IIT Delhi Grad Turns ‘Dream Catcher’ for Rural Women; Helps Them Get Jobs

Surabhi Yadav with her sapnewalis

Surabhi Yadav is empowering rural women in Himachal Pradesh with the essential skills required to get jobs through her NGO Sajhe Sapne.

Surabhi Yadav remembers her parents constantly reinforcing the importance of education even when she was pursuing her second Master’s degree. They would often ask her, ‘Of what use is your education if it’s not useful to the village?’

This pushed the 31-year-old to launch an NGO that aims to ready rural women for the job market. The IIT-Delhi alumna saw that most of her female relatives didn’t study at all. 

Speaking to women from rural areas, and hearing their aspirations, she realised the need to create something for them, to provide them with opportunities to harness their potential.

“We’re missing out on their ideas, worldviews, and creativity. There’s this whole set of the population that’s so desperate to learn, create, and become something good. And you’re not even paying attention to it. It’s everyone’s loss,” says Surabhi. 

She met a few women who wanted to study but didn’t have internet access while doing COVID relief work in 2020. She then started teaching five girls essential skills to help them get a job.

After this, she launched Sajhe Sapne with a residential campus in Himachal Pradesh. 

Here, girls are given education and all-round development to enter the workforce through a nine-month course. The girls here are called ‘sapnewalis’ (dreamers), and these centres are called ‘sapne centres’ (dream centres).

“These are centres where learning, laughing, creating, questioning, and finding growth opportunities for yourself and others is a norm,” adds Surabhi.

She hopes to create a ‘sapna centre’ in every village of the country. 

Edited by Yoshita Rao

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