Socially Smart Project: BSCL trains 32 girls in Phase-III

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Bhubaneswar: Continuing its Socially Smart Project to include various aspects of life and how to make people smart, responsible & vigilant to make a better society, Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) today completed the third phase of Peer Leaders Training Programme at city-based Centre for Youth and Social Development (CYSD).

Thirty-two girls from 13 slums under Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD) or Smart District were part of the programme. With that the total number of youths, who have completed nine-day training (as per UNFPA module covering various aspects of life skills) stands at 92, this included 60 girls and 32 boys, from BTCD area.

The Socially Smart Project is a joint initiative of BSCL, Bhubaneswar Municipal Corporation and United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA). This year the project has been expanded to bring into its fold 76 new slums thereby raising the total number of slums to 100 as previously it was limited to 24 slums of BTCD.

The final module of the Phase III training focussed on various aspects of financial literacy. It was heartening to hear from the girls the woes of families who have taken loans from various unconventional sources whereby the family virtually falls into a debt trap as the agents who come to collect their dues and would not move from the house until they have collected the amount. Thus many a time the families had to take money again from other sources to virtually repay the first loan. The amount of interest paid for such loans could be as high as 30 per cent.

The girls sharing the pros and cons of loans said that though the loans help them in times of emergency, in many cases, it makes the family vulnerable as many of them do not have fixed source of income.

The girls also shared about families falling into the trap of schemes like “chit fund” where many families in hope of higher returns invested all their savings. They said that they would like to create awareness amongst community members on the need to be cautious both while taking loans and also during investing their hard earned money.

Rasmita Nayak, Pragati Sathi Adolescent Group from Kalinga Basti said, “The training will certainly help the society in a long run as the peer leaders will help others in taking decisions in financial and other social matters.”

Sandhya Nayak from Ashok Nagar said, “I have learnt a lot from the training programme.”

These trained peer leaders will now go to the community and interact with other boys and girls of their age and hold fortnightly meetings. Besides discussing with them about the lessons in the module provided to them, they would also take up various social issues and concerns of the community and work to resolve it.

In this endeavour Humara Bachpan Trust, which is the implementing partner of the project provides them with all required support.

Also Read: BSCL’s ‘Smart Project’ to cover 76 more city slums

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