PRAYOG, Ground Floor, 'Prerana' Niwas, Urja Nagar, Khagaul Road, Danapur, Patna - 801503 contact@prayog.org.in +91 98017 64664

Toon Masti and Learning Outcomes

Toon Masti and Learning Outcomes

PRAYOG started with its Digital Education Initiative in 2 Govt. schools in June 2016 using cartoon based application (TOONMASTI) developed by Ernst and Young Foundation. These cartoon based sessions are conducted on a daily basis in 2 Government schools. A baseline assessment was done before the initiative started. After two and a half months of the beginning of intervention, a re-assessment was done. The following observations are critical to understand some of the changes that are clearly visible: 

PRAYOG is thankful to Gopalganj District Administration: District Collector, Shri Rahul Kumar for constant support and encouragement, Education Department Officials at District, Block Education Officer, Kuchaikote and Teachers and children of Middle School Tulachapar and Badahara to have helped us in shaping this initiative

When you mix experience with innovation, something magical appears! Isn’t it?

When you mix experience with innovation, something magical appears! Isn’t it?

What should an ideal day look like into one’s life?

Experience 1: Envisioning PRAYOG

Prayog emerged due to the needs raised by children and ever since we have tried to figure out their needs time to time and also ensure that there is no gap in the process.In this journey, local youths joined us as we moved ahead and we have four vibrant persons engaged with us: Vijay, Ramesh, Priyanka and Binit. There are days when none of them agree on the suggestions of the other, there are days when they fight for who is right and how things should be done. But never have we faced a crisis of under performance or unwillingness to deliver the job. They all own the works and achievements of Prayog! They are fond to work for Prayog, work for children and fulfilling their dreams.

Around six months ago, Ramesh and Priyanka literally wept when asked about their experience of visiting Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital. They said in regret, “we are a bit old now, why did something like Akhand Jyoti did not exist when we were that age”. It is with a feeling to bless and willingness to contribute towards a wonderful future of all the children that Ramesh and Priyanka are committed towards Prayog.

November 28th and 29th: All the children were aware that Mishra Sir (they refer to Prof. Rajeshwar Mishra) is coming and they were full of memories of his last visit! Alas, what a way Sir interacts and it thrills everyone! This time it was even more special as Madam (his wife) was also accompanying him to meet the children. I am sure Sir might have shared some stories about children and their excitement which would have motivated Madam to visit here.

After a brief meeting with children on Day 1 and giving them a task, all the four staffs and the local mentor moved to Kushinagar to think on the direction for Prayog. Kushinagar is the place where Buddha attained nirvana. 

 
Priyanka, Vijay, Ramesh and Binit prepared the road map for Prayog and it was very surprising in the way they all moved towards creating Prayog as an institution for learning and where the focus should be on basic education!
 
Staff preparing a road map for PRAYOG
Staff preparing a road map for PRAYOG
How effectively should the community be engaged in any NGO’s works? Frank enough, I have got the chance to observe a number of programs and NGOs which has objectives of community involvement/participation etc but a high majority of them actually stand below par when the community involvement is concerned. Most of these are program based and that limits the scope in itself to instill a passion amongst the community. Prof. Mishra helped us reach a level where people have directly supported us and are willing to expand this network!
Community members returning favours to fulfill children’s demands
Community members returning favours to fulfill children’s demands

Experience 2: Ensuring a proper direction to Youth

August 2015: Vikas Kumar was a 20 year guy living in Semra bazar in Gopalganj district of Bihar. He was one amongst the many youths who was still exploring what he could do in his life. After passing Class 10th few years ago, he had enrolled in an Intermediate college and just as other youths, he knew that he has to appear only for the exams. And why not? When the inter college is 24 kms from his home, how can he bear the cost of daily travel that would be around Rs. 60. And many youths of his age prefer moving out to the west, probably Delhi, Haryana, Gujarat or Maharashtra.

September 2015:ICICI Academy for Skills appears somehow in the neighbouring village, Bania chapar, where PRAYOG’s library set up has been functioning since 2013. A friend of Vikas had informed him about something related to youth’s future is to be organized on September 10th. Vikas participated in the event and was amongst the 25 youths who were identified for a three months residential skill training at the academy in Patna. He was not sure in the beginning as so many fancy stuffs were mentioned and that too everything was to be taken care at the academy, absolutely free of cost.

November 2015: Here is Vikas Kumar!

