ETASHA, which is an acronym for “Enabling and Training Adolescents for a Successful and Healthy Adulthood,” has been set up by Ms. Meenakshi Nayar.

Ms. Nayar began her career in the 1980s, after completing her Masters in Psychology followed by a PhD in Organizational Behavior from the Indian Institute of Management, Ahmedabad. After 25 years of working in HR for the DCM Group, she began, as she jovially put it, her “significant work.”

She says, “When I was a Director at EduServe Consultants, I was invited by Arpana Trust, an NGO working for slum dwellers, to conduct a program on career guidance. I realized that the biggest problem faced by underprivileged youth was that of vocational training opportunities. These opportunities could help them develop relevant skills and begin earning a livelihood.”

She adds, “The government’s emphasis on school education is phenomenal. It’s taken millions of young, underprivileged youth through the school education system. But that’s where the problem begins. These young people, who have been through school, are still not ready for industry. They struggle to complete high school only to find that they have no skills that the organized industry values. Moreover, they have neither the time nor the money to afford elaborate training.”

In 2006, ETASHA was set up with the belief that helping young people to develop new skills, giving them access to relevant vocational training and connecting them with employers, will enable them to take control of their own careers and lives, and to help their families break out of the cycle of poverty.

The focus area of the organization flows logically from Meenakshi’s experience base. “I just switched sides of the table. From being the recruiter and trainer of employees for industry, I now work with underprivileged youth to help them gain access to employment and careers in organized industry.”

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