How did we emerge to create Salon-i?
According to the 11th Plan (2007-2012), the proportion of formally and informally skilled workers in the country’s workforce was a mere two per cent. Women, though a significant proportion of the workforce in India, are largely concentrated in the informal sector engaged in vocations characterized by low earning, low productivity, poor working conditions and lack of social protection.
Governments, both in the recent past and the present, have aimed at skills development so as to meet the demand for skilled workforce in industry. However, this is a long road and entails:
- Policy level decision-making and its effective implementation
- Strengthening the primary and higher education system
- Creating the required infrastructure for technical and vocational training
- Redefined role of the public and private sectors
- Last but not the least, an understanding of socio-cultural factors that influence skills development and employability, especially with regard to women
In this background, as a private sector response, Godrej has developed a Good & Green vision for playing its part in creating a more inclusive and greener India. One of the key interventions is ensuring employability through skill development. By 2020 Godrej aims to invest in training of one million rural and urban youth.
Salon-i is had been designed to instill basic skills of beauty, skin, hair-care and mehendi application along with EDP (Entrepreneurship Development Program) to enable women to take up jobs or self-employment. Though Salon-i’s employability goal is a small part as compared to the country’s overall need, the programme is unique as it specifically aims at employability, entrepreneurship and empowerment of women.
The Salon-i journey:
The Salon-i program was founded in January 2012 with an aim to financially empower women through entrepreneurship or employability by training them in the area of beauty and wellness. The goal was specific, but it always embodied a much larger idea: to forge a better world by empowering women. Over the years we realized that financial empowerment doesn’t lead to empowerment alone. For a woman, there are several impeding factors and hence a cognitive understanding of the same as well as negotiation skills are key to challenge the regression.
The Life skills henceforth became integral to the program.
We started working in collaboration with the government, NGOs and social enterprises to train women in beauty and hair care, soft skills and entrepreneurship.
As we continue to pursue our efforts towards our goal we have impacted more than 88,000 rural and urban women, and close to 75% of our program graduates work as freelancers or micro-entrepreneurs.