[Monday Motivation] Meet the 27-year-old from Odisha who has trained over 750 plumbers

Satabdi Sahoo has helped over 600 people find jobs after training them under the Skill India programme

[Monday Motivation] Meet the 27-year-old from Odisha who has trained over 750 plumbers

Monday March 21, 2022,

4 min Read

When Satabdi Subhasmita Sahoo told her parents that she was going to train boys, who had failed Class 10, in the plumbing trade, so that they could find employment, she wasn’t really expecting much resistance. Her parents had always told her to follow her heart and that she would have their support. The then 20-year-old daughter of a post-master and homemaker from Bhuvaneshwar confidently donned a hard hat and has not looked back since. That was nearly eight years ago. Since then, she has trained over 20 batches of school dropouts.

“I had completed my Bachelor of Technology in Civil Engineering in 2015 and a Diploma in the Civil Trade in 2013. When I completed my Diploma, I decided to look for a job,” Satabdi says in conversation with Social Story. She saw an advertisement in the newspaper posted by Skill Development India looking for people willing to teach plumbing and wire bending as a trade. Being qualified for both, she applied.

Satabdi Sahoo

Satabdi Sahoo has trained over 750 school dropouts to find jobs as plumbers

“When I went for the interview, one of the things they asked me was if I was willing to travel on work. I was ready, and so I got the job. The selected candidate had to undergo the Training of Trainers programme by the Indian Plumbing Skills Council (under the Ministry of Skill Development). Today, I travel across various village blocks in the state training recruits under the Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Grameen Kaushalya Yojana (DDUGKY),” she says. The DDU-GKY is part of the National Rural Livelihood Mission (NRLM), under the Skill India initiative that aims to employ rural youth and diversify the incomes of the rural poor.

Satabdi comes from a family where education has always been encouraged. Her younger sister is studying for a Master of Computer Application and her younger brother is studying for a Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. That is why she feels strongly for the boys in her class, many of whom come from homes where education is not encouraged, or financial difficulties prevent them from being able to even complete school.

“It can be challenging to train the students. Some of the boys are difficult to handle as they are so young and don’t want to listen. But I make an extra effort with those boys. But none of them are disrespectful because I am a woman, or because I am young myself,” Satabdi says.

She says the biggest satisfaction she has is knowing that the boys she trains are equipped to earn a livelihood. “I have trained over 20 batches with 35 students in each batch. Of those, 30 in each batch find work. The ones who don’t find work have been discouraged by their families who don’t want them to leave the house or the village for a job.”

Satabdi Sahoo-1

Satabdi Sahoo in a training session with Class 10 dropouts.

One of the biggest employers for her trainees is Mahanagar Gas Limited in Mumbai who hire skilled plumbers to lay the gas lines. “Others have been hired under Pradhan Mantri Awas Yojana to work as plumbers in the corporation or government facilities. Some of them work here in Odisha, but many have also left the state after getting jobs. They are all earning around Rs 5,000- Rs 8,000 a month. A lot of them have come back to meet after one or two years. They bless me and say, ‘I have got a job because of you’” Satabdi says.

She says that she would like to continue training people for the foreseeable future. “There has to be a much better opportunity that comes along for me to give this up. I would also like to encourage others, especially girls like me to gain the necessary skills to train people and help them find jobs. That is the only way everybody can grow.”

Edited by Anju Narayanan