Sardar: A Migration Story
Sardar’s life resonates with the dreams and aspirations of young people who stay in small towns and villages in rural India. Lopsided development has turned big cities like Bangalore as the centers of commerce and industry.
Jobs for young people like Sardar are mostly available in the cities. They are forced to migrate to these cities to seek employment and support their families back home. However, when they come to the city, they face a plethora of new challenges; from basic housing to their inability to navigate the complex job market due to lack of critical 21st century skills.
But offering support to young people like Sardar is Quest Alliance’s skills training program, MyQuest, in collaboration with NGO partners like Reaching Hand. Reaching Hand conducted a mobilization drive for the skills training program at construction sites across Bangalore during the pandemic when construction activity had come to a standstill. Sardar, like many youth from rural communities, worked in one such construction site.
“The hours were long, the work very physically taxing and the wages hardly anything,” he adds. Sardar enrolled for the online career development sessions and even attended a webinar on financial literacy, job readiness, and preparing for an interview. “The training program really helped me identify my skills; it was at the training I realized, I am quite good with computers,” he adds.
Post-training, Sardar managed to secure a job as a computer operator in Gubbachi Learning Company Ltd. “It is a sea change from what I used to do as a construction worker. I feel like I can make it in Bangalore now and I feel that the work I do now is meaningful,” he adds.
Sardar earns Rs.14,000 a month now -- a significant contribution to his family of farmers. Sardar claims that the skill training program has restored a sense of dignity in his life and he no longer feels like one of those lost faces in the sea of humanity that is a big city.
According to reports, migrant workers form the backbone of the construction sector in Bangalore. Many of them, who work as daily wage laborers were forced to return home during the first wave of the pandemic, as they were unable to manage the rising costs of living in a city without regular employment. As of May 2020, 6 Lakh migrant workers had registered in Karnataka’s Seva Sindhu Portal to go back home. Out of these 3 Lakh were from Bangalore alone.
SardarComputer Operator, Gubbachi Learning Company Ltd.
“The training program really helped me identify my skills; it was at the training I realized, I am quite good with computers.”