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Lalitha: Challenges met !

Challenges and struggles bowed before Lalitha! Her unflinching resolve to eke out a better life for herself and her family saw her break all stereotypes and fight back family and social pressures. Not only did she further her education, but also became an earning member of the family, all even after marriage. Her success story is sure to inspire millions of girls who struggle daily for better living conditions.

Born in a remote town in a farmer’s family, making the two ends meet was a daily struggle, as her mother took care of her two daughters and youngest son. Due to tough financial conditions, she had to stop her studies in intermediate. She got married to V Raju who works as a private employee. Her hardships continued as her husband’s pay was also meagre and often insufficient to give them good living conditions.

When she heard of the CDC courses from their door-to-door mobilization, her desire to improve her lot in life impelled her on. With great difficulty, her husband financed her course with money borrowed from a friend. Her determination egged her on as she overcame her discomfort with English as she came from a Telegu-medium background.

She completed  CDC’s Star BPO course and today she is placed at a showroom of Max Retail, Land Mark group. Confident, self-reliant, and with her salary of Rs 7000, she lends a helping hand to her husband in supporting the family, and this gives her immense fulfilment. She wants to be able to give her children a better life, and save them some of the hardships she had to endure.


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Lokesh :Dreams Shaping up !

Lokesh.M  Completed B.Com   in Govt First grade college, Kethaganahalli  Bidadi.

He was born in a village called Mallavavlli Mandya District . His father Madhaiah  is a Farmer, and her mother is a house wife.  His elder brother is working in private company . He was bought up in Billakempanahalli(Village) near Bidadi.

He would study up to 1 A.M. to achieve good marks in exam and to make his mother happy and to fulfill his father’s place.  He studied in government school From 1st to 10th std, and in Shanthi PU College Malavalli.

He wanted to become Businessman and pursue higher education in MBA.When he came to know about the CDC from one of his friend he was very happy and keen to know more about the courses offered and see the center himself.

After he got counseling from CDC he was very happy. He joined the career course as he got to know that the CDC is offering job oriented course with very less fee.  He joined for CPGM in voice based process. Under this program he learnt Basic-IT, Spoken English, life skills.

He remembers, “As I was  from Kannada medium I thought it would be very difficult for me to learn English but because of the help we received from the course I was able to work hard and improve my confidence to speak English publically.”

Today he is placed with Flipkart with a starting salary of Rs 12,000/- PM and is performing well at his job. Here’s wishing him all the very best for his future endeavors.

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M. Saranya :Where there is a will , there is a way !

M. Saranya is a hard working girl from Navallur Village. Although from an economically unstable family, she always had a positive outlook towards life and an urge to provide for a better future for her younger sister.

She grew up in a lower middle class 4 members family. Her father being a seasonal laborer and the sole bread winner for the family was often unable to meet the ends. Financial crisis always loomed over her family.Saranya always wanted to support her family but communication skills always come in her way. Before joining NIIT she had been very conservative and introvert girl. Being a deserving candidate she got sponsorship from Steria Foundation and enrolled herself in Communication and Computer Basics course.

She was very committed and hardworking during her training. Although she faced a lot of problems improving her grammar, her unconditional efforts resulted in her getting selected as the best candidate for Job Readiness Training (JRT5) program conducted in the October month at NF Center. She is now placed as a part-time employee in Dominos Pizza with a starting salary of Rs 4500/ per month.

Saranya loves her work and getting appreciation for her hard work. With time she has become confident and understands customer requirement very well. She gives most of the credit of her success to her parents and trainer who always remained very supportive of her dreams and helped her every step of the way.

Today, she not only continues to work but is also pursuing Bachelor of Engineering final year and wants to be an Electronic Engineer at ISRO. We wish her a very good luck and hope that she achieves all that she desires .


Anoop Kumar

Anoop Kumar: Hardwork always pays off !

Anoop is a 18 year old, young aspirant boy from Hisar. Although from an economically unstable family, he always had a positive outlook towards life and an urge to do something for his family.

Today he is working with Super Tech Technologies as a data entry operator where he is doing a part-time job with a monthly income of Rs 3000/ per month. He is also pursuing 12th from correspondence.

He grew up in a lower middle class 6 members family. His father being a laborer and the sole bread winner for the family was often unable to meet the ends. After completing school he started working as a daily wager to support his family.  Soon he realized the hard realities of a labor’s life and its limited scope.

