Samita Patil is both nervous and excited. She is headed for a job interview with a group of other girls, all hoping to find employment as electricians—typically a man’s field.
Three months ago, Samita was living at home with her aunt, uncle and brother in Shahabaz. She had a twelfth-grade education but no clear direction in life, and she feared marriage might deter any further dreams of education. When a neighbor told her about the Pratham vocational training program in Panvel, Samita jumped at the chance.
She enrolled in a three-month electrical course at PACE (Pratham Arora Center for Education), which provided her with classroom instruction and hands-on learning in a growing industry. The 18-year-old admits to a life-long interest in all things technical: studying gadgets, working with her hands, fixing appliances at home. Having the proper training now gives her a chance for a career.
Samita is eager to prove herself in the male-dominated electrical field. She understands the inner workings of a light bulb. She can mend a solar street lamp. She is ready to support herself with a job, even if it means moving away from her family. Pratham’s innovative “place and track” network of coordinators will assist Samita in such a transition, whether it be finding her a place to live or helping her communicate with a new boss.
But first, she must get the job. Samita listens intently to last-minute tips from a PACE instructor then strides out the door, eager for her interview.