At Navratan, we believe that one should never stop learning because life never stops teaching and education sees no age. The primary purpose of adult education is to provide a second chance for those who are poor in society or who have lost access to education for other reasons to achieve social justice and equal access to education. Therefore, adult education is often a social policy of the government. The function of adult education in a democracy is to provide every adult citizen an opportunity for education. Navratan explored Noida which has a huge migrant population and 90 percent of women are illiterate. This led to exploitation of these women in many ways. Navratan has come forward to educate these women keeping in mind that in adult education, learning, working and living are inseparable. ‘Umeed ‘, a mission to provide basic education to these women from the age of 15 onwards. Currently the project is operational in 13 centers in Noida to educate migrant women settled in slums and remote villages. Out of 350 enthusiastic participants, we have a spectrum of women from 30 years to 70 years old eager to learn. It is difficult to describe in words, the smile on their faces when they first learn to write their name. Broadening the thinking horizon of the city, we plan to open atleast 50 adult education centers.
Even after 73 years of independent India, for millions of children, there has been no beginning of the right to education in any form. Approximately 2.8 percent of children are out of school in India Children in slums have limited or no access to any form of schooling or learning. To make a humble contribution in society and help the children, Navratan GyanPeeth was formed. It is an informal school with 126 children in the age group of 3-12 years gaining education and skills that help shape them holistically. The teaching is interactive and simple narrated through story telling. We use audio visual as a medium to show animated stories on values and moral science. Also, sometimes through play as it is a full body activity that helps them develop skills they will need later in life and important to build their mental and emotional muscles. The children are given uniforms, shoes, books and other utilities required for a hygienic environment. We organize extra-curricular activities and excursions for them to experience a world that they have not seen before. This helps in widening their mental outlook and provides them with a new set of lenses to experience the world. Although we are running this informal school in a single center in Noida, the aim is to establish more such centers to help children for a dignified and fruitful life. Post completion of their schooling at Gyan Peeth, Navratan also works with other schools to provide admission to these children. so that the learning never comes to a halt. The Gyan Peeth was a model to test the efficiency of an informal school and the resultant success can help provide education to thousands of kids who have the will but not the means. No one can deny children basic education. It is their right and our duty to make sure that we step up to it.
One cannot emphasize enough on the importance of women empowerment through skill development. While corporate India is focusing on upskilling and reskilling with the increasing use of technology, majority of the workforce in India is in the informal sector. Navratan’s flagship programme ‘’Astitva’’was designed with a vision that skill development as a vehicle for women’s empowerment can prove most powerful. The objective was to help the underprivileged women who have been marginalized and have no access to any skill for their livelihood. Navratan in 2009 created a programme called ‘Astitva’ which provides vocational and skill development to the underprivilege women helping them to achieve financial independence. As of today, more than 9000 women beneficiaries have taken advantage of the programme. Navratan has opened 32 vocational centers in and around Delhi / NCR till date and a six month’s training course of basic tailoring and stitching is designed for the needy women in villages and slums. A certificate is given at end of each session which enables them to get job work from factories and tailors enabling them can earn a decent living from their homes. The long-term goal is to create a project that supports sustainable community development through a skilling programme and therefore we also introduced counselling and awareness sessions. The idea was to help these women learn to communicate, gain confidence and transform themselves into agents of change. It is these transformed women that show the way to other people in their community and sow the seeds of social harmony. Many of the skilling centers have been opened through partnership with other social organizations and individuals who believed in Navratan’s cause of women empowerment.