At one of the counselling sessions at NIIT Foundation center Anoop he enrolled himself for Retail & IT course. He had to face many difficulties in the beginning as he had lost touch with studies for a while but his dedication and unconditional efforts helped him to overcome the challenges and improve his communication and I.T skills. Though his NF placement is still 3 months away he already had a job.

Anoop gives most of the credit of his success to his father and trainer who always remained very supportive. His dream is to fulfill his parents’ expectations and to give his brothers & sisters full support in their studies.

We wish him a very good luck and hope that he achieves all that he desires.


Small Step towards Success

Hailing from a small village just outside Pune,  Atish always dreamt of being a General Manager in a MNC one day. Tough financial condition and pressure to support his family just might have nipped his dream even before they could blossom. But by his sheer grit, determination and help from NIIT Foundation’s Career Development Center (CDC), his dream may finally take shape.

With only his younger brother’s salary to support him and his parents, Atish recalls, “It was really tough for me to learn and complete my education as my financial condition was very poor”. He had to discontinue his studies after high school and take up a job as a helper in a mobile shop. Because of his discomfiture with English, he struggled to deal with customers and distributors. Completing his education had become a distant dream.

With a burning desire to improve , he used his savings and borrowed money from his brother to finance CDC’s English foundation course. He improved his communication skills, and with career counselling, his views on career and life itself, changed.

Today his fluency with the Queen’s language and his increased confidence has landed him a job with Reliance Telecom as a PSR, for a salary of 10,000/- . Now he can not only support his family, but can also finance his B.Com graduation degree from YCM Open University. This has also rekindled his belief that dreams do come true with persistence and confidence in one self.



Masooma’s Dream

When NIIT Foundation opened a center in Nizamuddin with Aga Khan Foundation (AKF) and offered courses in Personality Development, English, and IT, Massooma was thrilled. “I spared no efforts in pleading with my parents. I knew if they listened to Ma’am (NF Centre Head), they would let me (study)”. After repeated center visits and discussions with the NF Nizamuddin team, Massooma’s parents allowed her to join the course. Massooma was diligent and took full responsibility for her learning. We were elated when Massooma was selected by Café Coffee Day and Pantaloons, both huge brands. Although, this was something that she couldn’t imagine before since her parents were not comfortable with her working outside the basti, she couldn’t take up the jobs.

What was heartening though was her zeal to find a workaround. For Massooma, a job meant more than just a salary – it was about feeling independent, about taking responsibility for her own life. So she continued to visit the NF center looking for local opportunities and for ways in which she could contribute and learn. In fact, she happily volunteered to be a surveyor for her basti in the sweltering June heat. As they say, Massooma’s will finally found a way. When a position for a remedial trainer opened up at the Aga Khan Foundation, Massooma was the first choice. She is now employed full time and earning every one’s admiration along with a good salary.



Narayan Baghel : No Dream Too Big

“Bhaiya apka photo chhapa hai paper main” (Your picture has come in the newspaper), someone cried from the heavy mob that wrestled against unplastered walls of Narayan Baghel’s house. Narayan, the eldest son of a farming laborer, was chosen from all over India for DPE-MSL Global Scholarships for professional training through NIIT Foundation.

Narayan’s beginnings were tougher than you would guess from his brave smiles. Knowing Rs.2000 per month hardly sufficed for his family of five, from an early age of 12, Narayan spent weekends working on farms earning Rs. 20 per day for school fees. When school finished, he quietly buried his hopes of being an Engineer. Concentrating hard on practicality of life, doing B.Com.(Hons.), and moving to Bangalore with his Aunt seemed like a sure shot way to land a job. Three years of home tuitions to earn fees, endless chores and errands, nights of pouring over English books to comprehend what professors talked about and finally a B.Com.(H.) degree however failed to do the needful. Narayan returned to Chhindwara, MP his hometown without a job. Just another statistic confirming that traditional education system does not prepare youth for industry.

Narayan then heard of NF District Learning Center in Chhindwara. Professional Job oriented courses offered at the center seemed within Narayan’s reach, bringing hope of a job. Still, the 5 hours of daily travel, and sheer battle for sustenance posed a challenge. “But then I would think how I had come a long way, I was finally learning about computers, professional behavior, and conversing in English. Ravi Sir supported me a lot at DLC. I would remember my dream of being an Engineer, to have a computer of my own, and I would somehow find the strength to go on for one more day.

