Helping a person learn a marketable skill, which enables her or him to earn a living wage, has been one of the most effective ways to make them self-reliant. Over the last 40 years, PPI has supported a large number of projects which have provided vocational and craft training to poor girls and women (typically from villages, sometimes from tribal areas or of backward castes, or even trying to get away from being used as sex workers). A little less frequently, we have also helped provide appropriate vocational training to young men. It is especially satisfying when handicapped or even blind people have been able to learn a skill which has helped them stand on their own feet.
PPI has depended on the NGOs we support to identify the skills in demand in their particular region. These skills have included embroidery, tailoring, hand-loom weaving, traditional art, beautician, making silk saris, designing women clothes, pottery, making bamboo products, computer basics, using software, cell phone repairing, bicycle repair, shoe-making, and radio and TV repair.
The people with these new skills have been able to find better-paying jobs or have even established their own small businesses. Where appropriate, we have supported the NGOs to provide follow-on entrepreneurship training and/or product-marketing skills. With these skills, NGOs have often been able to help the trainees get loans from banks for setting up their own small businesses.