Women’s Vocational Training and Livelihoods


Uttarakhand is a mountainous state, one in which a vast majority live in rural, hilly villages. Each year the monsoons bring heavy rain and the risk of tragic floods in which so many lose their loved ones, their homes, farms and livelihoods.

Without work or economic opportunity, many people are feeling forced, out of necessity, to migrate to distant cities. Sadly, in some cases, such migrant families may find themselves living in the claustrophobic squalor of urban slums, in even deeper poverty. With reduced economic opportunities, especially for women, there comes greater gender inequalities.

Divine Shakti Foundation runs vocational training centers in Rishikesh where more than 1000 women and girls receive free training in such fields as sewing , embroidery, handicrafts, tailoring and beauty therapy. Additionally we provide computer classes in different centers and both spoken and written English classes.

Additionally, Divine Shakti Foundation is partnering with institutions and companies to create buy-back programmes so that the women’s products are ensured a market in which to be sold, which in turn will guarantee them a steady income to sustain their families.

Divine Shakti Foundation runs vocational training centers in Rishikesh, and other areas of the Himalayas, where more than 1000 young girls and women receive free training in such fields as sewing, embroidery, handicrafts, tailoring and in various skills from the beautician industry.  Additionally, we provide computer classes in different centers and both spoken and written English classes as well as tutoring and coaching in a wide variety of subjects

Our centers are focused not only on skill development and livelihoods but also on strengthening the entire being including emotional, mental and psychological empowerment and upliftment.

We run karate self-defense classes in different centers to give girls and women the courage to stand up for themselves. We run yoga classes to train their bodies and minds to be strong, calm and aligned. We also run regular inspirational programs and activities to make sure the girls and women know that they are not only equal to men but that they are actually an embodiment of the Divine – that they are truly a Divine Shakti!

Additionally, Divine Shakti Foundation has built and sponsored the construction of vocational training centers for impoverished women and girls in Tamil Nadu, South India, Gaya, Lucknow, and villages in the Himalayan foothills.

Divine Shakti Foundation has rebuilt schools that were damaged or destroyed during the devastating floods in Uttarakhand, additionally we have built new vocational training centers and computer centers after natural disasters to aid in the long term recovery of the area.

Divine Shakti Foundation is dedicated to identifying areas of need for women and children and addressing these needs. Recently the lack of proper education and training for children and women living in the major slums of Uttarakhand became clear and in response we have opened a new center next to the largest slum of Uttarakhand.

The center serves as vocational training for the women in the slum – teaching them basic, marketable skills including the making of incense, candles, soaps and other handicrafts. Also, the center addresses the needs of children through offering tutoring programs for young children as well as coaching programs for older children to help ready them for their entrance exams to higher education.

Giving women the skills they need to start earning an income is only part of the journey. In order to enable women to receive fair compensation for the work they do, DSF is currently in the process of working with local women-led Self Help Groups on creating the most ‘in demand’ products and is working to connect these groups to markets/traders where they are able to sell their goods in sufficient quantities to ensure they reap the rewards of their skills. DSF also has plans to develop an e-commerce site to facilitate even greater access to customers and even higher prices.

Just 25 kilometers from Kedarnath, in the sacred spiritual pilgrimage site which was the center of the Uttarakhand floods , Divine Shakti Foundation constructed a new vocational training/ livelihoods center. The center trains women from the region to spin and weave shawls, knit sweaters as well as other skills which are marketable in the textile industry.

Divine Shakti Foundation, the Global Interfaith WASH Alliance and other partners have provided clean water filtration systems for several schools and colleges.

Some of the systems are simple, natural, systems built by women themselves called Bio-Sand Filtration. Made from all-natural materials through a process developed by GIWA/DSF partners, the South Asia Fresh Water Initiative, Friendly Water for the World and others these filters provide schools and communities across the state with clean drinking water.

Together, women are learning to earn lasting livelihoods by building household toilets and producing other life-saving necessities while also learning how to help lead entire regions towards realizing the vision of WASH for all. Case studies have demonstrated that women, when enabled to produce and sell their own WASH provisions, can demonstrate tremendous success in their ventures, triggering community demand for improved WASH through their entrepreneurial drive.