telangana and Andhra Pradesh. The district officers of SSSSO are responsible for intake of trainees and arrangements at the training venue, while BIRED provides support for trainer costs, boarding and other training expenses. Training is typically taken to the doorstep of trainees. BIRED arranges for trainers to visit various districts and impart training to the youth. It also has its own in-campus training programmes.
During the year 2018-19, 55 programmes were conducted for unemployed rural youth with a participation of 1 ,894 trainees. Various training programmes were offered over the course of the year that included mobile servicing, accounting package Tally with GST, PC hardware and laptop servicing, domestic electrical services and agricultural pump set repair {all for men}; tailoring and fashion designing, MS-Office, Zardosi and Maggam works, beauty parlour management and, accounting package Tally with GST {all for women). Other innovative programmes offered recently include a new course called “GST with Tally ERP 9 proficiency” to unemployed B. Com graduates; and training of women auto drivers in a programme called “SHE AUTO” at Tirupati. A hundred women have been trained so far under this programme. Loans were sanctioned by Andhra Bank to 54 She-Auto drivers to the tune of ₹81 lakhs.
SSSSO has found that such collaborations are rewarding and productive when organizations like BIRED bring in expertise, resources and a mission that aligns with the objectives of SSSSO’s service programmes.

The Csr Funding Model-tamil Nadu

RVTC at Thirukurungudi (Tirune!veti District, Tamil Nadu)
Sri Sathya Sai Seva Organisations Tamil Nadu have been successful in running RVTCs focused on plumbing. electrical and mechanical sldlls by tapping into CSR funds. Sustained corporate support by TVS Motor Company has been instrumental in setting up two such RVTCs-one in Thirukurungudi (Tirunelvefi District} that has been running since 2005 and, the second one in Padovedu {Tiruvonnomoloi District} that was inaugurated in 2018. The CSR support includes initial establishment costs, operational expenses, trainer costs and materials.
The two Centres also supplement the above core training with computer classes and other life-skills like Yoga, Spoken English and spiritual classes. Both training facilities ore well-equipped with leased space (4,000 square feet in Thirukurungudi and 2,000 square feet in Padavedu), work benches, chairs, tables, writing and display boards, computers, fans, charts. cut samples of plumbing and electrical materials, and a store of tools.
Botches runs for three months each, with sessions running for four hours every day {Monday -Friday). Trainees in the age group of 18 to 35, travel to the Centre from villages in a 2Q-35 la’n radius from the Centres. Each batch accommodates between 10 and 25 trainees. The Thirukurungudi Centre has graduated 380 trainees over 19 batches, while the newer Padavedu Centre has graduated 50 trainees in two batches. Students are given an electrical and plumbing tool kit at graduation. The detailed curriculum imports both theory and practical lessons in equal measure over the course of the training. The practical training includes on-the-job training at a work site.
Both Centres report impressive placement figures. Nearly 70% of the trainees have secured jobs while the rest are self-employed in and around their villages. Trainees have joined companies like TVS, Able Tech, Kirloskar, Wind farm, and CPCL. A few have secured government jobs. Average salaries reported are about ₹12,000 per month.
Both RVTCs have found that sustained delivery of the programmes, maintaining high quality and integrity of the training, and achieving maximum employability (whether self-employment or in companies} are all outcomes that are possible due to the CSR model, where the entire funding for the training centres is borne by TVS Motors.

The Corpus Fund Model Andhra Pradesh

Rural youth in Anantapur district have benefited from the three-month residential training in electrical and plumbing trades imparted at the Tadipatri RVTC. More than 150 youth have completed the training since the inception of the Centre in November 2014. Each batch consists of ten trainees who travel to the RVTC from all over the district to

undergo training. The residential component of the training is therefore helpful since youth hailing from as far away as 80 kms from Tadipatri have benefited from the training.

RVTC Tadipatri was set up by the Sri Sathya Sai Trust of Andhra Pradesh following a donation of ₹78 lakhs by an individual donor. The donation helped the Trust to set up a corpus towards the RVTC, buy equipment for the training centre and organize infrastructure to get the training centre off to a start quickly.

