Welcome Aboard iBus – Empowerment on Wheels

My colleague and dear friend has an extraordinary vision to empower young women throughout India. I invite you to take a look at her recent project and provide feedback.
This post was originally published on the Sambhava blog. 

Introducing Sambhava’s pet project – iBus!

iBus

iBus, empowerment on wheels, will aggregate and bring growth opportunities for girls at their doorstep! iBus is in the ideational stage and designed to be applied in India. Hopefully, Sambhava can gather the required feedback, experience and funding for the iBus soon.

The Idea

iBus (can be interpreted in Hindi as ‘bus has come’) is conceived as a mobile training and informational program for girls in India who need extra guidance and encouragement to achieve their dreams. This initiative will offer a menu of workshops including professional development, innovative leadership, technical skills, health care, home-based entrepreneurship and personal counseling to the girls enrolled in the Government schools in India. Government schools cater to the lower economic strata of society and offer basic educational facilities. Students in government schools, especially girls, are not encouraged to fully develop their capabilities and support their livelihoods. iBus, a mobile training/counseling facility, will impart the necessary skills and guidance to enable the girls to create new visions and realities.

The Need

Literacy promotion in India is generally approached not as tool for empowerment but as a mere statistical goal. This turns literacy into an end rather than a means to develop capabilities or make optimal use of opportunities in society. Large numbers of girls in India from challenged economic backgrounds manage to receive basic education qualifying them as literate but lack skills essential for their overall development. Most of these girls are under-employed and not equipped to take on bigger challenges. These girls are not trained in critical reasoning, technological abilities, objective decision making, career development and personal growth.

The Approach

iBus is conceived as a community space on a bus that will be designed to facilitate trainings and discussions for girls, between ages 12-18, enrolled in government schools. Each iBus will be assigned 2 government schools and will make a stop close to each designated school for 3 days every week. Girls will be encouraged to hop on the iBus for informational and training sessions mentioned below and can use the bus at the end of the day’s session to commute back home. The menu of trainings is designed for girls at various grades in school and each iBus can offer a different schedule for girls in specific range of grade levels.

iBus adopts a two pronged approach – i) complement basic literacy of the target segment with facilities to develop their diverse capabilities and skills ii) connect the target segment with specific opportunities where they can use and further enhance their skills to fully realize their potential.

iBus menu of training

• Basic computer literacy • Education counseling • Career counseling

• Home-based entrepreneurship • Personal and financial skills • iBaithak

Crowdsourcing empowerment efforts

There are several projects in India contributing to empower girls across the country. iBus seeks to tap the these initiatives through a collective approach. iBus will establish partnerships with organizations currently offering educational, and professional mentorship, basic technological and home-based business trainings, health and personal education to girls. The iBus approach is to aggregate the scattered empowerment initiatives under a single banner and use the bus to reach the target segment. Rather than expecting the girls to go to multiple training centers or organizations, the iBus will bring these facilities to the girls enhancing accessibility and inspiring other members of the community. Other players engaged with girl-centric issues in India can contribute through partnerships.

Making iBus Sambhav (possible)

Before iBus approaches sponsors and partners, it would be great to hear your comments and feedback. Idea of the iBus is still evolving and you can contribute to make it better. Share your thoughts and be a part of this venture…iBus needs your thoughtful comments before it can hit the road!

Sambhava will share more on different aspects of the iBus in the weeks ahead and is looking forward to the discussions.

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