Narayan’s dedication and hard work earned him the DPE-MSL Global scholarship that is helping him fulfill his dream. Today Narayan has his coveted laptop, he is studying to be a network engineer from NIIT on full scholarship, and interning in NIIT Foundation Head Office, New Delhi.

From an aggressive kid who had joined DLC Chhindwara, Narayan has now transformed into a calm, cooperative and responsible young man. His improved speech, posture, and dressing match his new self perfectly. He says he still has a long way to go. Being a farmer at heart, he is prepared.



Kajal Dagar : Challenging Self

She still remembers clearly the day she dropped the idea of pursuing graduation. “We had come from U.P. to have a better life in Delhi but it all fell apart. My mother and I had to sew clothes to pay rent. School had finished, but higher studies were too expensive. Besides I needed a job, immediately”, shares Kajal Dagar, eldest of the four siblings, who found herself in a quandary after her father, the sole bread-winner of their family, became bed-ridden.

Kajal’s mother had big dreams for her daughter and could not resist visiting NIIT Foundation (NF), Sunder Nagri Center when she learnt about the need based sponsorship provision at NF. Following earnest requests from Kajal’s mother and a due diligence visit to her home; Kajal was admitted to a job-oriented course on full-sponsorship within a few weeks.

She started off as a quiet and withdrawn student. “At NF, our teaching methods are participation oriented and Kajal was taking time to come out of her shell. After discussion we realized, that she worried too much about her gestures and choice of words. She felt out of place mostly because she had a small town upbringing. She would remain wary of unintentionally offending people. This was affecting her learning and confidence. We counseled her to speak up, make her mistakes and learn from them. She gradually started participating in class.”, says Ritu Kapoor, Center Head, NF Sunder Nagri.

Kajal picked up faster than we had expected because she tried a bit more than everyone else. She stayed on at the center even after her class finished and helped out other students where she could. So effectively, she studied for four hours per day while rest of the students took a two hours class.

Her hard work was evident by the time she finished with the course. “My pronunciation has improved. Now I do not have a problem in searching on Internet, talking to strangers, or speaking in English”, says Kajal.

Even though ideally she would have liked to work at an indoors retail job, Kajal wisely accepted a field marketing job offer from Yakult that paid a good salary of Rs. 10,000/- per month. “She quickly learned to drive the company scooter, she took it in her stride”, shares Ritu, Center Head, NF Sunder Nagri.

Today along with supporting her family, she is pursuing the graduation degree, she had once abandoned. But her greatest achievement is to send her sister for a course at NIIT Foundation, this time without needing a sponsorship.


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 Never Say Die !

Mohd.Saddam Hussain (Rehan) belongs to U.P. Frustrated with the job search, he had once decided to end his life at the train tracks of Nizamuddin railway station. Luckily, he came to us. Today he works for BIG APPLE and sends money home every month. This is his story.

He came to Delhi looking for a job about 4 years ago when his Delhi-based cousin agreed to shelter him. He was 12th class pass but the aspirations to study further had to be surrendered to family’s financial needs. 6 months of rigorous job search finally ended in a Garment Shop as a salesman. He was however sacked after first week for ‘not speaking very well’ and ‘stammering’. After yet another long search, he found a job as a field salesman. But within 2 months he was jobless again for the same reason. They told him, “ You are very sincere and hard working but you can’t convince customers because you stammer”.

‘’My main problem was my stammering, I started to believe that I couldn’t do anything in my life with stammering”, he recalls. Many made fun of him, he started remaining depressed and secluded. Another six months passed but no one hired him and then came the day when his cousin asked him to leave the house, thinking it was Saddam’s misbehavior on the job that had got him fired.

Saddam would have made a terrible mistake that day by committing suicide, to his luck and ours, his friend who was a student at NIIT Yuva Star Nizamuddin found him at the railway station and asked why he looked so dejected. Suggestion to join our CDC, met with stern question from Saddam, “Why should I join these classes? What’s the benefit? When I know my problem is stammering. Will it be solved at your CDC?” .When Saddam stopped, his friend told him that everything is possible, and that he would get a job through CDC. He came to our CDC and joined the course next day.