Three paid trainers (one full time and two-part time} are tasked with training the youth in all aspects related to electrical and plumbing trades so that at the end of the training, the trainees are well placed to either find jobs for themselves or practice the trade in their own villages. Male candidates from the district who are in the age group of 18-25

years and have passed Class X are eligible to join the training programme. Out of the 150 trainees so far, 90% are self-employed. At the end of the training, such trainees are provided with a Bosch tool kit costing about ~3,500, which is of immense help, especially for starting off their own businesses.

Of the 1 0% who have secured jobs, some are Line Men in their villages, a few work in Tirupati at a Battery company, some have joined KIA Motors in Penukonda and a couple of trainees work in Hyderabad. The 90% that are self-employed are running small businesses in their own and surrounding villages. This is important because one of the aims of such RVTCs is to prevent the distress flight to cities for jobs, by providing training and means of employment in rural areas.

The Centre reports that trainees who have secured jobs earn in the range of ~1 0,000-20,000 per month while those who are self-employed earn in the range of ~9.000-15,000 per month. The Tadipatri RVTC is able to deliver the training at nearly half the cost of the Pradhan Mantri Kaushal Vikas Yojana rates paid to vendor-training institutes/sites for similar trainings. At less than ~30,000, youth acquire a lifelong skill, and the cost of training (received

free by the trainee} is made up in a mere two months of their career. That most of them are able to stay back in their villages I homes, earn a living, and contribute to the wellbeing of their families and villages adds immeasurable value to the endeavour.


DM Team Training for Jammu & Kashmir Police Force

In 2015, the Jammu & Kashmir Armed Police Force invited SSSSO’s Disaster Management Task Force Team to conduct a two-day Emergency Response and Disaster Management Training Workshop at its headquarters in Zewan, Srinagar. Held on April 4 and 5, 2015, this unique partnership saw SSSSO’s DM personnel train 51 members of the Armed Police in rescue and recovery operations during natural catastrophes like landslides, earthquakes, floods, and storms.
Despite unseasonal rains and flooding in the River Jhelum, the DM Team members from Tamil Nadu, Madhya Pradesh and Punjab travelled to Zewan and conducted the training that included classroom sessions as well as practical exercises focusing on fire, high-rise, water-related and other emergency rescue operations.
Police personnel participated wholeheartedly in the training programme and were fully engaged in all aspects of the training, both in-class and in the field practice sessions that included a river-rescue training session over the River Jhelum that had experienced floods.

Disaster Management Training of Jammu & Kashmir Armed Police Force

Police practicing knots during the training


Tsunami (2004)

The devastating Tsunami that struck the Indian Ocean on December 26, 2004 has .. .. been categorized as a ‘mega disaster’ due to the number of casualties and extent of damage across multiple nations. The damage it caused was unheard of in recent memory of our country and indeed the world.
Services rendered by SSSSO, Tamil Nadu, in the aftermath can be the subject of a book. The Disaster Management Training that had been initiated in 2002 allowed the State Disaster Management Unit to respond immediately and perform the urgent and arduous tasks like removing dead bodies, preparing them for identification and burial, supplying basic needs like food and water to survivors and, cleaning up areas to prevent further disease. Seva Dal members were the first to report to Nagapattinam and Velankanni- coastal towns devastated by the Tsunami. Estimates indicate that the SSSSO Teams cleared more than a thousand bodies, which was an essential first activity in the rescue and recovery process. The disciplined and dedicated services rendered by the Seva Dais in the face of such a catastrophic event was much appreciated by the government officials, police, and all agencies involved in rescue and relief operations. Seva Dal volunteers were the only group allowed by the police into some sensitive areas for relief and recovery measures- especially where bodies (with jewellery on them) had to be laid out in a hall for families to claim; or unclaimed bodies had to be buried. That was the extent of trust and respect that the Seva Dais had earned during relief operations in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Estimates indicate that the SSSSO Teams cleared more than a thousand bodies, which was an essential first activity in the rescue and recovery process. The disciplined and dedicated services rendered by the Seva Dais in the face of such a catastrophic event was much appreciated by the government officials, police, and all agencies involved in rescue and relief operations. Seva Dal volunteers were the only group allowed by the police into some sensitive areas for relief and recovery measures- especially where bodies {with jewellery on them} had to be laid out in a hall for families to claim; or unclaimed bodies had to be buried. That was the extent of trust and respect that the Seva Dais had earned during relief operations in the aftermath of the tragedy.
Sri Sathya Sai Baba had instructed the state unit that in addition to rescue efforts, the team must work to restore the dignity of the survivors by providing materials to help them rebuild their lives. As a result, the state unit quickly organized kits that included stoves, kerosene, utensils, and dry rations. While hundreds of Seva Dais worked on the ground, hundreds more worked in the background to get relief materials ready for transport to various affected areas. The Tsunami relief operations undertaken were mammoth and unprecedented in SSSSO.
Members of the Tamil Nadu Disaster Management team rightly point out that service rendered by the trained Seva Dais following the Tsunami cannot be quantified or assessed in terms of a cost-benefit analysis. There is no measurement tool that can assess the value of removing thousands of dead bodies and preparing them for burial or cremation; nor can there be an economic value placed on the high degree of trust and respect earned by the team throughout the state for the level of services provided. Seva Dais operated out of love and devotion, and indeed, their lives were changed irrevocably following this mega disaster.

