As an organisation that believes in equality and dignity for all, Head Held High (HHH) believes in the idea of providing everyone with a chance to live a life irrespective of their socio-religious, cultural, economic or educational affiliation. A Bangalore-based non-profit organisation, it works closely with people who themselves are spirited to fight against poverty. It tries to reach out to the disadvantaged through assessment, as an extension of social protection, financial inclusion, skill-based training, mentoring for these, job placement support and several other such steps.
The organisation believes in a bottom-up approach and transforming individual lives to eradicate poverty on a global scale. HHH has implemented a lot of initiatives centred on human development, like Antarprerana, which aims to promote the culture of rural entrepreneurship. This initiative specifically caters to the female population through the way of training expertise and field knowledge.
As an organisation, HHH identifies its vision with the eradication of global poverty and aims to achieve the same by starting off with India. This ambitious vision is supplemented by the idea of “We believe, We think and We work”. HHH believes that the planet has enough to provide for everyone and that poverty is an artificial phenomenon and that this phenomenon can be eradicated by an individualistic approach to raising the capability of individuals who are deprived of a life of value because of the lack of it.
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To facilitate this, they work with marginalised communities from the grass root level for the betterment of their lives. They believe in the idea of the “Theory of Change” wherein transformed individuals can lead their families out of poverty and open new economic pathways not just for themselves but their families, communities and ultimately, society.
“We believe, We think and We work”: Looking at the Antarprerana initiative
It is often said that an educated woman can educate a whole generation. HHH re-enforces this perception through its primarily women focussed initiative Antarprerana. It aims to provide entrepreneurial opportunities to groups and individuals in places with limited economic opportunities, which primarily covers remote and rural areas. As a part of this, Anatarprerna provides these people with its social capital in terms of partnerships, training and insights into the field. An important part of this program is that their women collectives include women working from home to make products that are sold to generate income. As a part of this, a total income of more than 20 lakhs has been generated till now.
“My children began receiving a high-quality education once I started to make money, and now that they are enrolled in tuition. Both of my sons take me as their inspiration and want to pursue careers in medicine and the Navy, respectively, because they feel that working toward their goals would help them succeed. I will always be grateful to my trainer, HHH, and its benefactor for giving me this opportunity to be an entrepreneur and for all the assistance and encouragement.”Vijayalaxmi
This initiative has also encouraged micro-entrepreneurship by helping rural individuals and groups to launch small ventures that can be run at the community level, this runs in line with its attempts to promote self-employment. HHH helps them not just with the establishment but aids in with every step of the process, from entrepreneurial training, and financial access to business development strategies and linkages. To date, HHH has supported 1000+ individuals for self-employment.
While these numbers highlight the overall impact, HHH as an organisation strives to transform lives at an individual level. One such story is that of the Anatarprerana women’s collective at Wadi, Karnataka. Sharanamma, a trainee associated with the centre says, “There was a time when I always asked money from my husband and sometimes was questioned on a lot of things to even get a penny, but today I am not a housewife. I am a working woman who earns and doesn’t need to tell the next person what I am doing with the money, as it is my hard earning. Today I am a successful entrepreneur because of the help of HHH and its donor.”
Hailing from a poor family and deprived of education, Sharanamma tried setting up a blouse stitching business at home in hopes to educate her daughter but she suffered losses. However, after completing her training with HHH, she now knows the intricacies of business and identifies herself as an entrepreneur.
So is the case with Jyothi. Jyothi, who used to stitch by hand, after receiving training and funds from HHH now owns a tailoring machine. Her income went from getting an occasional 1000 monthly to a regular of 6000 to 8000 each month. Now, she helps her husband in managing the finances of a household that has multiple people. What’s more, is that her story inspired other ladies from her locality to sign up for the program. This way HHH in fact is ensuring a cooperative and collaborative process of women empowerment.
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Vijaylaxmi, another beneficiary, never attended school but always wanted to be independent and provide quality education to her children. She encountered numerous difficulties when she was trying to complete her training with HHH as her husband would punish her for attending those classes. Despite all this, she completed her training and relocated to Bangalore, completed an embroidery course there and earns 6000-7000 per month there. Here’s what she says, “My children began receiving a high-quality education once I started to make money, and now that they are enrolled in tuition. Both of my sons take me as their inspiration and want to pursue careers in medicine and the Navy, respectively, because they feel that working toward their goals would help them succeed. I will always be grateful to my trainer, HHH, and its benefactor for giving me this opportunity to be an entrepreneur and for all the assistance and encouragement.”
HHH has helped uplift the quality of life of several other rural residents as well. 22 yrs old, Ritesh Kumar Rawal says that HHH training enabled them to communicate in English and acquire life and technical skills. So is the case with Sandeep Kumar, Rahul Kumar, Jyothirmayee, Afreen M and several others.
All the initiatives of HHH have had an impact on their target group of socio-economically disadvantaged youth and poor communities, specifically those in rural areas (80%). Impact evaluated in terms of numbers says it all. The organisation is actively engaged in working with 19 states covering more than 100 districts. As a part of its youth transformation objective, it has impacted 200,000 youth, out of which 70% are women. And their battle against overcoming poverty, has helped 10K+ households out of poverty.
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Apart from the broad generalisation of numbers, there are numerous individual stories that are immensely inspiring for several others working to transform human lives out there.
HHH aims to achieve the long-term objectives of youth transformation, women empowerment and livelihood development with a focus on rural communities. The short-term objectives which can even be instrumental in achieving the long-term objectives range from individual-oriented ones like building work and life capabilities, creating individual agency, enabling livelihood and social security access, tackling family-level barriers to amplifying the impact of change makers at the global level.