Tuesday, 13 November 2012

My experience at an Awareness Mela

- by Ashvini Sawant

I recently visited the Awareness mela (job fair) that was conducted in the Beed district of Maharashtra. The purpose of an awareness mela was to provide information about employment opportunities to youth in that particular locality and to give information and guidance related to the different courses that Pratham Institute offered. This Awareness Mela was one among the 5 melas that was to be used as a proof of concept.

Before we could conduct the mela, the coordinator had the arduous task to spread the word about it by visiting colleges and distributing pamphlets in more than 50 nearby villages. As a part of our social networking communication, we also posted the details of the mela on FaceBook.

We had arranged 4 stalls to provide descriptive information about each of our programs including Hospitality, Construction, Automotive and Beauty. The anxiety to know more about job opportunities and the prospects of each of our programs was quite apparent among the incoming youth. They were also shown short films about our programs, alumni students, centers, courses, etc. in a separate room.

Later, we offered to provide brief assessments and conduct basic group discussions to test the fundamental cognitive skills of the prospective students. These assessments helped us decide whether the students needed to go through our courses or if they were ready for direct placements. We also provided them with report cards, detailed with our findings, at the end of the mela. The assessment test thereby also served to give the youth greater awareness in regards to his/her strengths and weaknesses. The information and knowledge we gathered from this mela gave us a better understanding on how best to approach the youth and helped us reevaluate our strategies to reach masses in a more effective manner.

- Ashvini recently joined Pratham as a master trainer.

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