Empowering Changemakers

Access to vocational training in Bodh Gaya

Project summary

In a context where access to education and vocational training remains limited, OneAction, in collaboration with its local partner, is setting up a Vocational Training Centre (VTC) next to Bodh Gaya, in the State of Bihar. This centre will offer employment opportunities to the youth, as well as ensure a steady income covering all operational costs of our partner school that offers free education to more than 300 disadvantaged children between 3 and 16 years of age.

Projects   vocational training centre   1 Projects   vocational training centre   2


Education, Empowerment

Project duration

2018 - 2022


Direct: about 200 young women and men mainly from disadvantaged castes
Indirect: more than 300 students of the Gyan Niketan school and more than 1,000 community members


Total budget over 2 years: CHF 342,637
Expected revenues will cover part of the running costs from the second year onwards


Even though schooling has become compulsory and free since 2010 in India, more than 80 million children are still out of school in the country, a majority of whom come from the lowest castes. The region of Gaya, where the project is located, is in the heart of Bihar, one of the most populous, poor and conservative states in India. In this area, numerous children from the lowest castes are marginalized and are excluded from schooling.

Moreover, many young adults between 15 and 30 years of age, who represent around 30% of Bihar's population, suffer from poverty and have trouble finding a job due to limited access to professional trainings adapted to the market (17,5% of them are unemployed). These high unemployment rates among the youth profoundly affect Bihar's society, leading to other issues such as violence, extremism, alcoholism, the segregation of disadvantaged castes and urban overcrowding. By offering employment opportunities to the disadvantaged youth in the region, OneAction wishes to respond to these societal challenges. 

Following the entry into force of the Indian government's new legislations, the members of disadvantages castes who register for a vocational training course are eligible for a scholarship covering up to 100% of the fees linked to their diploma. Despite these promising initatives, Bihar currently lacks the necessary infrastructures and institutions to address the existing demand, particularly in rural areas. Consequently, OneAction aims at setting up a vocational training centre in the region.

Our partner

Since 2012, OneAction is collaborating with A future of children in Bodhgaya society, an Indian NGO created in 2004, which has been working for more than 10 years to offer educational and employment perspectives to children and adolescents of Bodh Gaya and its surroundings. It founded the Gyan Niketan school that offers free education to around 300 disadvantaged students, aged 3 to 16 years of age, who did not previously have the opportunity to go to school. But the school does not generate income and still depends on donations to cover its operating costs. The creation of a VTC will also provide a solution to this issue.



The project

With the aim of helping the youth from the lowest castes in Bodh Gaya to move out of poverty, OneAction is setting up a Vocational Training Center (VTC) that meets the State's criteria, in the Gyan Niketan school's vicinity. This centre will provide young men and women who have finished their compulsory schooling (i.e. 10 years of school) with the opportunity to have access to theoretical and practical professional training, as well as a nationally recognized certificate. This should allow them to acquire the necessary skills and diplomas to secure a job. Participants from the lowest castes who do not have the financial means to register will benefit from a State scholarship. This step will serve as a springboard to allow youth to integrate society, to benefit from the tools that will extend their future perspectives, and therefore to improve their living conditions.

After a market study, OneAction and its local partner have chosen to start offering trainings for future mechanics and electricians. Each course will last two years and will include both a theoretical and a practical part, based on existing curriculums recognized by the State. We plan on organizing short-term internships during the training to allow students to familiarize themselves with companies. In parallel, we wish to conduct workshops aimed at improving personal skills, including courses on entrepreneurship, communication and teamwork. The objective of these activities is to help the youth integrate society, develop their own activities, and to avoid the use of violence.

The VTC's revenues will entirely cover Gyan Niketan school's annual costs that currently depend on donors. Thanks to this initiative, the school will become autonomous over the long term, and will continue to ensure free education for more than 300 students from the lowest castes.

Expected results

  • A vocational training centre is set up;
  • 84 students are trained the first year, 168 the second, and more than 200 are trained annually the next years;
  • More than 90% of participants receive a diploma at the end of their training;
  • More than 80% of graduates find a job in their sector during the first year after their training;
  • The youth, essentially from the lowest castes, benefit from tools that allow them to work their way out of precariousness, to integrate society and to improve their living conditions;
  • Decrease of the use of violence thanks to the improvement of social bonds and living conditions;
  • 100% of the centre's running costs, as well as those of the Gyan Niketan school are covered.


  • The vocational training centre is entirely self-sufficient as of its third year of activity, and OneAction can disengage;
  • Additional revenues will not only cover Gyan Niketan school's running costs and improve its infrastructure, but will also be used to develop existing courses of the VTC and to create new trainings and workshops.

Some facts and figures about the project


  • About 200 students trained annually from 2020 onwards;
  • More than 90% of participants receive a diploma at the end of their training;
  • More than 80% of graduates find a job in their sector during the first year after their training;
  • 100% of the centre's and the Gyan Niketan school's running costs are covered.