Beggars learning vocational skills for life with dignity in Rajasthan

Special training centre established in Jaipur by the Rajasthan Skill and Livelihoods Development Corporation

A new scheme launched here for the rehabilitation of beggars through vocational training has enabled them to lead a life with dignity. Beggars are being equipped with the necessary life skills at a special training centre established in Jaipur by the Rajasthan Skill and Livelihoods Development Corporation (RSLDC).

Over 40 beggars hailing from States such as Uttarakhand, West Bengal, Uttar Pradesh and Odisha, who came to Jaipur in search of livelihood but ended up on footpaths, have been provided with shelter, where they are learning yoga, meditation, sports and computer operations. The first batch is being trained mainly in catering skills.

RSLDC chairman Neeraj K. Pawan told The Hindu on Saturday that about 1,100 “willing participants” had been enlisted for training after a survey of the police and Social Justice and Empowerment Department. In addition to skill development, psychological counselling and emotional support is also being given during the residential training.

Mr. Pawan, who is also Secretary (Labour, Skill, Employment & Entrepreneurship), said the RSLDC would help the trainees find jobs and remunerative work, as many of them had taken to begging to support their families. “Separate centres will be opened later for women and an attempt made to transform their lives,” he said.

Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot had recently announced that the State would be made beggar-free, and all destitute and homeless people rehabilitated. Mr. Pawan said the campaign would be taken to the divisional headquarters and all districts in the next two phases.

“The process commenced with an image makeover. The participants were given a haircut and were motivated to wash and also provided with new clothes when they checked in for the course,” Mr. Pawan said, adding that the RSLDC would follow-up on the trainees’ progress for three months after the completion of training.

The first group of beggars is being trained in the catering skills, as many of the volunteers had some past experience related to food industry or had worked on stray jobs. Others will be trained later for a variety of occupations, such as that of an electrician, plumber, guard or beautician.

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