The skill-building project in Kupwara district addresses the pressing socio-economic challenges prevalent in one of India's remotest regions. Designated as an 'Aspirational District' by NITI Aayog, Kupwara grapples with infrastructural deficiencies and the enduring conflict along its borders with Pakistan, resulting in profound losses and societal upheaval. In response, the initiative, with support from the IIFL Foundation was conceived to empower the local youth, particularly the educated unemployed, by providing them with essential skills and knowledge necessary for careers in the burgeoning hospitality sector.

The project's inception stems from the recognition of the dire need to address the lack of viable employment opportunities and the prevalence of militancy due to the dearth of job facilitation centers. By focusing on hospitality education, the initiative enhances the employability of the youth and contributes to the growth of the local hospitality industry and the overall economic development of the region. Moreover, by imparting essential skills, the project aims to foster socio-economic stability within beneficiary families.

What sets this CSR initiative apart is its comprehensive approach. Beyond merely providing training, it actively engages in activities that strengthen governmental institutions, including the Indian Army, and contribute to the local economy, fostering constructive engagement for nation-building. The project's impact is evident in the placement of 123 beneficiaries thus far, instilling hope and providing pathways to success.

Furthermore, the project distinguishes itself by offering joint certification from esteemed partners like IIFL Foundation, TATA Strive/Taj, Army, and REACHA, motivating the youth to strive for excellence. Additionally, exposure opportunities in 2, 3, and 5-star hotels enhance the participants' skillsets and their confidence and enthusiasm for a brighter future. Thus, it contributes meaningfully to their communities and the nation at large.


The training program has made significant strides in augmenting the skilled workforce for the hospitality industry, particularly in Kupwara. The project provided professional development to 160 young individuals, empowering them to pursue careers as Hospitality Chefs. Since its commencement on February 2, 2023, 160 participants have been enrolled, with 123 successfully placed.


The impact of the project extends beyond skill acquisition, with a focus on integrating underprivileged youth into the mainstream and fostering their role as positive contributors to society. By providing opportunities for professional growth, the project enhances employment prospects and contributes to the financial stability of beneficiary families, directly benefiting 160 households.


Moreover, the initiative promotes a shift in attitude and behavior among the youth through exposure to various experiences. It facilitates the gainful and constructive engagement of Kashmiri youth, promoting their integration into the national mainstream. Supported by the District Commissioner and the Indian Army (41 RR), the project has garnered trust within the community, leading to increased participation and support from parents.


Furthermore, the project includes partnerships with prominent industry players like TATA/Taj, providing students with soft skills, grooming, and communication sessions to enhance their employability. The project's success in its inaugural year has sparked enthusiasm among candidates, with bookings already received for upcoming batches. 



Project location



Jammu & Kashmir

Project start year

January '23

Project end year

January' 24



  • "Completing the 90-day, free of cost hospitality course was an overwhelming experience as following its conclusion, I was thrilled to secure a position as a Chef's Assistant at Hotspot Restaurant." - Naushat, student.


  • "The course primarily emphasized foundational skills, enabling us to strengthen our knowledge base and enhance our abilities. I am grateful to IIFL Foundation and REACHA for their support, as it was through their assistance that I secured a position at one of Pahalgam's finest establishments, Kolahoi Green Resort." - Dayam, student.


  • "In the border region of Kupwara, our project focuses on mobilizing and training students in hotel management, empowering them with essential skills for livelihood. We oversee their placements, which span various esteemed locations, including prestigious five-star hotels across different districts. The feedback from both employers and parents fills us with immense happiness, but it's the blessings we receive that truly bring us the greatest satisfaction. For this, I extend my heartfelt gratitude to IIFL Foundation, the Indian Army, and REACHA." - Zubair Mohin Ud Din Dar (Trainer, REACHA).


  • “The domain of hospitality food production has served multiple purposes that have positively impacted the community. We undertook the task of training unemployed youth in the Kupwara district by providing them with a comprehensive food production chef course, completely free of cost. This initiative aimed to uplift the underprivileged and unemployed youth, equipping them with valuable skills and enhancing their employability. The project yielded remarkable results, benefiting both the individuals involved and the community at large. Following the completion of their training, we actively endeavored to secure the best job opportunities for these talented individuals. As a result of our efforts, they were successfully placed in various prestigious establishments, including 5-star and 4-star hotels. By combining the power of education and job placement, this initiative has brought about a positive transformation in the lives of the underprivileged youth in Kupwara district. It stands as a shining example of how empowering individuals through skill development and creating job opportunities can have a profound and long-lasting impact on their lives and the community.” -Nazima (Trainer, REACHA).