International Literacy Day: Opening Doors to Improved Lives

According to the 2011 Census Report, literacy rate in India has grown to 74%. From 2001-2011, the decadal literacy growth rate in the country has been recorded at 9.2%, which is even slower than the previous decade. While for men the effective literacy rate was recorded at 80.9%, women lagged behind with a 64.6%; this notifies us all about the alarming gender disparity in the literacy rate in India.

Celebrated on September 8th every year, International Literacy Day is an opportunity to reflect on current literacy challenges and work towards an improved and sustainable society.

In a world as digitized as today’s, literacy is an indispensable part of navigating our ways through life. Lack of skills or low levels of literacy are never meant to be barriers for youth to gain necessary knowledge, irrespective of their socio-economic backgrounds. Surrounded by a market that is rapidly changing, skills are to be developed every day. Literary, technical, vocational and digital skills can ensure fuller participation of people in the society and ensure that they live with dignity.

Role of SOS Children’s Villages of India

Making a lasting impact through vocational training and placements

SOS India’s Vocational Training Centers work towards empowering and enabling vulnerable youth coming from weaker sections of the society. By imparting in them necessary employable skills to equip them with job opportunities, we help them to become self-sufficient and contributing members of society.

The Vocational Training Center (VTC) was initiated by SOS Children’s Villages of India at Nizamuddin, New Delhi in 2011, where training is given to youth between the ages of 18-25 years. Till date, while over 1200 youth have been enrolled in the programme since inception, over 800 are through with their course already. 84% of our youth are now employed and tied up with well-known industries and companies. The courses offered by the VTC are recognized and approved by the Directorate General of Employment & Training (DGE&T) under the Skills Development Initiatives- Modular Employability Scheme (SDI-MES), Government of India. In addition to these courses, the VTC also provides additional 100 hours of training on Soft and Entrepreneurial Skills (SES) as mandated by DGE&T. At present, SOS India is running two vocational training centers, one in Nizamuddin and one in Raipur.

“Literacy is the road to human progress and the means through which every man, woman and child can realise his/her full potential.” – Kofi Annan

Literacy can open doors to improved lives. We must act now to fulfil the promise of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development, ensuring universal access to quality education and learning opportunities throughout people’s live!

Talib Hussain
My name is Talib Hussain and I grew up in Nizamuddin with my brothers and sisters. My father is a fruit seller and couldn’t afford to send me to school after class 10. I didn’t really know how to study further and build a life for myself. I heard about the SOS India Vocational Training Center in Nizamuddin and since the training was free of cost, I enrolled in it, hoping to get a good job after. I learned many things here but the most important thing of all was the communication skills. I did many role play activities that helped me present myself better at job interviews.

One day, the DHL Team visited us all and told us about their work. I was impressed and wanted to work there. For the first time, I could dream for myself. I was so happy when I got the job as a courier boy in DHL and still am! I like coming to work here and meeting my team. We start with a huddle every day and it feels so good. I hope one day I will get to inspire other youth like how the DHL Team inspired me. When I got my first salary, I bought a little something for everyone and it felt great to be able to do that. Because of the training I received at SOS India VTC and the job with DHL, my life has taken a beautiful turn for the better and I feel hopeful of my future.

I want to grow here in DHL. I want to become a Center Supervisor and stretch more with my hard work. Just the way I get to work in an air condition atmosphere, I want to build an air conditioned shop for my father. I cannot thank SOS India enough for

what they’ve done for me and my family! I’m eternally indebted to you for their support.