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Project information

Life Skills Centre

The project provides skills training and employment opportunities to young people from the slums and streets of Kolkata. The project gives poor young people - especially girls - the skills they need to break out of the slums and into skilled employment.

Five years

Charity information: The Hope Foundation for Street Children

The Hope Foundation for Street Children logo
  • Need


    Only 5% of young Indians have vocational skills, compared with 80% in some European countries. Without skills and education, the prospects of young people in the slums of Kolkata are bleak, and they are likely to spend the rest of their lives as unskilled workers in the informal labour market.

    In India, girls are further disadvantaged by a society that favours boys. As a result, while three quarters of boys in India can read or write; only half of girls can.


    The Life Skills project provides more than 300 young people every year with skills and education in catering, tailoring and computing. Those in the centre receive not only vocational training in one of the three areas, but also in mathematics and English. The project also gives 150 of these young people work experience both in The Hope Foundation and also Kolkata businesses.

    HOPE works to encourage girls taking part in the Life Skills Centre project, with 60% of students being girls.

  • Aims

    Aim 1

    Provide 314 young people with vocational training and skills by April 2014


    » Train 52 students in cooking, baking, restaurant service and bar tending as well as English and maths.
    » Provide 40 students with training in garment construction, patterns, sewing machines, embroidery, knitting and sewing, as well as English and maths.
    » Providing 62 trainees with the Microsoft Unlimited Potential Certified Program in computing, as well as data entry, office support and typing.
    » Providing 160 trainees per year with a short term certificate course on hygiene, food safety and housekeeping.

    What success will look like

    Short term success would be demonstrated by the number of students passing the four different programs. Success would be a minimum of 300 students completing their studies.

  • Impact


    This project will increase the economic and social opportunities offered to young people from the streets and slums - especially girls. This will be demonstrated by consistently having at least 45% of students in the project being girls. Also, a mark of success will be the proportion of students in skilled work in the formal economy following their training. HOPE employment mentors will keep track of students once they enter the workforce, and success will be defined as 150 students in work.


    Risks include: sub-standard levels of training, financial mismanagement, and businesses exploiting students.

    We deal with the first two through a rigorous reporting regime through our local affiliate which requires weekly budgeting reports, monthly project reports and major quarterly reports.

    The third issue we deal with through our employment support scheme, who both carry out spot checks on former students in the workplace and also advise them on their rights in the workplace.


    HOPE can report either through half- or full-year reporting to donors. The full year reports include numbers of beneficiaries, details of training undertaken, success rates and case studies of participants.

    They also include information on work placements from the year group.

  • Budget

    Budget - Project Cost: £62,336

    Loading graph....
      Amount Heading Description
      £27,091 Staff wages Wages of staff across the tailoring, catering and computing units (23 staff)
      £6,792 Computer and tailoring support Fabrics, dyes, accessories, sewing machine parts/maintenance, computer maintenance
      £18,028 Catering support Cooking gas, groceries, baking materials, other general cooking support costs
      £5,658 Administration costs Building maintenance, licencing, tax, internet, project management
      £4,767 Trainee stipends Stipends for trainees (34)

    Current Funding / Pledges

    Source Amount
    Income from project £27,500 Conditional
    Souter Charitable Trust £2,000 Guaranteed
  • Background


    The project is based in Kolkata, West Bengal. Known as the City of Joy, Kolkata is home to approximately 5 million people. Of this, 250,000 children live in the streets or slums of the city. The city has a large number of official and unofficial slums, which are under-provided with basic government services such as sanitation, education and poverty relief.


    The people who will benefit from HOPE's project are young people - especially young women - in the slums of Kolkata and their families. These young people did not get a proper school education, and failed to gain any qualifications. The slums they live in lack sanitation, permanent structures and electricity.
    These young people are currently excluded from economic opportunities and a chance to better themselves through employment. They are forced to work in dangerous and low-paid unskilled work

  • Why Us?

    Why Us?

    HOPE has been working in Kolkata for 15 years, and are now the largest NGO in the city with 64 projects, 700 local staff (many of whom are former HOPE children) and 14 local NGO partner organisations to provide education, health care, protection and shelter to street and slum children.

    The Life Skills Centre has been operational for five years and has grown to provide catering, tailoring and computer training, and also has close links to local businesses to help students gain work placements.

    Read more about the Charity running this project.


    Renu Singh

    Renu Singh joined HOPE in 2012 after a career in the food and beverage industry. As project manager, her skills will be key to the project's success

Students show off their work

Students show off their work


will pay for a student stipend for a year