Livelihood & Skill Development

For last 5 years Sahara Utsarga Welfare Society is giving a major thrust on skill development and here the primary target groups are women and youths.

As a livelihood Intervention, SUWS is ensuring a long-term Positive Social Impact In Communities through a holistic approach of integrating education & community development with employability and entrepreneurship. SUWS ensure sustainable livelihood for individuals from different economical backgrounds.

SUWS Conduct training and up-skilling of existing workforce at the workplace to enable career growth. SUWS is giving emphasis on handicrafts and on business skills.

It is rightly said, “Books are man’s best friend”. However, books are inaccessible to a large number people because of their low purchasing power which is sometimes perhaps not even sufficient to pay for their basic needs like food and shelter. Underprivileged people are denied their basic rights and are thus victims of the vicious circle of poverty. This vicious circle can be broken by educating these people that can be done if books are made accessible to these people. SUWS believes that today’s children are tomorrow’s leader and hence aims at reaching those children who are denied their basic right to education due to inability to afford education. Hence, SUWS organizes various book distribution campaigns throughout the year to provide free books and stationery to underprivileged children along with other educational materials like exercise books, pen, pencils, erasers and school bags.


A. Rickshaw Sangha Project

As a part of our daily life, Cycle Rickshaw is considered to be the primary form of public transport in our country. With few barriers to enter and small requirement of skill or capital, the occupation is found to be very common for the people who are in search of a better livelihood. Cycle Rickshaw is very popular as its cost of operation is minimum and can penetrate interior places. Above all it is less expensive for the passengers. It is true that many of the rickshaw pullers cannot enjoy entire part of their daily income as most of the do not have own vehicles and for which most of the daily earning is grabbed by the vehicle owner; they always prefer to have their own vehicle.

The Rickshaw Sangh is changing the industry paradigm by promoting asset ownership of rickshaws and providing access to a suite of social benefits to dignify the profession and ensure a sustainable livelihood for rickshaw drivers and their families.

Rickshaw Sangh programme ensures the identity for individual rickshaw drivers through various social benefits – including an identity card, driver’s license, permit and uniform – and in turn mobilizes drivers into collectives and links them to commercial credit facilities to access formal credit and thus entry into the formal financial sector. Rickshaw collectives take joint responsibility for a group of loans for which they can own their own vehicles through easy weekly repayments over a period of one year.

This life-changing asset creates a multiplier effect – by enabling economic freedom for drivers and by transforming their families. Joint spousal ownership of rickshaws, alongside newfound financial and social literacy skills, builds collective responsibility and entrepreneurialism that empowers spouses, drivers, and their children to create micro-enterprises of their own. The combination of asset ownership and social services not only have helped to formalize this industry as a whole, but also enhance drivers’ social standing and empower them with life skills and tools that have far-reaching impact. With their “new” identities, drivers can now access critical services such as education, healthcare, voter registration, and ration cards

The Rickshaw Sangh is changing the industry paradigm by promoting asset ownership of rickshaws and providing access to a suite of social benefits to dignify the profession and ensure a sustainable livelihood for rickshaw drivers and their families.

Till June, 2021 total number of assistance given to 9057 Rickshaws and Vans  out of which 90% loan already been recovered.

 Best practices

The success of the program can be attributed to the following experiences that may be earmarked as best practice:

  • Regular contact with the woman client helps in binding the program and reduce unnecessary running around for repayments as it is found that they are more committed to
  • Formal training of the group members the concept of respective liability, before disbursement helps in owning of the program by the group members. This has helped develop larger clientele size.
  • The Cycle Rickshaw and three wheeled loading van rickshaw are seen as an alternative and easy source of livelihood
  • Decision to allow clients to purchase assets and provide them with working capital inputs has been welcomed by the community as it gives them independence of spending credit as per their requirement. This results in absence of complaints and bickering about quality of assets too.

