Although the youth that CSSG work with come from a variety of backgrounds, they follow a similar pattern once they reach CSSG. Below are individual stories and a general description of how CSSG identifies, places, and monitors placements.
In order to find and reach participants, CSSG established partnerships with local charities (such as Rainbow Homes) who work with children until they turn, approximately, 18. Following this, the young adults are met by CSSG at their homes, where an informal chat takes place to seek out young men and women interested in full time employment in the creative sectors. The young adults chosen get a briefing by CSSG and their own charity to help prepare for their upcoming interview with a prospect employer in the field of their choice. Meanwhile, CSSG works to bring suitable employers on board.
The employers conduct an interview with the young men and women. Once the participants are selected they are each given a trial period which, if successfully completed, leads to a full-time job placement. Because of the complexity of this transition to an alien environment, CSSG provides two forms of additional support: regular counseling and a mentor. In order to ensure the efficacy of the placement, CSSG conducts regular site visits while the young adults are responsible for maintaining their own records and updating CSSG with their progress and any ongoing challenges.
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“Maria” was five years old when she lost both of her parents. A few years later her brother and sister committed suicide, leaving her with her older brother, a drug addict, who was in and out of jail. After spending time with an abusive aunt and a cousin who raped her, she was thrown out on the street.
An NGO found her collecting waste paper on the street to survive and offered her classes that she attended intermittently. Later she moved into Rainbow Homes, where life settled into a manageable pattern. With her newfound stability, Maria had the safety and comfort that allowed her to think about exploring different career paths, including some in the creative sectors.
CSSG, through their partnership with Rainbow Homes, identifiedMaria as an individual of great potential who needed some additional supports to help make the difficult transition into the workforce. CSSG worked with Maria’s mentor at Rainbow Homes to care of her pastoral needs and emotionally and professionally prepare her for a role in a new environment.
A week after initially meeting Maria, we were able to give her a three month training period at Tres, an upscale restaurant in Delhi. As Maria excelled in her dedication and chosen career she was offered a full time job. We continued to provide emotional counseling and career support while working with the managers at Tres to help Mariagrow as an individual and as a professional.
We ensured she had continued pastoral care from the home. We counselled her on her transition to a working life and advised her on her future goals and aspirations. Whilst continually ensuring she was happy and comfortable in her new environment and was improving her knowledge whilst being a team player within the kitchen environment. Along with her employers we ensured that any issues and her career direction were balanced with her aspirations.
Today, Maria is thriving. She continues to stay in close contact with CSSG and is thriving in her job at Tres, where she has worked continually since December 2013. When Maria thinks back about how far she has come – from selling waste paper on the street to selling delicacies – she can’t help but smile.
Javed grew up in a tightly knit family in a small village outside of Delhi. As his family were in abject poverty and were unable to support 8 children he migrated to Delhi on the promise to help support once he would find a job. Sadly the only job he could find was changing tyres and that paid him a mere 20 rupees a day for a 14 hour day.
His determination to provide for his family meant that after working for such long hours he decided to enrol into a night school and invest his time to educate himself and learn English. Upon graduating night school, the school put him in touch with an NGO that taught him computers, English, and soft skills. After several unfulfilled promises of help he was left disillusioned and exhausted which resulted in anger issues.
CSSG was introduced to Javed through one of its partner NGO’s. CSSG built up trust with Javed by spending time with him, listening to his concerns and counselling him. By focussing his ambition we were able to introduce him to the visiting international chefs who truly inspired Javed and gave focus to his career.
CSSG then introduced him to several prospective mentors followed by a series of prospective employers – restaurants and chefs – at a career day. His preferences were then matched with the offers received.
Eventually Javed chose an opportunity that was offered to him at a French Bakery – L’Opera. Here he was mentored and life coached by the head chef. CSSG supported the transition with site visits, counselling and pastoral care building on a foundation of trust and mutual respect. After just six months he was offered a full time position.
Today, after three years, Javed is excelling in his role and has gained immense experience in the various pastry departments having become a key team member and holding key responsibilities at his workplace, he is now able to send money home to help his siblings. As a result of CSSG’S help, from just being able to survive to where he is now have meant his goals and ambitions have been allowed to flourish. He now wants to help other young men and women who find themselves in a similar situation to his by setting up his own bakery.
Shahid comes from a farming background. However his father was part of the local mafia and he was soon being pressured to joining, despite still being a child. At the tender age of 11, he had the presence of mind – far beyond that of a child of that age – to decide against a life of crime, which meant he had to leave behind his family and the security of his home.
He escaped to Kolkata where after living on the streets he eventually got a job in a sweatshop block printing fabric. After four years, by which time he had turned 17, he left the pitiful environment in search of a better life in Delhi. There he was taken in by an NGO and given an education and a place to live.
CSSG met Shahid whilst he was living at a home for young men. He was a quiet and shy young man who expressed an interest to join the fashion industry. CSSG worked with him to explore his options offering him counselling and advice. It was CSSG’s goal to find Shahid an environment that was both nurturing and supportive, whilst providing him with opportunities to learn and grow.
CSSG explored several avenues within the fashion industry and an opportunity arose with two diverse designers, an international women’s designer Rashmi Verma and a Delhi based men’s designer Arun Kumar Tiwari. After CSSG visited both prospective mentors in their work environment and confidentially discussed Shahid’s case it was decided that post an interview he would split his time between both studios.
