Celebrating the Project Lehar Community Challenge in India

Young women in Patna celebrate the new skills they have learned through Project Lehar Community Challenge

23rd November 2021

Last week, 40 young women from Patna gathered to celebrate the inspirational work they have done in their communities, and the new enterprise skills that they have learned. 

Project Lehar has supported over 1000 young women in Bihar and Uttar Pradesh since 2019. It is delivered by the Aga Khan Foundation in partnership with Prince’s Trust International. The programme aims to help women develop the skills needed for employment and enterprise through vocational training, entrepreneurship and life skills courses. It also supports girls who left school early to complete their education.  

The Community Challenge part of the training provides programme participants with the opportunity to apply their new skills to real-life projects covering a range of themes, including health and hygiene, nutrition and food practices. Last week, the programme participants gathered for a celebration of their achievements. 

The groups were invited to speak and share their experiences with an engaged audience of stakeholders. One young woman, Shahin, said “it’s the first time I held a mic in my hand, stood before so many people and speaking. I am very happy and proud of myself. I thank Lehar for the courage”. 

Commenting on the celebration, Susanna Tamimi, Head of Delivery – Asia at Prince’s Trust International, said that “our work in India gives young people the opportunity to build valuable skills like self-reliance and confidence. It is exciting to see these young women determined to make a difference to their communities – they are the agents of change, and we must support them to achieve their ambitions”. 

India has one of the largest youth population in the world, but only one in seven young women has a paid job (ILO). Prince’s Trust International has worked in India since 2018 and recently commissioned research into the future of work to help inform its programmes.  

The research highlighted young people’s interest in entrepreneurship, with 40% of the young people surveyed in India stating that they would like to set up their own business, which was on par with a job working for the government (41%) and ahead of working for a large business (34%). The research also showed that 88% said skills such as self-confidence, teamwork, reliability are vital for their future careers. 

You can read about the story of Gulshan, a participant of Project Lehar.

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