Vikas after returning from the camp

Vikas is oozing with confidence and sharing his experiences, future goals and the fun he is having at the academy! Vikas underwent a training in electrical appliances for three months and is going to passout on December 12th. He is already placed with a solar manufacturing unit with a monthly salary of Rs.9000.

And so are all the 25 youths who went to learn something. All thanks to the ICICI Academy. Together, these youths would be earning Rs 200000 per month!

This is what PRAYOG is striving for. We plan to engage 100% unemployed youths and who have dropped out of studies to be settled down in life with decent livelihood opportunities and live a life with dignity!

Such was the impact of this association with ICICI Academy for Skills that girls have shown prompt interest to be a part of this and move ahead in life.
         
         
Some pics of engagement with youth of Kuchaikote and Panchdeori blocks, Gopalganj
A good day should be joyful and full of works that give you pleasure. November 28th and 29th were such days which enthralled the purpose of life. Thanks again to the spirit of local youth, our four staff and local mentor. Thanks to the energetic Mishra Sir and Mam to guide us in our journey and a big thanks to Sunil Sinha and Chandan from ICICI Academy for Skills, Patna to visit us with concern for the local youth. Thank you Manish Bhardwaj and Mritunjay Tiwary for being an inspiration and for what you have been doing in rural Bihar.

A big thanks to all the donors who have faith on PRAYOG and keep supporting us. It is because of you that we are able to deliver the changes that we all wish to see in India and its village set up!

What Makes Us Dream And Work Hard?

What Makes Us Dream And Work Hard?

Prayog’s journey started on June 15th, 2013 and every single day has has been extremely exciting towards bringing new dimensions towards the needs of the children living in the villages. From five children of one village, we are now reaching out to more than five hundred children from 12 villages. From traditional form of learning, we are now engaged in digital form of learning for the kids who have just started their education. And 80% of these services is availed by the ‘poorest’ and voiceless section of the society. These are the children of people who do not own resources, land etc and for whom education is not a solution but only reaching out to schools for something is there for free. They even do not know what all are available for free. Someone aptly said that they are the ‘first generation learners’ and we are proud that we are able to raise curiosity and excitement with each passing day.What makes us dream and work hard are a set of activities that we have been able to do in this brief period of two years, these are mentioned below:

1. Community Library and associated works:
  • Established at a community site, has more than 500 members
  • Collection of more than 1000 books
  • Daily English and Hindi newspapers
  • Monthly magazines
  • A librarian to take care of library
  • Exposure visits
 
First Day of the Community Library and PRAYOG – June 15th, 2013
Student Volunteers Conducting Classes

  
Our model was documented and case study covered in a book released during the 1st India Public Library Conference in New Delhi (March 2015) organized by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation http://iplc.in/wp-content/uploads/2015/03/BP-Book-2015.pdf(see page 15)
1st Exposure Visit October 2013 – Children from Prayog at a week long SPIC MACAY event at Parivartan, Siwan
Second exposure visit to Jalpaiguri in West Bengal
Third exposure visit involved 110 children visiting birthplace of Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Parivartan at Siwan
Third exposure visit involved 110 children visiting birthplace of Dr. Rajendra Prasad and Parivartan at Siwan
 2. Solar lamp initiative

Owing to the irregular supply of electricity, we provided solar study lamps to 200 children during October to December, 2014. We achieved this target and due credits to MILAAP, where we successfully crowd funded for this initiative. A survey was conducted in January 2015 and the results were extremely positive:
       The reach of solar lamps was 4 times and more than 800 children were actually benefitting
       There was an increase in study duration by 2 hours amongst children
Raj can now study without their parents scolding to light up a kerosene lamp!
The 199 children can now study without their parents scolding to light up a kerosene lamp!
3. Curious Learning – a model of self learning
In association with Prajnopaya Foundation, we are implementing a unique model of self learning to inculcate early education to kids between 3-8 years of age through games and modules loaded in tablets.
100 children were identified from 2 villages based on the poor provisions of education: identifying criteria was a balance in gender, maximum number of children belonging to lowest socio economic strata and who cannot have access to the best education facilities. The roll out has already started in June 2015 with 50 tablets and 50 more to start by year end.

We believe in orienting the rural youth and have trained and engaged 3 rural youth facilitators to lead the programme implementation.