Shahid proved himself to be a quick learner and CSSG continued to offer him mentorships in life skills along with his employers. His progress report stated that he was a “pleasure to have”, “diligent” and has a “good hand for detailed work”. His report further states that “he would do very well if he stayed in this line of work”.
Abbas’ story could come straight out of the pages of Slumdog Millionaire. He was abandoned at a young age at a railway station. He grew up at the station where his only option to survive was to live a life of crime. Surprisingly, he managed to stay away from drugs which were frequently used by the fellow street kids. However, living at the station meant he had to quickly toughen up. Unsurprisingly, his childhood left him with anger and trust issues.
Despite having been given nothing, he remained compassionate and eventually found his way into an NGO that provided him with an education and a roof over his head. There Abbas slowly started to learn how to trust other people. After gaining some insights into the food industry he discovered his passion for the culinary world.
As part of the CSSG initiatives, international guest chefs were invited to India to interact with Abbas and several other young men and women in CSSG’s care. This interaction truly inspired him to focus on his chosen career path.
CSSG worked with Abbas to deal with his anger and trust issues, as it was essential for any job, for him to be able to temper his anger and deal with authority. CSSG’s support continued through his eventual job placement at the restaurant Tres, where he was lucky enough to be mentored by two fantastic chefs.
Through regular interactions with him, CSSG encouraged him, coached him and worked with him on his life skills. Abbas work was praised by leading food critics and after two years he gained the necessary skills and confidence to be able to go his own way and secure himself a new job. CSSG still maintains regular contact with Abbas and acts as a big brother, whenever he needs support. He has finally found his family.
Shiva doesn’t remember why he ran away from home but at a young age he found himself in Delhi. In Delhi he roamed the streets, lying to escape the police. Eventually the police caught up with him and handed him over to an NGO who placed him in the care of a boy’s home.
At the home they tried to delve deeper into why he ran away but Shiva remained silent on the subject insisting that he wanted to stay in Delhi and study. They ensured he got the opportunity to do so but after sometime he had to move out of the home he was in. Luckily, he found himself in a home that CSSG had close ties to.
CSSG was impressed by his aspirations and can do attitude but felt that his inner demons needed to be addressed before he could find meaningful employment. Through CSSG’s counseling, he was ready and able to start looking for work.
Eventually CSSG through a group interview found him a role under the mentorship of NIraKehar at Chez Nini. Nira mentored and guided him through front of house bar and kitchen. CSSG continued to counsel him on daily life skills and attempted to keep him motivated.
CSSG have been regularly in touch with the management to keep a check on his development and his progression. He has proved himself to be a strong asset at Chez Nini. Through his job he was able to plan for the future and dream.
Anil originates from Orissa and unlike many other young men had a strong close knot family background. He was lucky enough to be able to study till he was 14 achieving top marks in his year. His family recognized his intelligence and encouraged it but felt that in order for him to succeed he would need to go to Delhi.
Reluctantly he left with his father. On arrival to Delhi he stayed in rented accommodation with his father. Eventually his father returned to Orissa leaving him in the care of the landlord. Unfortunately things did not work out for him and he found himself in a home for boys.
CSSG, through their partnership with the home identified Anil as having great potential. CSSG provided additional support to Anil through counseling and trust building exercises. He took full advantage of the opportunities and support offered to him by CSSG.
Eventually CSSG were in a position to offer Anil an opportunity that would focus his energies and challenge him. The offer came about through Sweet Nothings. They were in need of a pastry chef who could use their creativity as well as their intelligence to create edible masterpieces.
His dedication and perseverance to learn resulted in him being offered a full time job. He has quickly risen through the ranks and is often entrusted with the keys and running of the bakery when the owner is away. He has proved himself to be an invaluable member of the team and is well on his way to making a mark in the food design business.
Raju’s early life started on the streets where he survived as a rag picker. At the age of ten destitute and illiterate he found his way into a boy’s home where he showed a keen interest to study. He eventually was moved to another home where was sent to Delhi Public School and he remained there till the age of 12.
Through education he dreamt of becoming a lawyer with a desire to fight for kids like him. However he eventually found his way to the Rainbow home. Whilst here he displayed a considerable talent for working with computers and was eventually put in charge of the computer lab. His sense of humor and good nature were manifested in a Facebook account he created where he taught himself Photoshop and placed himself in different cities all over the world. Despite this inner exuberance, he often came across as a very shy and quiet young man.
CSSG was introduced to him in 2013 and immediately we were taken by his motivation to learn and his desire to continue within the technological design world. Considering that he was illiterate until the age of 10, his progress had been phenomenal.
CSSG coached him on interview techniques and mentored him to gain a trainee job at an international Computer Graphics company, Image Foundry Studios. Her CSSG continued to meet him on a daily basis and encourage his talent. His enthusiasm was channeled thru a programme carefully crafted with CSSG to take into account his growth potential.
CSSG tutored him in the art of office life in order to ensure that he blended in and was comfortable interacting with other staff members. His warm and good nature manifested itself when he received his first pay check – he gave 50% back to the home and with the balance he bought dinner for the rest of the boys.
Raju stayed with Image Foundry for 6 months after which he felt he had reached a stage to pursue further education thru a professional course.