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.





Here is your opportunity to give back to the society!

Run with us and run for GIRLS’ EDUCATION

Event: TCS W 10k, 

Venue: Kanteerava Stadium, Bangalore, 

Date : May 21

Across the country, thousands of girls are struggling to remain in schools as their menstrual hygiene needs are hardly addressed. For want of functional toilets they are forced to stay out of schools during those days. And this forced absenteeism is robbing them off their opportunity to complete their education.

Reaching Hand’s Girls Glory programme aims at preventing the number of drop out cases by building clean and private toilets in government schools. So far, we have impacted around 5000 girl students and NOW WE AIM TO MAKE IT 10,000.

Besides, we educate children on health, hygiene and menstrual management so that every adolescent girl should come to the school with more confidence and dignity.

We take this platform (TCS W 10K) to raise funds so that we can help more girls to complete their education.





Parasuram wrote his own success story


It has been rightly said “ You are the creator of your own story so make it a good one.” Never did he once let that fire -to make it big in life, extinguish. And, thus Parasuram wrote his own unique story.

Currently, he works as an engineer with Cognizant Software development Company with a good remuneration. But for him, life was not a bed of roses.

In 2006, when Parasuram lost his father, who was the sole bread – winner of the family to heart -attack, he was just six years old. He saw his mother and three elder sisters struggling hard to make both ends meet.

But even amidst adversity, he never ever thought of giving up his education.  He passed his 10th STD with a 90 % mark. But he could never think of pursuing a professional degree as he knew that he would not be able to afford it.

Shoving off his dreams to the back- burner, he decided to go for Arts/Commerce group in his home town and that too in Kannada medium. He chose to go to Kannada medium as he could barely speak in English. It was then one of his neighbours suggested him to go for PCMB ( Physics, Chemistry, Mathematics and Biology) for PUC as he had scored high marks.

“ First six months were a nightmare. I couldn’t even utter a word in English. Besides, I was the only boy who came from rural Karnataka,” Parasuram says. “ I was on the verge of quitting. But when I thought about my family I knew that I could not give up just like that.

To his surprise,  Parasuram passed his PUC with 80% and that gave him the motivation to dream higher.

He cracked his engineering exam too. Now, he needed the means to achieve that dream. He did not have to grope in the dark for long as one of his acquaintance who was working with Reaching Hand asked him to meet Akhaya Sagar, the COO of the organization. That was a turning point in his life. After then he never had to look back.

He completed his education and got placement in two companies – TCS and Cognizant

“ I decided to go for Cognizant just because the job is in Bangalore and I can take my mother along,” Parasuram said with a glint in his eyes. ” But, if I choose TCS, I would have to go to Kerala and I will not be able to stay with my mother.”


Menstruation – many girls still lives with low self esteem.


Earlier, I used to think ‘periods’ as something gross. This workshop has helped us to understand that it is not something that has to be ashamed of. Now, we know why we get periods and what are the changes that happens in our body during the time. If our mothers had told us about these things earlier, we could have avoided those days filled with low self-esteem. Sadly, even they are not aware of everything pertaining to menstruation, said Wahida and Rakshita, students of Government High School Jeevan Bhima Nagar school.

They were two among many students who participated in the Puberty workshop held by Girls Glory project.

At a time, when we talk about women empowerment, the increasing number of girl children sans knowledge about menstruation can be a major impediment to every efforts directed towards empowering them.

Many of them even told that it is the first time they are actually discussing on menstruation openly and the workshop also gave a platform to voice their self – esteem issues also.

“ No one, not even doctors, talk to us about our health so freely. I used to go to a private school and no one talked about these things, there. When I first got my period, my friends were the only ones who gave some advice. Now, we realise that only half of them were true. As far as teachers are concerned, they just asked us to be careful but gave no useful information, said Rakshita.

Besides, the workshop also taught us how to clean ourselves when we get periods which I think very important. We are also now aware that the do’s and don’ts during the menstruation are just taboos and unscientific, she added.

Tejaswini, a 9th standard student of Government higher secondary school, Hebbagodi said ” Fifteen minutes into the workshop, I was already thinking about telling everything we discussed today to my mother. My mother and I live alone and she had never taught me these things because she was unaware.”

On the occasion, Reaching Hand also distributed eco-friendly disposable napkins and elaborated on how to use it.

To know more about Girls Glory project, please log on to

Read Anna’s blog – I’m Volunteering in India!

Through her article , Anna speaks about the need of volunteering to bring about a change in the society.
She says ” The poverty and inequality that I witnessed on my first visit to India really shocked me and I’ve longed to give something back ever since. Volunteering is also a great way to get learn more about Indian culture, get more involved with the local community, learn new skills, meet new friends and gain an all round more meaningful and immersive Indian experience. I think I’ll get just as much out of it as them!

To Read more, please log on to this link Source: I’m Volunteering in India!

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

To know more about Pratishta, please log on to


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