Shiv Kumar, who is currently 20 years of age, works as a waiter at the Rajputana Resort in Udaipur. One year ago, when he first arrived at Pratham’s hospitality training centre in Udaipur, he was very shy and found it hard to make eye contact with the teachers and to express his views. Today he is a self-confident young man who not only understands and speaks basic English, but also helps guide other students in making the transition to a life in the hospitality industry.
Shiv Kumar’s journey started when a mobiliser from Pratham went to his village in Banswara. Shiv Kumar used to teach at a local school there. The lack of opportunities in his village and his meager salary prompted Shiv Kumar to attend Pratham’s orientation program.
He saw videos of previous students and understood the various options available to youth like him. He saw a future for himself in the hospitality industry and therefore arranged for the funds to enroll in the program.
It was a difficult process for him as he had to leave the security of his job and home and travel to another city. However, he saw the opportunity Pratham offered and opted for the training course. At the training centre, he learnt basic English, computer skills and skills associated with food and beverage service. By the end of the course he got so attached to the staff and students that he started thinking of them as his family. The training converted him from a shy boy to a self-confident young man ready to serve the elite crowd at 5 star hotels.
Before he started working, his biggest fear was to interact with foreigners. But he decided to face his fears and work on improving his skills with the help of his seniors. He got shouted at and had to do a lot of hard work but he never gave up. Today, he is one of the preferred waiters at the resort and gives advice to his juniors in regards to navigating the demands of work.
His message of - "Once you decide to do something you should give it your best and never quit!" - rings soundly with the spirit of the young individuals at Pratham who have left all that is familiar to them to start in a new industry,and serves as a reminder to all us others who ponder quitting when things get tough.