Challenges faced

 Irregular payment of few beneficiaries takes away all the energy of recovery staffs that leads to absenteeism from group meetings resulting in delayed payments by them, thus forming a vicious circle.

  • Failure to pay back the amount of credit in some cases has resulted in withdrawing/pulling of the vehicle and handing it over to another person in very low cost.
  • Value added services not welcomed by the clients as they take it as an additional burden that has no economic return.
  • They are being harassed in many places by the administration for not having proper identity.


  • The program has given hopes to many families for  livelihood options  as they can now avail credit for a rickshaw or cart
  • They will be free from a big burden to pay daily rents for hiring Cycle rickshaw/van rickshaw and they will also be the owner of his vehicle and this will help him to create an asset.
  • Skill training and social intervention initiatives have great impact in binding the groups resulting in better repayment schedule.


  • Several clients who were associated in temporary and untimely scheduled jobs opted to put up a cart and be their own masters. Their parents are happy that their ward returns home in time.
  • Additional business opportunity with small credit support has resulted in enhanced family income.
  • There is sense of pride for them to own an asset and look forward to expand their work by taking an additional cart credit.
  • The self-confidence to own assets and capability to repay has helped increase their self-respect in the family and also amongst peers. This has resulted in enhancement of self-esteem of women folk.
  • Families feel a sense of pride when their ward starts earning and contribute in the family income.


The community looks upon the program as hope to stand on their feet as they would not have been able to gather credit for the rickshaw from any other source. The community also look upon this opportunity as one in which their family can grow positively with regular economic benefits. The social intervention has added to this belief. Providing them opportunity/exposure to different socio –economic areas such as health and education helps bring them closer.


B. Market aligned skill progamme in Geriatric Care Aide

The objective of the training program was to mobilize, counsel and enroll 120 candidates from marginalized community including rickshaw pullers community in Noida for market aligned skill (MAST) program in Geriatric Care Aide (GCA) .


Activities done:


  • Mobilize 120 persons from marginalized community including rickshaw pullers in Noida for market aligned skill course in geriatric care aide.
  • To engage the marginalized community including rickshaw pullers community in Noida through awareness campaign & counselling sessions to ensure the enrollment.
  • Ensure retention of the persons during the training process.
  • Organize parents / guardians meetings at regular intervals and get the feedback.


A multi-pronged approach was adopted to mobilize the candidates in Noida.


  1. Awareness Campaign
  2. Target Community Outreach and Orientation
  3. Focused Group Discussions
  4. Meetings with Community Leaders


Awareness Campaign:


Firstly our team started to drive awareness campaigns in Noida sectors – 5,6,8,10, 12,22, Barola village, Hoshiyarpur, Ghizore and Khora colony of Noida which has large and significant population of rickshaw pullers, e-rickshaw drivers and maids.  The campaign consisted of door-to-door orientation, community meetings, schools and colleges meetings, on-road and rickshaw parking pamphlet distribution etc.  The team tried to rope in children and siblings of rickshaw community and maids first. Some of the camps were conducted in Noida sector 5,8, 10, Khora Colony and Hoshiyarpur area in the month of Nov, Dec 2019 and Jan-Feb 2020.

 Meeting with Community and NGO leaders

 We approached the community representatives of the pockets having high density of rickshaw pullers/drivers and maids and requested them to collaborate and outreach to the potential and aspiring candidates in their respective communities. They came out to help us in outreaching to the target beneficiaries and acknowledged the importance of program and its opportunities in the future. Some of the potential candidates were enrolled with their reference.


Most of the rickshaw pullers, e-rickshaw drivers and maids are migrant population and most of them were found to be from three states – UP, Bihar and West Bengal. A significant number of them had their children living back home in the villages and were wither studying in government schools or engaged in agriculture or both.Others, who were living with their families here in Noida, had their children above the age of 16 years working somewhere in Noida or greater Noida and earning the livelihoods. They found it very difficult for them to leave the work and enroll for the program. However, some of them were convinced and committed to enroll for the program in the next session.