Navya Naveli Nanda, Samyak Chakrabarty’s Nimaya is helping young women kickstart their careers
Started in 2021 by Navya Naveli Nanda, Founder of Project Naveli and Samyak Chakrabarty, Founder of Workverse, the initiative has trained more than 350 girls so far, helping them overcome fears and enter the workforce.
As a self-proclaimed introvert Mansi Khokhar, a 20-year-old girl pursuing Maths Honours often struggled to express herself freely, lacking the confidence to showcase her abilities.
She then made the move to enroll in the Nimaya programme in her college.
Nimaya, a career accelerator programme, helps girls like Khokhar to develop soft skills, gain industry knowledge and expertise, and ultimately choose a career path that would be fulfilling and successful.
“Many of my classmates came from financially strained families, which was a barrier for them in accessing opportunities. However, this programme gave us the opportunity to build our careers by helping us in honing our soft skills and made us ready for the world of work,” she says.
Nimaya—meaning opportunity in Sanskrit—is a career accelerator that helps girls from underserved communities build aspirational careers. Started in 2021 by Navya Naveli Nanda, Founder of Project Naveli and Samyak Chakrabarty, Founder of Workverse, the initiative has trained more than 350 girls to date.
Under the initiative, women are given end-to-end support, from one-on-one mentoring, masterclasses with CEOs, CXOs and founders to placement support.
“Nimaya aims at helping women with barriers by providing them with the opportunity to build their careers and level the playing field,” Nanda told HerStory in a conversation.
The first steps
Samyak Chakrabarty recalls that Nimaya came through when he had a conversation with Nanda. “I have been working in the education sector for long now but during our conversation, we both agreed to the fact that if the right opportunity is provided to women then that could help them build strong careers. So we decided to join hands and Nimaya was born,” he said.
With the participation of women in the workforce consistently being low, Chakrabarty wanted to focus on creating opportunities for those wanting to pursue an active career.
Nanda has been passionately working towards improving the education and healthcare of women and undertaking this project came as a natural choice to her.
The two eventually doubled down on soft skills as a key focus point. “Creative thinking, problem-solving, and other such soft skills are not necessarily taught in schools and colleges. But these skills are important in making our next generation of leaders,” said Nanda.
While many of these skills innately women use on a day-to-day basis, through Nimaya, the idea is to help women harness these to realise their career goals.
Apart from focusing on soft skills development, Nimaya also includes sessions on women’s rights and sexual harassment laws to make women completely ready to face the world.
Harnessing the potential for a lucrative career
While Nimaya helps build soft skills like effective communication (oral and written), critical thinking, problem-solving, teamwork and a business mindset, it also emphasises building digital literacy, This is done by teaching those enrolled how to use tools like Google Suite and Microsoft Office.
It also imparts financial literacy involving–banking, savings, budgeting and investing.
Nimaya partners with NGOs or reach out to colleges, after which they form batches of students. Each session lasts about 45 days.
To date, Nimaya has conducted three batches—two in Mumbai with 75 students each and one in Haryana with 250 students.
Chakrabarty and Nanda also take masterclasses with the students during these sessions. They also invite other founders and leaders to take special classes to provide industry exposure to women. Nimaya has two full-time trainers, based in Mumbai, who conduct the batches.
Teams prepare the students for placements by helping them with CV writing, cover letter, building LinkedIn profiles, personal branding and preparing for interviews.
“Around 80% of women have been placed in companies like Schbang, Profitwheel, Aara health to name a few,” said Chakrabarty. In 2022, the Good Glamm Group partnered with Project Naveli and Workverse to launch the second cohort of the Nimaya flagship programme.
Amisha Gonsalves, an 18-year-old girl from Mumbai, first joined the programme through her college.
Jitters felt like a constant companion everytime she spoke with someone or addressed an audience. However, she believes that she has become more confident in communicating with others through the programme.
“I feel the best decision that I have taken so far is joining Nimaya. Being a B-tech student, I had the necessary technical knowledge however I lacked skills like communication which can be very important in building successful careers,” she said. “Through Nimaya I got the chance to talk to industry professionals and hone my communication skills along with securing a good job even before my course ends,” she says.
The team has been working in Mumbai, Haryana and plans to launch the initiative in Gujarat soon.
One of the challenges they faced while running the programme was to make people aware of the importance of soft skills. “Not everybody understood how soft skills can be useful so we had to explain them their importance,” Nanda says.
“Through Nimaya I want to convey to every girl that where they come from is not an obstacle for them to achieve their dreams,” Chakrabarty says.
Edited by Akanksha Sarma