BKG Academy

(Again, sorry for being offline. It’s been very go-go-go!)

BKG Academy are my team’s hosts here in India. BKG Academy is a brand-new NGO. It was only started in November of 2015. But they have accomplished a great deal in the short time that they have been established. They are a brilliant and passionate, absolutely dedicated to assisting the youth of Raipur and area to become educated and successful.

BKG has three main areas of focus:

  1. For students’ enrolled in a school (both K-12 and university or college):
    • Guiding struggling students in how to study profitably
    • Counselling and coaching for overall student development
    • Guidance in scientific writing/project reports, research papers, and technical report writing
    • Exam and test preparation (there are exams that must be passed to enter school, to enter jobs, to work for the government, etc)
    • Job interview preparation
  2. For youth (18-45!) in rural areas:
    • Identification of skill sets required to increase employability
    • Development of training modules to impart vocational skills
  3. For government and industry policy:
    • Organizing Research and Studies, and Policy Support to the Government as well as private sectors.

The areas that my team (Christian Padilla, Susan Zilahi, and I) are helping with is primarily #2, with perhaps a healthy dash of #3. We are helping them to development a template to determine the skill gap that exists between the abilities of rural youth and the job demand in their local areas. The villages that we are working with to start are in the area of Naya Raipur. Naya Raipur is a planned city, and very much under construction at the moment. The housing sectors are mostly built (or at least, there is significant housing available), as are the government office sectors, but the business and manufacturing sectors are not yet in place. Interestingly, although there was one village displaced by the building of Naya Raipur and many other villages had their agricultural land purchased (typically at an unsatisfactory price) by the government, the apartments and bungalows in the new residential areas are nearly empty. It appears that 90% of the homes have been bought reasonably cheaply by investors, who continue to live in the nearby city of Raipur (or even elsewhere in India). This poses a problem for the nearby villagers. Their main form of livelihood (agriculture) is no longer possible because they don’t own the land, but they can’t just go get jobs in nearby Naya Raipur, because without residents, large business, or major manufacturing in place yet, there is no demand. Government offices are there, but despite incentives to live and work in NR, government workers resist it as well, because there aren’t many services (because there aren’t many residents), and because they are more isolated and don’t get regular visits from people seeking information or assistance. It’s like a great big snake eating it’s own tail, in some ways.

Anyway, we are primarily working with Dr. Manjeet Kaur Bal, Aaditya Kandelwal, and Aaditya’s younger sister Shubhangi Kandelwal to try to help with the situation. With their feedback, we have developed a survey for determining job skills and skill level, communication skills, motivation, and entrepreneurial ability of the rural youth. We have also created a survey for determining the local demand of businesses and industry that are in or will be in the area. In addition, we are creating scoring matrixes for evaluating the need/demand, and determining what gaps need to be filled. And lastly, we’ll be providing guidelines for partnering with industry trainers and job placement partners and providing recommendations for next steps for BKG Academy, industry, and government. So you can see why we are so busy!

Keep following the public pictures on my FB feed. I will add some to this post, but I’ve run out of time for now. Need to go meet our clients for this morning’s work! Take care, everyone!

BKG Academy

Settling In

Sorry about the radio silence everyone! There has just been so much to take in!

We have explored a little bit of Raipur – mostly restaurants, I must admit. But we have had a few little adventures, which mostly involves trying to safely walk across a road. The best advice that we have received is to wait until a local is trying to cross the street and go at the same time as they do. Also, once you start crossing the street, don’t stop. The cars expect you to keep moving and plot their course accordingly. And one tip I picked up myself while watching the locals: point your arm towards the oncoming traffic, palm up and facing them, in the universal “please for god’s sake stop” motion.

I’d like to post some videos of us trying to cross the street, but I need to ask the videoers if I can upload to YouTube. So stay tuned, there may be an update to this post. For a sneak peek, I did post them to Facebook and made them public, so you may be able to see them at this link:



Settling In