Following the experience with Tsunami rescue, recovery and rehabilitation, the Tamil Nadu Disaster Management team was charged up sufficiently to plan for skill training and constant updating of skills in order to meet any eventual catastrophes. Tamil Nadu’s geographic location leaves it susceptible to cyclones, storms, and floods. So, it was imperative that the team builds a group of trained Seva Dais who can be deployed to serve in any type of crises.

Such preparation has resulted in the team responding to several other disasters over the years

including the Chennai Floods in 2015, the Kerala Floods in 2018, and various cyclones including ‘Thane’ and ‘Gaja’. During the Chennai Floods, the team completed four levels of service provision:

In addition to training the members of its own team, the Disaster Management Team continues to train college students, paramedical staff, fishermen, forest department, police, fire and rescue service personnel, CRPF, RPF, Coast Guards, corporate employees, and teachers. The team has even joined the National Disaster Response Force {NDRF} to offer training programmes at NDRF’s headquarters in Arakonam.
In 2017, the Disaster Management Team from SSSSO participated in a two-day workshop on National Platform for Disaster Risk Reduction {NPDRR) held at New Delhi. The team showcased unique and improvised rescue methods at the workshop and was appreciated by the participants and government alike. Following this, the 55550 Tamil Nadu DM Team was invited by the Government of Tamil Nadu to conduct a two-day Disaster Management Training to all its first responders in all the districts of the state.
Between 2002 and 2019, the Tamil Nadu Disaster Management team conducted Disaster Management Awareness training for over 1,00,000 volunteers from different institutions and professions.

In 2019, the team had an opportunity to participate in the Annual Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief Exercise (HADR) in all coastal districts of Tamil Nadu on the theme of cyclones and urban flooding. The team was able to share their vast experience in disaster relief with the other participants that included the Armed Forces.

On September 28, 2019, the Commissioner, Revenue Administration, Chennai, inducted 69 Sai Disaster Management team members into the State Disaster Response Guard.


Sikkim’s AU-rounder Disaster Management Team

18th September 2011 will perhaps remain etched in the memory of every was the day an earthquake measuring 6.9 on the Richter scale struck the state. The Sai Disaster Management Team worked round the clock for a week in restoring normalcy for the victims. The majority of efforts were in Ungzya, North Sikkim, which had suffered the most damage. The SSSSO OM Team’s major works included drinking water supply at several populated places, a temporary water supply line in the camp area, visits to affected areas, supplying of essential commodities, counseling, and conducting mass prayer sessions.
The state’s experience with the 2011 earthquake spurred the OM Team under SSSSO, Sikkim, to train large numbers of Seva Dais in Disaster Management so that they are ready and available for a rapid response in the event of disasters not only in Sikkim but also in the neighboring states.
The DM team conducts about six or seven training programmes annually. As a result, there is a strong group of 600 trained youth volunteers that can be mobilized to serve whenever there is a need. Volunteers are spread across six districts.

