The IIFL Foundation in collaboration with the implementing partner has implemented this project in Kupwara which is recognized as an 'Aspirational District' by NITI Aayog as it grapples with infrastructural deficiencies and endures conflict along its borders with Pakistan. The project emerged from a sense of responsibility and empathy to address the critical need to break the cycle of despair among the educated youth facing unemployment and limited economic opportunities. It provides skills that enhance employability and offer a pathway to economic independence.

What distinguishes this project is its approach - beyond imparting retail skills, it serves as a catalyst for community empowerment and national development. By providing practical training and job placements, it equips the youth with tools for self-sufficiency and fosters a sense of pride and purpose. Moreover, by engaging with governmental and military entities, it reinforces the fabric of nation-building, promoting synergy and collaboration toward progress.


This project has made significant strides in reducing the skill gap in Kupwara, benefiting 216 young individuals, out of which, 126 participants have been successfully placed. Thus, cultivating a skilled workforce in the retail sector and contributing to the economic and social advancement of Kashmir and the nation at large.


One of the project's key impacts is its role in integrating underprivileged youth into the mainstream, fostering their growth as responsible citizens and valuable employees. The training program goes beyond job exploration, providing opportunities for financial stability for beneficiary families. Notably, a positive transformation in attitude has been observed among the youth, attributed to diverse exposure experiences facilitated by the project.


Integral to the project's success is the gainful engagement of Kashmiri youth, promoting their integration into the national mainstream. Support from local authorities, including the District Commissioner and the Indian Army, underscores the collaborative effort driving this initiative forward. Moreover, the project has fostered trust within the community, as evidenced by increased parental involvement and willingness to send daughters for employment opportunities in Srinagar. The project's achievements in its inaugural year have garnered widespread popularity, with enthusiastic candidates eagerly awaiting the start of upcoming batches. 



Project location



Jammu and Kashmir

Project start year

1 October 2023

Project end year

30 September 2024



  • “Throughout the course, I acquired skills in customer interaction, an asset that greatly contributes to my success as a saleswoman at Khan Market. I am grateful to IIFL Foundation, the Indian Army, and REACHA for their support and ensuring my placement.” - Safiya, student.


  • “I am happy with my placement at Mini Market, a feat made possible through the support of IIFL Foundation, the Indian Army, and REACHA. Thanks to the skills acquired during the course, I confidently engage with customers, fostering positive relationships. As a result, I enjoy respect and recognition from both my colleagues and superiors at the shop.” -Famina, student.


  • "Kupwara, a remote district which presents unique challenges. We reach out to various community sectors to empower students and their families from economically disadvantaged backgrounds. Through training initiatives, our goal is to foster independence, thereby positively impacting the financial well-being of the entire family." - Mushtaq Ahmad Shah Pirzada (Trainer, REACHA)


  • “The engagement of youth in skilling programmes is proving to be a significant force in empowering them and enhancing their livelihoods, fostering independence and self-reliance. As they actively participate in these initiatives, we witness mainstreaming of youth into productive activities, driving motivation and a sense of purpose among them. Furthermore, there is an increase in trust within communities, with a marked improvement in the relationship between the Army and the civilian population. This trust signifies a positive shift towards collaboration and mutual understanding, laying the groundwork for stronger community bonds and collective progress. Among the beneficiaries of these initiatives, girls are particularly benefiting, as they seize opportunities for personal growth and empowerment. Through active engagement in programs, they not only experience positive change but also gain access to work opportunities, enabling them to pursue their aspirations and fulfil their dreams, thus contributing to a more inclusive and equitable society.” -Archna Singh (Head, Projects and Compliance, REACHA)


Disclaimer: Data period April 2023 to March 2024