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Helping Tribal Women of Gajapati to Train as Beauticians and Open Their Own Beauty Parlours

District Magistrate of Gajapati, Odisha, Lingraj Panda has launched the ‘Learn While You Earn’ project for tribal women. Under the project, he is helping the women to set up their own beauty parlours after giving them training in beautician courses. He motivated the women to start working in beauty parlours to learn on the job and become professional beauticians.

District Magistrate of Gajapati, Odisha, Mr. Lingraj Panda, along with Integrated Tribal Development Agency PA, OAS officer Falguni Majha and his team have found an innovative way to encourage the tribal women of the district to get over their reticence and start earning money through gainful learning. He launched the ‘Learn While You Earn’ initiative for skill training of women so that they can turn their skills into livelihoods.

In an exclusive conversation with Indian Masterminds, Mr. Panda shared details about the initiative.

LEARN WHILE YOU EARN

Under the Mission Jeevika scheme of the Government of India, the Christian tribal population of the most backwards and poorest Gumma block of the district was given an opportunity to learn skills while simultaneously earning a livelihood by the Integrated Tribal Development Agency of the state.

“Under this, the administration hired two shops in the main market, and installed all the necessary equipment and material needed to establish a proper beauty salon for the tribal women of the Gumma block,” shared Mr. Panda.

BEAUTICIAN TRAINING 

Once the beauty salon was physically set up, the administration hired a trainer and two assistants for the parlour who were asked to impart skill training to the women interested in working in the parlour for a livelihood.

Women from the Self-Help Groups of the district came forward to learn while earning. They were the first batch of women who received the training from the trainer assigned. 

“Right now, 30 women are receiving their training while working in a beauty parlour. They are being taught everything from waxing, hair cutting, and threading to basic makeup and hairstyles. Once their training is completed, they will start running their own beauty parlours,” Mr. Panda told Indian Masterminds.

Training received by the women

EARNING PROFITS

However, the biggest problem that the administration and the women faced after starting their beauty parlours was the lack of customers. There were days when hardly anyone came to avail of their services.

Over time, they started getting at least one customer per day. Now, the number of people coming to the parlour has significantly increased and the women are earning well.

“The best thing about this initiative is that these women are being able to earn some money while learning some important skills at the same time. Both learning and earning aspects of the project are going hand in hand, which seems to be providing them with dual benefits. Even if they earn a meagre amount of Rs. 500 a day, it will total up to Rs. 15,000 a month, taking their profit to around Rs. 6000-7000 in a month, which is commendable!” said Mr. Panda.

WORD-OF-MOUTH PUBLICITY

When it comes to the marketing and publicity aspect of the beauty parlour business initiated by the district administration, word-of-mouth publicity is working best for them, wherein a woman who has availed their services, gives positive reviews about them to her friends and others, which ultimately brings in more customers to the parlour.

Another benefit the officer pointed out is that the women who were always confined to the four walls of their homes and couldn’t come out to learn are now willing to learn and earn from the project. He talked with such women and motivated them to acquire training in the parlours and turn into beauticians, since it is a lifelong skill which will always be in demand, no matter where they stay.

“A lot of these people move to bigger cities like Bhubaneswar and Bangalore to work. The skill of a beautician is always in demand and will help them to set up a livelihood. I aspire to turn the district into a beautician-producing hub so that if they plan to migrate to another city, they will carry a strong skill with them, which can help them earn a decent middle-class income,” Mr. Panda told Indian Masterminds.

WIN-WIN SITUATION FOR ALL

Seeing the success of the project, women from other blocks have also started approaching the district administration for similar beautician courses and parlours for them. Initially, the project was launched keeping only the tribal women in mind, but now, under the Skill Development Programs of Livelihood Generation Mission of Zila Parishad, these beautician training are open for all.

“Currently, we have seven ongoing batches comprising 200 women. We expect the training to end within a month or so, after which we will establish similar beauty parlours across all the blocks,” Mr. Panda said.

Other than the women beneficiaries, the project is also benefiting the Gram Panchayat as its shops are being taken on rent to open parlours.

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