How Muskaan has grown from learner to leader

The certified skills learnt through Passport to Earning has made the fifteen-year-old a community leader

Muskaan smiling and posing in front of her house.
12 April 2024
Muskaan, aged 15, in a classroom surrounded by fellow students. She is reading her notebook alongside a classmate, engaged in the learning environment.

In a small village located in the rural region of India, resides a determined 15-year-old girl named Muskaan. She has become a symbol of hope and change in her community, where she was born and raised in a close-knit joint family. Despite their modest means, her parents instilled the values of education and hard work in her from a young age. Alongside her regular school attendance, she attended coaching classes and assisted her mother with household chores. She even tutored young children in her community, nurturing her budding passion for teaching.

Her life took a pivotal turn when she learned about the Passport to Earning (P2E) programme. Launched globally by UNICEF with support from Accenture, Dubai Cares and Microsoft, P2E is a comprehensive learning-to-earning solution operating under UNICEF's public-private-youth partnership platform Generation Unlimited. Initially activated in India by YuWaah! (Generation Unlimited in India) with additional support from Capgemini, P2E utilizes Microsoft's Community Training platform to provide free, in-demand skill training and has impacted one million Indian youth aged 14-29 to date. The programme aims to equip participants with the necessary skills for employment, self-employment, and entrepreneurship, fostering financial independence and long-term sustainability.

YuWaah! (Generation Unlimited India)

Muskaan was introduced to financial and digital literacy concepts by a programme representative at her coaching centre. She eagerly enrolled, embarking on a journey of empowerment. P2E equipped her with essential knowledge about loans, interest rates, savings, budgeting, and investments. Her involvement in the program changed the trajectory of her life and as she delved deeper, she realized her newfound knowledge could uplift her entire community.

Her passion for teaching flourished, and she aspired to become a school teacher, aiming to improve the futures of children in her community. She faced initial resistance from her friends and family, but her commitment for the larger cause and the completion of the P2E programme earned her recognition. She was entrusted with teaching her friends about financial literacy, boosting her confidence and resolve to make a difference.

“Whatever learnings I have gained in the P2E programme, these are life skills for me and have changed my perception a lot. My peers, family, and my community are also benefitting from the learning which I have shared with them. Hence, I will continue my work even after the P2E programme.”

Muskaan, 15

In her native Chakla village, Muskaan found informal loans and a lack of financial awareness were increasing struggles of residents. Armed with her knowledge, she decided to address this issue by teaching the importance of savings and empowering villagers on how to break the cycle of financial troubles. Set against the backdrop of a high school dropout rate, prevalent substance abuse and unemployment, she aspired to reverse this trend by providing children and young people with knowledge and hope. And she didn't undertake this journey alone. Her family, coaching teacher, and P2E mentor played pivotal roles. Her P2E mentor bridged the digital divide, utilizing mobile and laptop technology to teach financial literacy.

Through this programme, she gained the tools to effect positive change, inspiring others to follow suit. As she spreads financial literacy and empowers her community, her story serves as a shining example of how education and determination can break the cycle of ignorance and poverty, offering a brighter future to the next generation of the village. Her journey reminds us that age is no barrier to making a significant impact, and with the right knowledge, skills and determination, we can all become agents of change. 

UNICEF does not endorse any company, brand, organization, product or service.

About Generation Unlimited

Launched by the UN Secretary-General at the 2018 UN General Assembly, Generation Unlimited is a leading global Public-Private-Youth Partnership on a mission to skill and connect the world’s 1.8 billion young people to opportunities for employment, entrepreneurship and social impact. Anchored in UNICEF, the partnership brings together global organizations and leaders including Heads of State, CEOs, Heads of UN agencies, and civil society champions with young people to co-create and deliver innovative solutions on a global scale.

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