The women who were a part of the NESI programme.

NESI provides support and skills to less privileged women in India

Marketing | November 14, 2014 | News


New Employment Skills For India (NESI), is a multi-faceted arts programme with an aim to provide support and employment skills to less privileged women in India. NESI’s first project has taken 75 women through an eight week-long training and uses music as a tool to ease inhibitions and build confidence amongst Indian women from lower income neighborhoods.

It culminates in a finale concert at Don Bosco Institute of Tehcnology on Nov. 15, bringing together underprivileged women from across the city to perform in Mumbai, giving them the confidence that comes from performing for a large, appreciative audience. The project has been initiated in India by Superact (a UK-based not for profit organization that uses music and the arts to conduct social impact projects) in collaboration with DB Tech (a network of Don Bosco skill training centres) and the Bandstand Cultural Society.

Superact introduced the NESI programme in India, funded by UK India Education and Research Initiative (UKIERI). They teamed up with Don Bosco Tech Society and the Musicians Federation of India to deliver the programme. The primary purpose of the programme is to develop the participants’ self esteem and foster foundation skills such as team work, organisation, management and planning, thereby providing them with essential skills to enter the labour market, and then subsequently providing them with the support to do so.

The 75 women ultimately chosen for the programme were chosen from amongst over 800 who DB Tech have trained since October last year in various courses. The idea is to train women in trades that they can pursue to earn a livelihood, such as cooking, paper conversion, beautician, candle making and tailoring, thereby addressing poverty and providing them with opportunities they ordinarily would not have access to. The women chosen for the programme were selected on the basis of their interest in music, as well as awareness. With their basic training in employability done, NESI aims at building confidence amongst these women.

Stuart DaCosta, who is a musician himself, the founder of The Bandstand Cultural Society and runs Cotton Press Studio in Mumbai, has been closely involved with the NESI programme since its inception, and a key trainer. Other trainers include musician Tanmay Bhattacherjee, musician and Swarnabhoomi Academy of Music alumnus Aalok Padhye, dance art therapist Renelle Snelleksz and percussionist Anand Bhagat.

The project culminates in a concert, where the 75 women involved in the NESI programme will take the stage for the first time in their lives, showcasing the music they have learned over the past eight weeks, at Dadar Chowpatty in Veer Baji Prabhu and Sant Dyaneshwar Udyan. This will be followed by a reception at Krida Bhavan in Dadar where the critically acclaimed London-based duo B ‘n’ M comprising guitarist Heidi Heidelberg and flautist Mauricio Velasierra will perform.

B ‘n’ M will also play a greater role in the final stages of the NESI programme, as they will participate in training the women during the final three training sessions, as well as for their performance. Heidelberg has worked with Superact on previous occasions, providing similar training to participants in other projects.

The eight-week long training programme will culminate in a performance in Mumbai tomorrow.

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