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West Bengal - Case Studies
Title Issue
Building Lives of the Youth skill Based Livelihoods
Finding Hope through Skill Building Skill Based Livelihoods
Niren’s ray of hope Healthcare
Nothing fishy about this Agro-based livelihood
Building Lives of the Youth

It is said that when tragedy hits, it hits hard. When the Manikpur Delta Jute Mill in Chhattisgarh, West Bengal shut down, not only did Baidyanath Makhal lose his job, but his family of six was badly affected too. Much as he tried, Baidyanath Makhal was unable to find another job after the mill shut down. His children had to drop out of school, and the eldest had to move to Kolkata to work in a wholesale market to earn a daily wage.

Anup, 20, who was one of Baidyanath’s children forced to leave school, had already started working on a farm as an agricultural labourer, earning a trifling sum for his efforts. He heard about ACF from his neighbours and decided it would be a good idea to approach them. They encouraged him to appear for his Standard X Final Examination, and so he did. After the exams he enrolled in a vocational training programme at a government polytechnic, Howrah Homes, for a course in electrical house wiring and motor winding. ACF covered the expenses of the training programme so that his family didn’t have to struggle any more. With the skills acquired from the course, his first real assignment, a house wiring job, netted him a profit of Rs. 900. From there, there was no looking back.

Today Anup is a confident, independent young man, who works at the local cable operator’s office, and Baidyanath is a proud father, extremely thankful to ACF for their timely assistance.
Finding Hope through Skill Building

In Sankrail, West Bengal, Jhantu lost his father soon after he was born. His mother supported her family of four vending vegetables. With a meagre income, it became increasingly difficult for his mother to support his education. Finally, much against her wishes, she was forced to withdraw him from school while he was in standard VIII.

Jhantu spent most of his time idling around the village. The Headmaster of the school noticed this and suggested to him that he should join one of the vocational courses offered by ACF at the Don Bosco Institute. Paying heed to the Headmaster’s advice, Jhantu enrolled himself in the short term course on house wiring and motor winding. While he studies there, ACF took on the responsibility of continuously monitoring his progress, encouraging him and boosting his confidence. Frequently ACF personnel would spend time to interact with him to find out how he was faring in the course. The constant support went a long way in ensuring that Jhantu didn’t quit his course half-way through. After a year he successfully completed his course and found himself a job with a local company J.D. Enterprise.
Niren’s ray of hope

Niren was an elderly farmer from Sudana village who earned his income by cultivating his 5 bighasof land. Being one of the first farmers to initiate Systematic Rice Intensification in his village, he had developed close ties with ACF. Diagnosed with cataract and with his fast progressing loss in eye sight and consequent difficulty in managing basic tasks, he panicked.

Learning of a special eye check-up camps ACF was organised in his panchayat, Niren attendedthe camp and was asked to undergo a corrective surgery immediately. Niren underwent the surgery absolutely free of cost and his eye sight was completely restored.

With gratitude, Niren was heard speaking to his neighbour “It is due to ACF that I got my eye sight back. These people have been a ray of hope in my life.”
Nothing fishy about this

Childhood friends Osman, Saifuddin and Hassen had an unprofitable business as zari workers. The need for finding an alternate source of supplementary income was evident. Saifuddin’s brother-in-law suggested to the boys that they could engage in fish farming. Since he was experienced in the field, he would provide them the technical inputs needed and they could lease a pond together to begin the enterprise. The boys liked the idea and took a pond on lease. Though they worked hard, the profits were not as good as they expected them to be. Sure that there was something missing in the way they were operating, they got in touch with ACF. With its reputation in community development initiatives in the area, the trio was hopeful that ACF would provide them some answers.

At ACF the boys received just the kind of technical help they needed. They learnt how they could improve the quality of the pond water by applying urea and SSP to encourage growth of phytoplankton and zooplankton and how the use of potassium permanganate could kill harmful bacteria in the water. After proper treatment of the pond, the boys purchased fingerlings from ACF. They selected popular fish like Ruhu, Katla and Mrigal and after sometime added some prawns too. As taught by ACF they regularly monitored the ph level of the water and applied lime to maintain it at correct levels. The profits from the sale of the fish and prawns has been so good that the three young men have now set their heart on increasing the number of their ponds… and their profits.
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