At the age of 18, Meena was helped to access a basic bakery training course.

Meena’s father was a rickshaw puller; he died due to a liver disorder caused by alcoholism 6 months before she came to Rainbow Homes. Her mother had to find work as a maid in the city. She would take her young son to work with her, leaving Meena and her sister, aged just two and five, alone in their hut all day.

One day their mother took the girls to the railway station and asked them to wait while she went to buy bread. She left with her son and never returned.

The girls were abandoned and had to resort to begging. They were rescued from the streets by Rainbow Homes. Following her difficult start in life, Meena struggled throughout school. At the age of 18, Rainbow helped her access a basic bakery training course. She was selected to work at Flurry’s, one of the most renowned bakery chains in Kolkata, as a bakery sous chef.

Meena was a natural, learnt lots of baking techniques and honed her skills as a baker. However, having not completed her high school education became a barrier in her new career. The Rainbow team saw this and enrolled her in ‘open school’ (a flexible system that allows learners to learn where and when they want, physically away from a school and a teacher) where she gained her Secondary School Certificate with above-average marks.

Meena and the Rainbow team looked at what her next step should be and she is now working hard to gain her Diploma in Hotel Management. She has also enrolled in ‘open school’, determined to achieve her Higher Secondary School Certificate as well.

She will soon be undertaking her work placement training in a 5-star hotel in Kolkata.