In the beginning, he remained very quiet and aloof. Through encouragement he started to improve himself by participating in class activities. By the time his course came to an end he had overcome his hesitation. But when it was time for interviews Saddam couldn’t bring himself to face even a single one even though he was ready. After much reaffirmation he sat for one interview and by the end of that thirty minute long interview, Saddam had been selected. His HR manager is very impressed with him. Saddam’s stammering is suddenly not his main problem, in fact no problem at all. His parents are proud that their son has got a job. Saddam has resumed his education again.



 Good Timber

How many times have you tried to hail an auto? How many times the auto driver managed to over-charge you? How many times did you feel that the auto driver does not want to do his job honestly & has intentions to rob you? Did these experiences lead you to assume that the only way to talk sense with the auto driver is to use abusive road language – after all, they must be used to it!

Contrary to this common assumption, Sameer tells us that nobody ever gets used to being talked down to; after all it hurts every time somebody attacks your self-respect! Whether it is a police walah or a customer in a hurry to get to office!

Clarifying another silly assumption Sameer adds ‘Auto walahs do not make a lot of money, by over charging they just manage to get by because most of them use the rented autos for which they pay daily rent.

“Sameer lives in Sunder Nagri and has driven auto since he was 15 years old. He managed to continue schooling till 10th grade, but then he had to take up auto driving as a full time occupation because his father’s health declined. These adversities in his life lead him to become more isolated and quiet as a person. However this was not the only reason he kept procrastinating joining up a skilling program, another reason was that his neighbors continued to influence his father by constantly demeaning him. “The boy will never amount to anything, don’t waste your time and money in such useless courses, let him go to work and earn money”.

But Sameer couldn’t take disrespect & disappointments that life offered for long. He decided to learn English to upgrade himself and choose a better life. Scratching the last bits from his pocket he enrolled for Basic English classes and service industry training. During the course tenure, he used to drive auto for 12 hours, attended 3 weeks of extra classes, ran out of fee money twice and got rescued by centre manager Deepak Ganjoo. Deepak shares “Sameer is like Hanuman, he is unaware of his true ability, so we made sure he remembered”.

Sameer still drives an auto for half a day, another half he works for Bajaj Allianz!! Last month, Sameer set himself a target of Rs.30000 sale, and achieved it much before the deadline! All at his workplace are in awe of him; nobody had accomplished such a feat in the past. He has now decided to save some money & buy an auto by next year.

His proud father has now shredded his perceptions about Sameer and adds “Sameer has become very different, he even looks different. Dressed nicely, stays clean shaven and he works at an office. He has also become very responsible; he speaks well. I am so proud.

“Dear Sameer, You may have not heard these lines by J.W. Marriott – ‘Good timber doesn’t grow with ease, the stronger wind the stronger trees’, but you sure live it every day! We salute your perseverance & spirit!


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Giving up is not an option

Why would a 12th pass youth who hails from a poor farmer family in UP, has three sisters and works as an errand boy doing odd jobs at his uncle’s place in Delhi slums, not want to make his life better by getting a job?

Would he not at least have a plan if not a dream? ‘How poor is the family?’ you might ask. Well.. his father is the only bread earner and makes about Rs.3000 p.m.. To add to the plight, his mother is a heart patient. So, when his cousin enrolled him at CDC and paid the fees, we still kept gaping as to why is Danish not motivated to learn?

We couldn’t understand why he did not turn up for classes for a month after enrollment. No amount of questioning would get the boy’s attention. It was only after three months into the course, that he shared “Ma’am! You don’t understand. My family looks down upon jobs; education is not regarded important. If I were to tell my mom that I don’t want to go to school today, her response would be to invite me to eat something or to catch up on sleep. You are the first person who has questioned me on missing the classes. I really liked the customer service you taught yesterday, seems I can help my family with the money. Can I get a real job?

“Once convinced that job could change his circumstances, Danish poured his heart & soul into it.

Four months later, the story changed. Danish returned from his village as an icon! He shared “There was a rally in my village and they invited me on the podium to say something. I spoke without hesitation & in English! Everyone is my fan now. My breakfast and supper is sent by the villagers.” He got placed in Vodafone and then accepted an offer from Dubai in retail.

The scene at his home is much different now.. he ensures that his siblings are regular at school & make something out of their life.


