Shashikala wants to be an IAS officer…


When you dare to dream, the goal gets clearer and when you take the first step, however tiny it is, your journey towards it has indeed, flagged off. No doubt, the journey can be tedious and it is no different for Shasikala either.

This twenty-two-year-old wants to be an IAS officer. But she is not in a situation to dive deep into it, right away. For the responsibility of running her family consisting of father, mother, a brother and a sister is solely on her father’s shoulders. Her further studies would aggravate her father’s responsibilities. Hence, her first priority was to get herself a job.

Though a BBA graduate, she felt the need to join a skill development centre like Pratishtha to learn new skills and computers and make her employable. In no time, an enthusiastic Shashikala quickly grabbed everyone’s attention not only by becoming the top student but also by helping her classmates to succeed.

When a vacancy was noted in one of the centres, Pratishthta was quick enough to recruit her as a trainer. Shashikala indeed has taken the first step towards her goal. She feels proud to have become a trainer and believes she will bring further success to Pratishtha, while also building her own career.  “ Besides, my income would lessen the burden of my father. I can support the education of my brother and sister,” she says with a glint in her eyes.

Now, as a trainer, she is enjoying teaching and recently completed four-day training at Quest Alliance, the NGO partnering with Pratishtha. She liked the retail course and English the most.

With all the good things happening to her, it is equally important to note that Shashikala’s new earnings have allowed her to become independent, as she no longer has to rely on others for her sustenance.


Let the sky be your limit – Read Meghna’s success story


Meghna currently works as a Custom Relation Officer at Airtel. She earns Rs 20,000 a month plus incentives. But a year ago, her story was a bit different. Though a graduate, she was working at KFC for a salary of  ₹8000 per month.

Her life changed  for the better after her three month course in Pratishta centre  about which she came to know from one of her friends.

Originally from Kolar, 20 year old Meghana grew up in Bangalore under the care of her grandparents. Her parents were living in Kolar. Following her BA graduation, she began a job at KFC. But she wanted to achieve more in life and knew that it could be possible only if she hones her communication skills, especially English. Her search for a good skill training centre landed her in Pratishta.

PRATISHTHA (meaning Prestige) is a programme run by Reaching Hand that supports vulnerable youths, especially young women from disadvantaged families/communities to realize their dreams by equipping and acquiring employability skills with life skills, which not only helps them to access decent employment but also makes them representatives of a gender just society.

On her performance, her trainer testified “ Meghna’s commitment was apparent. Every day, she had to take two different buses to reach the center, yet she was always on time. She most enjoyed Customer Interaction and English classes and believes those classes helped her to procure the current job at Airtel.”

Meghna says “ My father is the sole bread winner of the family. He is a labourer.  As my salary doubled, I am now able to support my decently.”

Meghna  is not ready to end her perseverance and is saving for her future for she wanted to pursue MBA, which she believes will help her move up in her company and accomplish her goal of working at a higher level in administration.

 Case study taken by Abby Terhaar

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Read Abigail’s story – Shuba’s Smile


Abigail TerHaar is an AIF William J. Clinton Fellow for Service in India and has joined Reaching Hand until July 2017 to help expand Reaching Hand’s (RH) ‘Pratishtha’ program.  Before joining RH, she was a Fulbright-Nehru Scholar in Delhi where she taught in a government- aided school and developed a child rights curriculum. Abby has previously worked on foreign policy and international adoption in the U.S. House of Representatives and Senate. A 2015 graduate of Texas Christian University, she studied in Texas, Washington, DC, Dakar, Senegal and Chandigarh, India and holds a B.S. in Political Science.  She wrote the following blog post about her work at Reaching Hand for the American India Foundation.

As we walked into our Kothanur Center, we met a girl dangling her keys, flashing a giant pearly white smile and disseminating sweets. “I started earning, so I bought a bike!” she exclaimed. Shuba had recently graduated from Reaching Hand’s Skills Training Program, Pratishtha, and started a job doing data entry at a large company. She’d brought sweets to pay her respects to the trainers who had helped her through a three-month journey learning life skills, work skills, English, customer interaction and typing.

However, the road to Shuba’s success has not always been smooth. Shuba’s father recently passed and her mother is a housewife leaving Shuba and her brother as the sole earners in the household. Previously, she was unable to use a computer but through the program she learned typing and computer skills. She had low self-esteem and was terrified of job interviews when she entered the course.

Shuba at RH’s Pratishtha Centre in Kothanur

Now, as a very bubbly and energetic 20 year old, it is hard to believe Shuba was once shy and apprehensive. Having perfected her typing skills, she is now teaching her brother typing in the evenings, in the hopes that he too can join an office job. Propelled by her newfound confidence, Shuba plans to work at her office for the next 5-6 years to save money before taking the required tests to accomplish her long-term dream of becoming a policewoman.

Pratistha, meaning Prestige, is one of the six programs at my placement, Reaching Hand and the main program I am working on. As there are over 20 million youth in India unemployed and not enrolled in school and only 10 percent of those employed receiving any skills training, there is a huge need for low cost training to increase skills and employment. Partnering with Quest Alliance and Accenture, Pratistha aims to bridge that gap by focusing on skill development and job placement in three low-income communities of Bangalore.

For Shuba, Prestige came in the form of confidence, and her newest prized possession: her motorcycle. For other students who have graduated from Pratistha, prestige comes in the form of economic independence, gender equality, and a feeling of accomplishment.


“First published on the AIF Clinton Fellowship Blog

A succes story from Prathishta, a skill training and placement centre run by Reaching Hand.

Case Study taken by Abby Terhaar

Twenty one year old Anthony Mary was a graduate from BBMP Corporate Women’s college in Bangalore. As soon as she was out of her college, she started searching for a job. Her father was struggling hard to earn their daily bread and butter. Unfortunately, she could not find a job. It was then, she came to know about “ Pratishta” centre through one of her friends, Roopa. The latter was a student of Pratishta.

PRATISHTHA (meaning Prestige) is a programme run by Reaching Hand that supports vulnerable youths, especially young women from disadvantaged families/communities to realize their dreams by equipping and acquiring employability skills with life skills, which not only helps them to access decent employment but also makes them representatives of a gender just society. 


But, throughout the course, Mary maintained a positive attitude and strove for success as one of her goals is to become economically  independent. During the course she  enjoyed learning Microsoft Office and Life Skills, the most.

After completing her course from Pratistha, she got a job at D-Mart as a promoter in sales. Her primary job entails encouraging customers to buy products from their store. Through her job, she has learned how to handle customers and explain their products.

Ask about her current job, she says “ I am enjoying the thrill of earning.” She plans to stay at D-Mart in order to work her way up to a manager.

 Recently, her father has passed away. Hence, she is now the primary breadwinner of the family and she finds it fulfilling to be able to provide for her family.  Propelled by her parents’ expectations and her dreams, Mary has big plans for her future to pursue a career which she refuses to let go. She concludes saying that Pratistha has been a driving factor in her success and has enabled her to become employed and pursue her dreams.