Surprising fruit – A new breed of Project SEED flowers in India

India is filled with ambitions, and the energy necessary to achieve its many goals. So it is hardly surprising that Project SEED in that country has already trained three groups of young people – over 40 kids – in a concentrated weeklong program aimed at helping them to enter the job market.

Flexibility is essential to good ideas

Flexibility is essential to any good project. This is particularly so when the overarching framework is developed far from the place where the project will actually be implemented. Too many ideas have suffered in the transition from theory to practice by adhering rigidly to static parameters.

The seeds of a truly great idea must be able to grow differently in different conditions. India is proof that the idea of Project SEED is flexible enough to adapt and thrive in many different settings. In India, an entirely new model for Project SEED implementation has grown and flowered.

Adapting Project SEED to India

In Brazil and Colombia, Project SEED training takes place once a week over the course of six months at a facility of SOS Children’s Villages. In India, it takes place in one concentrated week at the new thyssenkrupp Elevator Multi-Purpose Facility. This training is also “all-inclusive”, with breakfast, lunch, snacks and transportation provided.

Selection is a bit different in India as well. Participants must already be enrolled in some form of schooling, and within a year or two of graduation. The three training weeks completed thus far welcomed bright-eyed young people from all over India.

“I was amazed at how interested and eager the kids are to learn! They really inspired me with their dedication and enthusiasm. I wish all of my students were so enjoyable to teach!”

Mr. P. J. Wandre

Vice President, Learning & Development, thyssenkrupp Elevator India

Unchanging – the dedication of the employee volunteer

While some aspects of Project SEED can and need to adapt to the local environment, other things remain the same. One of these is the goal of assisting disadvantaged young people to find work. Another is the dedication and competence of employee volunteers. A good example is Mr. P. J. Wandre, who designed the training modules in India.

Following discussions between representatives of SOS Children’s Villages India and thyssenkrupp Elevator India, P.J. set to work crafting a program that fit local needs. It helped that he was already an expert in this field. In addition to his volunteer work, P.J. Wandre’s regular job is at the company training facility, where he conducts courses in a variety of key areas.

“My mission in life is to help people succeed, and sharing what wisdom I have with these young people has been a peak experience for me. It made me feel more fully human. My profound hope and belief is that our time together will help guide them throughout their lives.”

Mr. P. J. Wandre

Vice President, Learning & Development, thyssenkrupp Elevator India

What do the kids think?

The real test, of course, is what the young people think about the Indian model of Project SEED. Their feedback has been very positive. Some comments applauded specific things. Soni, age 20, said: “The visual presentations were very helpful.” Others made the connection to future jobs. For instance, 19-year- old Gautimi said, “We now understand how to search for jobs. This has helped us to prepare for our interviews.”

Meanwhile, many students commented on the overall impact of their Project SEED training. Poonam, age 19 appreciated that “the training has enhanced our knowledge,” while 22-year-old Salona was certain that “this has increased my self-confidence.”

“The site-visit to the factory and the various departments was educational and offered good exposure to a real working environment. I feel better prepared to take responsibility and accept challenges.”

Aishwarya, age 21

Each Project SEED country is unique

Project SEED in India shows that a great idea can adapt to meet local conditions while retaining its core values. Meanwhile Project SEED continues to evolve elsewhere as well. The project recently kicked off in Uruguay, and will soon start up in Thailand. That will bring the total number of “SEEDlings” to five. Read PERSPECTIVES to stay informed!

“All of us with good jobs in India must try to help those who have not had the chances that we have had. I’m very happy that my company encourages us to do this volunteering, and that thyssenkrupp Elevator is sharing its strengths with weaker members of society.”

Mr. P. J. Wandre

Vice President, Learning & Development, thyssenkrupp Elevator India

More about India

Our social work in India aims to improve social balance and quality of life by helping youth become employable, independent adults.

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