The DM Team has participated in mock drills conducted by the State Government in partnership with NDRF on multiple occasions and at various locations. The NDRF has also provided a week – long training to SSSSO Members at Namchi, South Sikkim.

The trained Seva Dais in the DM Team have had opportunities to serve the citizens in the aftermath of disasters over the years in their own state, as well as neighboring states. The comprehensive OM training has contributed to the team’s effective response to different types of disasters, whether earthquake {in Nepal), floods (West Bengal, Sikkim, Assam) or fire (Sikkim).

On 25th April 2015, when Nepal experienced a major earthquake measuring 7.9 on the Richter scale, the Sai DM team quickly got into action and initiated relief measures focusing on shelter, food, water, medicine, and clothing. A 42-member DM Team of SSSSO Sikkim, with four trucks fully loaded with relief materials worth ~8,00,000 and seven other light vehicles carrying team members proceeded to Ramechap on May 1, 2015 with due permission of the Nepal Government.

Uttarakhand Disaster Relief and Rehabilitation Project

Summer is typically a busy season in Uttarakhand due to the influx of travellers from all over India. Pilgrims make their long-anticipated journey to the famed temples in this part of the country. On June 16 -17, 2013, right in the middle of this busy pilgrimage schedule, there were heavy rains accompanied by landslides and severe floods in the pilgrim centers of Kedarnath, Rudraprayag, Joshi math and Rishikesh. Enormous damage to life and property followed. Several thousand fatalities were reported. Most of the roads were damaged due to the flooding, and access to the affected areas was severely curtailed. Communication systems too were hit.

SSSSO, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand, responded promptly by setting up relief camps near Dehra Dun Airport, Rishikesh Bus station and Haridwar Railway station. Over 1,500 food packets were air lifted on June 19, 2013 from Jolly Grant Airport to the Kedar Valley. The stranded pilgrims were provided biscuits, bread, cooked food, drinking water, medicines, blankets, and cell phones to enable them to call and reassure their concerned relatives.

Once the evacuation process was streamlined, SSSSO volunteers focused their attention and efforts to aiding villagers still residing in the affected areas near Chandrapuri (Bhatwari Sunar) which was totally washed off.

Sealed bags containing rice. wheat. sugar. dal. tea. refined oil. biscuits. rusks. candles and match boxes were provided to the villagers. These bags were often transported, individually, by the Seva Dal volunteers on foot as there was no direct access to the villages. In addition, the affected villagers were provided tents, medicines, blankets, clothes, cooking utensils, steel plates and solar lanterns. A hundred families were served in this round of Seva.

In the second round of Seva in the villages surrounding Bhatwari Sunar, 450 food packets. and dry ration kits consisting of wheat flour. rice. dal. cooking oil. sugar. tea. salt were distributed to the households. Twenty-five large tarpaulins were given to aid shelter for those who had lost their dwellings.

The third and fourth rounds of relief activities covered several villages in the Guptkashi area. Residents were given 450 solar lights and food packets. Small food packages were prepared, as Seva Dais had to walk 25-30 kms to reach the distribution point.

The extent of damage due to the floods, and the upheavals to residents’ lives were such that continuous rehabilitation measures were needed in addition to the immediate relief efforts. Severely damaged schools and houses had to be rebuilt; villagers needed winter clothing and regular supply of food items. The state unit helped several families with marriages of their daughters which had been planned prior to the deluge and flood. Families of the brides were given gift cheques of ~10,000 each, along with clothing, household items, furniture and blankets.

The relief operations demonstrated that Seva Dal volunteers are required to serve at both endsthose in the field rescuing and delivering relief materials to the affected and, those in the background who coordinate, procure, put together and transport the materials to the distribution points. The entire team has to work in a coordinated and dedicated fashion to achieve the goal of serving the distressed to the best extent possible and in a timely manner.

The Uttarakhand flood relief operation also bears testimony to the fact that the Disaster Management Team’s work does not end with providing rescue and relief immediately after the crisis event. Rehabilitation measures to restore the lives and livelihoods of the affected continues to be an ongoing activity well beyond the event.

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