Merlin Group, Terre De Suisse Homes (Tdh Suisse) & DRCSC join forces to empower urban slum women in Dhapa
Launches the Tailoring Training Centre for urban slum women in Dhapa
The collaborative effort is to uplift the educational status of children and youth and contribute to the economic empowerment of society by establishing a vocational centre, a digital skill training centre, and a support education program benefitting 490 children across 5 urban slums in Dhapa.
Kolkata, 18 January 2024:
Merlin I Am Kolkata, the corporate social responsibility arm of Merlin Group, the leading real estate conglomerate in India, has announced the unveiling of a Tailoring Training Centre for women living in an urban slum area of Dhapa in partnership with TDH Suisse, a Swiss Child rights organization and DRCSC, a non-profit organization working in Dhapa area and other parts of West Bengal today.
In a collaborative effort to foster inclusive growth, prevent school dropouts, and empower women through vocational education, Merlin I Am Kolkata, the corporate social responsibility arm of Merlin Group, has partnered with Terre De Suisse Homes (TDH Suisse) and DRCSC to launch a Tailoring Training Centre for urban slum women in Dhapa.
The unveiling ceremony held at Dhapa Dipi witnessed the Hon’ble Consul General of the US, the US, Ms. Melinda Pavek, and Mr. Sushil Mohta, Chairman of Merlin Group, inaugurating the vocational center in tailoring. Mr. Ashish Ghosh, Regional Coordinator-Asia, TDH Suisse, and Ms. Somjita Chakraborty, Chief Program Officer, DRCSC, DRCSC were also present.
The initiative aims to uplift the educational status of children and youth while promoting economic empowerment in the Dhapa community through a comprehensive program encompassing vocational training, digital skills development, and support for education.
The inaugural programme on the tailoring training centre also witnessed enthusiastic mothers and children living in the slums of Dhapa, who are beneficiaries of the three projects undertaken by Merlin I Am Kolkata, Tdh Suisse, and DRCSC in Dhapa.
Ms. Melinda Pavek, the Hon’ble US Consul General, expressed her support, stating, “This collaborative effort is a significant step towards empowering marginalized communities, especially women, in Dhapa. It aligns with the values of inclusivity and skill development.”
Mr. Sushil Mohta, Chairman of Merlin Group, emphasized the project’s importance in supporting the local economy. “We at Merlin are very happy to support the marginalized section of the society in the Dhapa area in partnership with Tdh Suisse and DRCSC. The project on tailoring, digital skill training, and the support education program will pave the way for the inclusive growth of the area, creating potential for economic improvement. The mothers who will undergo training in tailoring will be supported to make products that they can sell in the market and earn their livelihood as well. The project will help the centre to find a market linkage so that the garments and accessories and other stitching materials can be sold thus improving the economic situation of the families.”
Speaking on the occasion, Mr. Saket Mohta iterated, ” It is our motto at Merlin I Am Kolkata to create a society with inclusive growth. We at Merlin pledged to continue our support to TDH Suisse and DRCSC in the urban slum project of Kolkata to empower vulnerable children by providing access to quality education, right-based education, environmental actions, and sustainable development.
It is crucial for our children to acquire knowledge of computers and its application in this digital era. We hope our little support will empower the marginalized section of society and the youngsters and kids will learn the basics of the digital literacy programme. Merlin I am Kolkata will appeal to the Technical Education Department of the Govt of West Bengal to introduce a certificate course for the youth in this digital education centre to enhance their employability. Under our support education programme we will also provide scholarships to 10 meritorious students for higher studies. ”
Mr. Ashish Ghosh, Regional Coordinator-Asia, TdH Suisse, said, that Terre des Hommes Suisse (TdH Suisse) and its local partners have continued their efforts to support the women and children who are at risk of exploitation and violence. Poverty is on the rise and families are facing tremendous financial crisis, particularly in the post-COVID phase. In this situation, women are one of the most powerful axes to combat the situation within the family. Girls and women are increasingly exposed to violence and discrimination within their communities. TdH Suisse believes in gender equity and women empowerment without which an equitable society is not possible.
This CSR-NGO collaboration between Merlin Group and Terre des Hommes Suisse will have an enormous impact on the lives of children and women in this community.
Key Highlights of the Initiative: This comprehensive project exemplifies the commitment of Merlin Group, TDH Suisse, and DRCSC toward creating a positive and sustainable impact on the lives of the residents in Dhapa.
Tailoring Training Centre:
The vocational center will provide training to 20 slum women residing in Dhapa, empowering them with valuable skills in tailoring. Merlin I Am Kolkata has contributed 10 sewing machines, remuneration for trainers, and raw materials for tailoring.TDH Suisse and DRCSC will identify and support 20 mothers, enhancing their entrepreneurial skills.
Support Education Program:
Continuing its commitment to education, Merlin I Am Kolkata will support the education of 490 children from marginalized sections across 5 urban slums in Dhapa for the second consecutive year. The program includes scholarships for 10 meritorious students and aims to prevent school dropouts.
The collaborative project offers value-based education (that includes curricular and child rights education) coupled with direct community actions to transform children and youth as Actors of Change. the support education programme at 5 education centers is equipped with trained educators who deploy contextualized learning and interactive pedagogy to deliver classes that not only reinforce better learning opportunities but also enable them to take action, build advocacy with stakeholders and make their voices heard.
The project on support education caters to children belonging to families who are into daily wage work, rag picking, plastic and electronics waste collectors, rickshaw pullers, and odd jobs, where family income ranges between INR 2000 to 5000. 70% of families have been staying here for the past 15 years with limited access to entitlements and services. A meager 49.5% of children who have been to school find it difficult to continue their education as they are mostly first-generation learners and lack education support at home. Dropping out of the education system not only makes these children vulnerable but makes them fall prey to other forms of exploitation such as abuse, violence, trafficking, etc.
The project will also strengthen 5 public schools (Bhoothnath Mahamaya Boys, Bhoothnath Mahamaya Girls, Janakalyan Sikshamandir, Shastriji Harijan Vidyamandir and Tarun Tirtha Prathamic Vidyalaya) through parent-teachers meeting, support School Management Committees and child cabinets to function properly.
Digital Skill Training Centre:
A new digital skill training center has been launched for 60 slum youth in Dhapa, offering courses in computer literacy and soft skills development. The initiative aims to enhance career opportunities for youth through training in interview preparedness, resume writing, and computer applications. Merlin I am Kolkata will submit a proposal to the Technical Education Department of West Bengal Govt to introduce a certificate course for the digital skill training centre .
The initiative targets families engaged in daily wage work, rag picking, and odd jobs, providing value-based education and community actions to transform children and youth as agents of change. The collaboration with TDH Suisse and DRCSC aims to strengthen public schools, ensuring a holistic impact on education in the region.
Terre des Hommes Suisse (TdH Suisse) – A Geneva (Switzerland) based Child rights organisation supports local organisations across 4 States (Jharkhand, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha, and West Bengal) in India, of which DRCSC is a partner. DRCSC is a non-profit organization working in West Bengal and is currently implementing a project in Dhapa areas to provide education to marginalized children. Merlin Group CSR has partnered with TdH Suisse to co-fund the project across 5 urban slums in the Dhapa and Tangra region, situated in close proximity to the Merlin X site. The project impacted 420 children in 2023 with education support and ensured that they were retained in public schools.