Aga Khan Foundation (India)

Project Lehar

Prince’s Trust International has been working alongside The Aga Khan Foundation in India to deliver Project Lehar which aims to support young girls and women with empowerment and self-reliance.

Currently, Project Lehar supports young girls and women from poor and disadvantaged families in Patna, Bihar and Bahraich, Uttar Pradesh. The regions where the project is ongoing is marginalised and people in those areas face several barriers in successful employment due to lack of skills and opportunities. Women struggle even more due to social, cultural and gender barriers which are deep rooted in people there. This presents a huge challenge for their gainful employment outside their house or community. The intervention works on building the capacity of these young girls and women to prioritise their education, health and wellbeing and empowers them through vocational training and support to enable them to earn viable incomes. The programme works with young women helping them enhance their teambuilding, negotiations, communication skills etc. ensuring that they become more confident.

Through a three-way strategy of scholastic support, vocational training and life skills education, the programme works to equip young women from marginalized communities, especially those who are out of school, with the knowledge and skills to progress with their education, health and wellbeing and further explore their potential. Along with these skills, enterprise skills give them an insight into the world of self-employment, should they consider this as an option. These in turn expose them to different opportunities to generate income or build a career, so that they are respected, protected and valued as equal agents for social and economic change in their families and communities.

The Aga Khan Foundation

The Aga Khan Foundation (India) is part of the Aga Khan Development Network (AKDN), a group of 11 development agencies addressing the needs of poor and marginalized communities in more than 30 countries. AKF aims to improve the overall quality of life of communities in its target geographies, and its mission is to bring together the required human, financial and technical resources to assist the poorest and most marginalized, especially women and girls.

Since 1978, AKF has operated in India, implementing programmes in both urban and rural areas, across five thematic areas – Agriculture and Food Security, Economic Inclusion, Education, Early Childhood Development, Health and Nutrition. Cutting across all its work is a strong commitment to community participation, empowerment of women, pluralism and social inclusion. Current interventions are under implementation across six states – Bihar, Delhi, Gujarat, Madhya Pradesh, Telangana and Uttar Pradesh.

AKF has been working with out-of-school adolescent girls from poor and disadvantaged communities in Uttar Pradesh and Bihar to prioritize their education, health and wellbeing. So far, over 6,000 girls have benefited from the programme.

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Case Study

Gulshan's Story

18-year-old Gulshan is a resident of Phulwarisharif, Patna, Bihar. Life has been extremely harsh for Gulshan since early childhood when she lost her father at 11 years old. Gulshan was the eldest of four siblings and had to drop out of school to earn money home to support her family. Her mother had never gone to school or worked in the past, however she started working as a domestic helper. Even with combined efforts from Gulshan and her mother the family was struggling for basic things like food and clothes, between the five of them they could sometimes only afford one meal.

Gulshan, Project Lehar

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