The assessor called out Sandhya’s name. Now it was Sandhya’s turn to align the dish and track the signal. Sandhya stepped out, took the SAT meter and started aligning the dish with her ear listening acutely for the pitch indicating the signal strength. Her trainer, Mr. Anil Bari, standing at a distance, was not worried.
Two months ago, we had gone to Poladpur in Raigad district to conduct a counselling session for the youth. This was the starting of our relationship with Swades Foundation which is doing some commendable work in this district. We wanted to encourage students to undergo training for Set Top Box Installation and Service Technician. This field of work is completely male-dominated because the person has to travel constantly all day carrying a heavy load.
We were a little surprised to find a significant number of girls waiting for us at Poladpur. We want to train more girls and this was a good sign. However, getting them internships and jobs would be almost impossible in the current scenario, because of the resistance faced from the society and industry. In our counselling, we tried to indicate that we are only looking for male candidates for this course. However, Sandhya and Monali had some spunk. They signed up for the course anyway. Seeing their interest, we didn’t want to refuse and we took it upon ourselves to treat them at par with the boys.
Two months later, the assessment for the course is scheduled for the day after tomorrow. The students, bubbling with excitement and nervousness, have all gathered in the classroom for a two day revision. Mr. Anil Bari, the trainer, is now conducting a practical session outside.
Using his years of experience of installing more than 1200 dishes, he demonstrates ideal installation and gets the least error in the signal. Or so he thought until Sandhya finished her installation and tracking. She got a stronger signal with lesser error than her trainer. Mr. Anil Bari was pleasantly surprised. None of the boys had managed to come close to that signal strength.
So Mr. Anil Bari was very assured when Sandhya was tracking the signal since he knew the quality of her work. She finished her tracking in the next minute and waited for the assessor to review it. The assessor, initially skeptical about a female candidate, could not help smiling when he saw a perfect signal on the screen.
He told Mr. Anil Bari after the assessment that the girls did really well, better than a lot of boys.
We would like to train and empower more girls. The onus is on the society and industry to accept this change.