The IKEA Foundation and Going To School are partnering to help young people in Bihar learn the skills they need to find a job.

Each year in India over 60 million students leave school, more than 70% of whom can’t find work because they don’t have the skills employers are looking for.

We are pleased to award Going To School a €3.4 million grant, to give secondary school students in Bihar, India, the skills to set up a business, find a job or succeed in higher education. For the past two years we’ve been helping Going To School scale up their successful model, Be! an Entrepreneur, across 500 secondary schools in Bihar. The new grant builds on that success.

The next programme, Get A Plan, will help 400,000 young people in one of India’s poorest states develop the skills they need to shape their future.

Lisa Heydlauff, CEO of Going To School, explains: “Government secondary school education does not focus enough on the skills young people need to get a job or start their own businesses. When there’s a clear connection between going to school and earning a living, more young people stay in school for longer. It’s essential that young people develop skills that are relevant to the employment opportunities in Bihar.”

Through Get A Plan, young people and entrepreneurs will co-create stories and interactive materials to help students develop the mindset and skills they need to find work. The programme will also train teachers in 1,000 schools to support students as they take their first steps towards employment, entrepreneurship or higher education.

Prakash’s story

One of the biggest challenges for young people living in poor communities is that they aren’t always aware of the possibilities. Without role models they can relate to, it’s difficult for young people to imagine what their lives could be like. Young people in Bihar are hungry for stories that show them how they can change their lives.

A young man with an ambition to grow

Prakash grew up helping his father build toilets in rural Bihar, India. He always knew it was important work. Rural homes don’t often have toilets, girls and women wait until the night falls to go to the fields. It’s unsafe and unhealthy. Prakash was just 19 when he found Going To School. He wanted to expand his father’s enterprise, he wanted to build toilets for schools and he had heard Going To School helped young start-ups. Convinced by his skills, commitment and pragmatic plan, Going To School helped Prakash get funding for his business expansion plans.

Going to the toilet is now safer and cleaner thanks to Prakash

In return, he now visits schools and talks to young people about being a toilet building entrepreneur. Over the past three years, Prakash has visited more than 100 schools talking to children about his enterprise. His story was made into a graphic novel that was read by 200,000 children in Grade 9 across Bihar. Young people can’t wait to meet him when he arrives at their school.

Using this story-telling approach, Going To School will inspire young people, open their minds to what they can achieve and give them the skills they need to open the door to better prospects. In partnership with Going To School, we’re helping young people in Bihar Get A Plan for a better future.