Journeys to independence
Plan India's Saksham project provides skills and opportunities to young women, enabling them to find work outside their homes for the first time.
Scroll down to follow the journeys of 6 inspiring young women. They share their hopes, thoughts and aspirations at different stages of the innovative programme.
Not yet started
Yasmin, 20, is about to embark on her journey to financial independence
Here is what she said after spending time with girls who already are on the programme:
"I was extremely nervous and unsure if I would be able to even speak in a group. Meeting girls of my age who have graduated and are now working has given me hope that I too can change my life."
4 days in...
Sudha, 21, has just started the programme, but she already feels a positive change.
"Within 4 days I have done more on my own than I did in years put together. I feared stepping out of home and now I am enjoying attending the training every day along with my friend. I want to be the first female in my family to get a job."
2 weeks in...
Rekha, 20, realises her dream of working can become a reality.
"I had never even dreamt of working. After coming to Saksham I felt as if I woke up from a deep sleep to a whole new world. In just 2 weeks I have decided I want to work, I want to be independent."
Graduated from the programme
More than life-changing skills, Reeya, 18, has also gained a lot of confidence.
"I can't believe how much I have changed in a matter of 6 weeks. I have gained so much confidence that I now want to get a job and save enough money to do an MBA. I have this feeling that I can do it."
3 months working
Neha, 19, started the programme as a shy girl. She has now turned into a confident young woman.
Since she completed the programme 3 months ago, she has been working in a coffee shop.
"I used to be a very shy girl and wasn't sure if I would ever work. Now, when I am on the shop floor, I can handle all sorts of customers - from polite to rude. I work with men and feel good that I am equal and I can achieve anything I want."
6 months working
Nisha, 20, can now help her father financially, and she wants to pursue a career.
"I feel happy that I can make savings from my salary and also help my father. I feel like a different person to what I was a year ago. I want to progress in my job and have a career."
Saksham: a Hindi word meaning 'empowered'
With the support of this innovative project, over 3,000 young women from Delhi's slums like Nisha and Neha are now working, becoming financially independent and improving their lives.