Published: 19th June 2019
Classroom in a container: Divya Jain's organisation Safeducate helps train first-time job seekers
From email etiquette and making presentations to warehouse management and truck driving, Safeducate helps trains job seekers in the skills required for various industries
Recycling unusable shipping containers has become a trend in recent years. You have restaurants, indoor football grounds, and even entire stores made out of containers. But Divya Jain wanted to do much more with it. She wanted to educate, uplift and transform lives of young people using these containers. Today, her brainchild Safeducate has catered to over 70,000 job-seekers across the country.
Divya used to work in the banking sector, but after marriage, she joined her family business Safexpress, a shipping and logistics transport company. Her life basically revolved around trucks and containers. As she started overseeing the processes and systems, she decided to write a book on trucking in India. She travelled across the country, trying to capture the lives of truck drivers and the issues that they face. What she found was that in the logistics sector, people weren't really trained to deal with growth. She says, "Our drivers weren't trained, our warehouse staff weren't trained, we didn't have proper systems in places unlike other corporate companies. Logistics didn't have such protocols and policies in place."
So Divya and her team started setting systems and processes in place. That's when she decided that she really wanted to develop education in this space. So from 2007 to 2012, she spent a lot of time doing Research and Development, looking at international standards, developing a curriculum, going on rounds and training people. Soon, the NSDC approached her and offered to give them funding on a large scale.
Big reach: Safeducate currently has about 20 container schools deployed across the country
In 2013, Divya started Safeducate as a company with the help of NSDC's funding. "Initially, we were training about 20,000 people internally for our own requirements. But from 2013, we started partnering with several state governments like Rajasthan, Orissa and Chhattisgarh. We train people and help them find jobs in companies like Amazon and Flipkart, We've been catering to different sectors like manufacturing, healthcare, telecom and retail," she says.
At a larger level, Safeducate works with about 25 universities, where they collaborate with them to run specific courses. Eighty per cent of the students are first-time workers, either high-school dropouts or graduates. "We go to villages, find these kids and bring them in to stay with us for about six months and train them on whatever skills they need to do a particular job, be it language skills, excel, word, how to drive a truck or forklift, barcoding, depending on the industry they choose," says Divya.
Talking about the use of containers for schools, Divya recalls, "At Safexpress, there were a lot of containers that were not transit-worthy anymore. On a whim, I took one of the containers and transformed it into a mobile school. I was working in different villages in India, and getting the right infrastructure was always an issue. These containers make life so much easier. We just send it to different districts and train people inside these schools. Sometimes, we do practical training, which requires these schools to be near a warehouse or a hub, so the containers can be moved accordingly."
Safeducate currently has about 20 container schools deployed across the country, including the North East. In each place, it stays for about three to six months. What's more? these containers are also completely solar-powered, which means that no matter how far they are from civilisation, they can still function efficiently, without harming the environment.
As far as ideas that change the world are concerned, Safeducate is surely one among the best.