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In pursuit of work: Vikas’s story
In pursuit of work: Vikas’s story

"I never imagined any company would hire me," says 22-year-old Vikas from Chamle village of Bhiwandi, a town located almost 36km away from the city of Mumbai. Vikas’s parents are farmers with an income of Rs. 5,000 a month. Their family of five was surviving on this. Vikas didn’t have the means to opt for college. "I had to look out for work instead. But with just a higher secondary degree there were no jobs available for me." He enrolled for a diesel mechanics course with the hope to find a job, but in vain.

Convinced that all doors to employment are permanently closed, Vikas fell in the company of young people who whiled away time playing cards. That is when his uncle spoke to him and informed him about the Magic Bus Livelihoods Centre at Ambadi, just 8km away from his home.

Thus began Vikas’s journey as a part of the second batch of young persons who underwent livelihoods training at the Macquarie-supported Magic Bus Livelihood Centre in Ambadi, a village located at Bhiwandi tehsil of Thane district in Maharashtra.

Vikas is among the 10,000 young people who attend Magic Bus’ Livelihood programme across India. The programme that began in 2015 connects the aspirations and potential of young people to available market opportunities. In doing so, the organisation focuses on building their employability skills and maps job potential based on individual strengths and mobility.

At the Livelihood Centre, Vikas got an opportunity to plan his career. He went for counseling sessions where he spoke about his strengths and came to terms with his limitations. He took keen interest in learning to speak in English, and in the digital and financial literacy classes. At the end of the two-month long course, he sat for job interviews lined up by the Centre. He joined as an RO technician at a leading water treatment plant with a starting salary of Rs. 9,000 per month.

"I could sense a beginning at a point of my life when I had completely given up hope," he says.

Within six months of his joining, Vikas got promoted as a team leader with four employees reporting into him. His performance earned him a place in the sales team of their water purifying products. Within a span of just four months, he sold more than 50 units of water purifiers, earning business worth four lakh rupees. It was around this time that he also received an offer to intern with Coca Cola. It was a paid internship of Rs. 7,000 per month.

Vikas is a story of hope, a face of India’s future that is largely young. In the next few years, India’s future will be written by ambitious and enterprising young persons like Vikas. And this is where the need emerges to make a young population – so large in number – ready to dream and work. In making this a reality, non-profits like Magic Bus works with various stakeholders – corporates, government entities, and the community to ensure every young person has the opportunity to work, earn, and move out of poverty.

At present, Vikas works two jobs. He earns Rs. 17,000 per month. "Our conditions have improved. We don't need to worry about two square meals a day. I still see this as a beginning. I want to work more, see more of the world and do better with each job," he signs off.

Vikas is a story of hope, a face of India’s future that is largely young. In the next few years, India’s future will be written by ambitious and enterprising young persons like Vikas. And this is where the need emerges to make a young population ? so large in number ? ready to dream and work. In making this a reality, non-profits like Magic Bus works with various stakeholders ? corporates, government entities, and the community to ensure every young person has the opportunity to work, earn, and move out of poverty.

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