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Diamond in the rough

8 months ago Yogesh Kumar Premi of Sunder Nagri, was popular as ‘Gappu Bhai’ among his friends. He would pick up random fights because he had low tolerance for any injustice being done to his friends & loved ones. ‘I am a very emotional person’ he explains quickly. When not fighting he would be whiling away his days in a cricket game and repeating a well-worn-out phrase ‘Ho jayega!’ almost as casually as his pair of jeans!

“I just wanted to remain a kid. Taking orders from others or doing a prescribed job wasn’t on my plans. My dream was to start a business. I didn’t even take this course seriously in the beginning, but when I learnt about responsibility and maturity, I started being regular for the classes. It dawned on me that my fights were hurting my own family. Now I resolve all issues with talks”, Yogesh smiles as he relates the contrast.

His dreamy and laid back facade would have convinced us against his talent for studies or hard work, but he completed the four months course in just three. The long hair and rugged look too were given up quickly in favor of formals and clean shave.

As of today, he has been working with NIIT Yuva Star at Sunder Nagri, as an assistant IT Faculty for past 4 months. Although he still holds the ‘being one’s own boss’ policy strong, he feels that at NIIT Yuva Star he doesn’t feel as if he is acting on orders, rather he feels elated when students look up to him as a role model . Yogesh advices his students to keep their head on their shoulders, his favorite phrase has now changed to “If you won’t think about your future, you can’t do anything”.


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Hearing the disquiet

“I just want a job and I want to help my children with their studies.” Seema, 28, restlessly enthusiastic, answered the counselor without waiting for a question on her first visit to NIIT Yuva Star Gharoli.

Seema had just pulled a last straw, “Many women of my age in community were working somewhere, some had joined NIIT Yuva Star and then they found jobs. I felt as if I was going to be left behind, even my children had asked a few times why I did not work, they made fun of me when I tried to talk to them in English.”

After four months into the course, she got placed on her new job at Net Ambit. Her family income has doubled as a result. But satisfaction point is disconnected from money, as Seema shares “It is how my kids feel proud of me when they see me talking the way I do now. I have gained exposure at work; I have realized how one should be treated; something I would have never figured out on my own.” Her awe at how much control she has over her life is visible from her bright eyed smiling face.

She wants other women in the community to gain confidence like her. According to Seema “everyone should have some skill that can get them a job; everyone should be able to work, especially women”.

Seema decided to deal with the ’empty spaces’; she decided to not tolerate the lack she was feeling in life, we are glad we were there to hold her hand through it.

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Jitesh Chaudhary

“He asked me to change my ringtone, says it is rude to have a loud ring tone; it disturbs others, can you believe that?” a glad astonishment flashes in Jitesh’s elder brother’s eyes; as he shares his joy at the visible change in Jitesh’s attitude.

You see, a few months ago this kind of a suggestion were unexpected to come from Jitesh. Only four months ago, this 19 year old was among the notorious boys of community. He was caught in all kinds of behavioral, social and family mal-adjustments. His downward spiral had started after his father’s death. Jitesh’s trainer adds “He was so lazy; he would wake up after 3 pm and roam in the streets with his bully friends. He didn’t want to join; his mother got him enrolled.”

Jitesh’s mother was forced to work, as his elder brother was unable to support them completely. On the first day of the batch Jitesh showed up in long hair, t-shirt and jeans. “We wanted to first engage him in studies and not draw unwanted attention to his dressing style” shares his trainer as she remembers the day. She adds further “When I paired him up for a story making activity he wasn’t able to write proper sentences in English, but he did create a beautiful story in Hindi. The appreciation that followed his creativity seemed to spark something within him, within a week’s time Jitesh started coming to classes in formals, ensured clean shave and proper hair cut. Then his friends circle changed, some of them joined jobs, some of them stopped hanging out with him and yet others now want to understand what changed him so much.”

A former ‘no aim’ youth, today Jitesh is famous in Costa Coffee for his exceptional customer service, a few ask for him by name! Graduation, MBA preparation and an offer from Radisson Hotel are some of the things keeping him busy & aspiring high these days. But what hits the bull’s eye is the fact that Jitesh has realized not only the value of money but that of relationships & above all his mother. He frequently helps his mother in the kitchen and sometimes treats her to his specialties, “Mom loves the coffee I make for her.” says Jitesh patting his own back.