Monday, 30th October 2017

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Ray of hope in training programme

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By ZEESHAN JAWED
  • Published 18.06.12
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A phone call from an officer of Calcutta police’s community policing wing changed Shaheen Parveen’s life. The job the caller offered on March 3, 2011, was much more than a job for her. The offer restored her self-confidence, which had been eroded each fruitless day she spent looking for work after graduating in 2010.

For the 21-year-old Cossipore resident continuing studies after graduation would have meant putting severe financial strain on her father, a Group D employee at Writers’ Buildings. She started looking for a job to supplement his income, only to hit a wall for lack of “employable skills”.

Kiran, the Calcutta police’s community policing wing’s initiative to impart computer education to youths in minority-dominated areas, finally offered a ray of hope.

“I enrolled in the Cossipore centre in the last quarter of 2010,” said the Urdu-graduate from Surendranath College (evening).

After she completed the three-month course, she was offered a job as faculty at the Narkeldanga centre. “I immediately accepted the offer and have been getting Rs 141 for each session spanning two hours daily,” said Shaheen.

Under Kiran, training is provided in popular programmes like the ones in the MS Office suite and also in computer hardware.

“As policemen it is our responsibility to extend all possible support to society. Kiran empowers youths in the city by imparting employable skills,” said police commissioner R.K. Pachnanda, stressing on the importance of the community policing programme.

The Sachar Committee report in 2006 had pointed out how Muslims in Bengal had suffered because of lack of education and employment opportunities.

Close to 3,300 youths have been trained under Kiran, since the initiative was started in Beniapukur police station. There are 14 Kiran centres now, imparting training to over 200 youths in Ekbalpore, Garden Reach, Topsia, Entally, Narkeldanga and other police stations of the city with sizeable minority population.

The top cop is happy on seeing how Kiran has widened its scope from just imparting computer skills to generating employment by absorbing trainees as faculty. According to officers of the community policing wing, about 100 youths trained under Kiran have been employed as faculty at various centres.

Many others have utilised the skills they picked up at Kiran to get jobs elsewhere.

Salma Khatoon, a resident of Haddibagan near Gorachand Road in Park Circus and one of the first to enrol for the training, now works as a co-ordinator in Tiljala Society for Human and Educational Development, an NGO that works for the education of the girl child.

“My father is an out-of-work scooter mechanic who could not afford a computer for us. Kiran exposed me to computers and taught me the basics for the first time,” said Salma, who has four siblings.

Buoyed by the success of Kiran, Calcutta police have launched a multi-skill vocational training programme called Milap. Two centres have come up in the minority-dominated areas of Dara Para under Topsia police station and Ripon Square in central Calcutta.

“Here the youths will be provided training in driving, mobile repairing and beauty care. This will help them get jobs and support their families,” said a police officer.