Context: Youth living in slum communities (bastis) in Mumbai lack quality educational opportunities; not only are spaces limited in public middle and high schools, but government-run schools provide low-quality educations at all levels. Youth from bastis lack adequate instruction in computers, English and writing—skills which are necessary to succeed in the highly competitive job market. Severe lack of space and organized activities leaves little opportunity for young people to interact constructively in the community, and to develop and build skills.
Organization: Vacha Trust was founded in 1987 to work on issues affecting women, and expanded to work with at-risk youth in poor neighborhoods of Mumbai in 1995. Vacha Trust provides supplementary schooling for youth, equipping them with skills and self-confidence to succeed in the competitive job market, while fostering their contribution to the community.
Current Grant: EMpower’s seventh grant to Vacha Trust provides youth with computer and language classes in English, Marathi and Hindi, as well as workshops in public speaking, street theater, community organizing, civic participation, and visual media. These skills will help participants succeed in the competitive job market and become more active participants in civic life, including actively participating in campaigns advocating on behalf of the rights of youth.