Excitement for kids – enabling them with gadgets with a purpose!
Excitement for kids – enabling them with gadgets with a purpose!
4. Creating forward linkages
We are establishing linkages with other institutions and were successful to admit 12 girls between Class 6 – 9th to a unique education initiative of the biggest eye hospital of eastern India, located at Saran district of Bihar. These girls would be trained to become professional footballers from Day 1 and move on to pursue a degree in Optometry that would ensure their future with job when they pass out. More than this, they would emerge out as an empowered woman and becoming role model for village girls who lack confidence and resources to move higher up the ladder.

If There Is A Rebirth, Give Me An Animal’s Body

If There Is A Rebirth, Give Me An Animal’s Body

Author's Note: This write up is the translated version of a Class 10th girl who wrote on the situation of women in villages. I agree this is universal and thought to publish it in our blog. This will also feature in our first Quarterly newsletter to be out in August 2015. The world needs to know what a young 14-15 year old girl has gone through, is going through and anticipates her future. Her thought process is marvelous and this needs to be given a shape based on her strengths. She doesn't need to think all this throughout her life and end it thinking that nothing could be done.
 
"Every woman in our country is entitled with the same rights as a man has been. But, do they utilize their rights in real sense? I think, absolutely no.

Our society has been patriarchal. Law gives every woman these rights in equal footage with a man but there is an abundance of people with conservative mindset who cannot digest of a woman standing in similar line as a man. And these are the people who would never allow a woman to enjoy her rights. Instead, what does a woman get back from this society? Only words of discouragement and setbacks.

Even before a girl is born, her struggles start. When in the mother’s womb till old age, she lives a fearful life throughout. When I was to enter this beautiful world, then my very own people had a wish for son and so they did sex determination. As soon as they knew that a daughter would be born, my own people agreed to terminate me before seeing this world. Even my mother and grandmother, who themselves are someone’s daughter, were in consensus. Somehow my fate was not to die and I entered this world happily, thinking “what a wonderful life lies ahead of me”. But this did not happen. I was not even able to stand well that devils started demolishing me in lieu of sweets and chocolates. Mother restrained my movement out of house since childhood, but later realized that I should get some education to ensure my marriage. Though the family allowed me to move out of home to school but mother reminded, “better be safe, you are entering into a dangerous world”. These words would pierce through my ears like a sharp knife, each time I would step out of my home. Somehow I completed high school and my parents thought that the education is now over, “she is not a boy that we should pursue her education, neither would she earn..so why to waste resources for her education”. So next was my marriage which could relieve them from me though I was not even in the shape of getting married. I wanted to study, I wanted to be self dependent but no one cared for what my thoughts were. And why would have they asked me anything, after all I was a daughter only and I didn’t have the freedom to decide on my future. My life has always been on the verge of decisions by other people, this resulted into shattering of my yet another dream. I was married as a child, I cried a lot and my mother remained a mute spectator. I will not blame her, rather would blame the entire society which just objectifies women, women to be used and thrown.

Post marriage, at my husband’s place, I thought that life here would be safe and I can study now. But the condition here was worse and I was humiliated every day for dowry. They attempted to burn and kill me and the first person to try was my husband, who had taken a oath in front of everyone to be with me during my times of happiness and sorrows. And when I survived of this, I again went under agony of giving birth to a girl child, so much so that I now start thinking to end my life along with my daughter. But still, my prayers for my husband continue.

A woman’s patience is considered as the biggest weakness by this society and hence everybody plays with her life insanely. When a woman survives all the agonies of childhood and adult age of hers, she now thinks in the old age that she is now safe, nobody can harm her physically or mentally. She is so wrong even at this time. The son whom she might have thought would take care of her in the old age is now mature and has learnt all the skills from this society. He now turn out to be brutal and starts harassing her, beating her up whenever she raises the demands for her old age.

My only prayer to God, if I there is rebirth, give me an animal’s body but never mould me into a woman’s body. For if I go through this life cycle in an animal’s body, it would be fine as animal’s do not know what is good or bad. But living an animal’s life in a human body gives pain and shatters dreams. To hell with this society which has created boundaries for women.  I only pray to you God, please do not shape me as a daughter in my next birth".

In less than two years, the biggest change that PRAYOG has brought is HOPE: From nowhere to somewhere

In less than two years, the biggest change that PRAYOG has brought is HOPE: From nowhere to somewhere

A few days ago, I went to the bank to make the first salary transfer of four staffs of PRAYOG. During the process, the Bank Manager whom I know because of a common friend, asked me: “these days you guys (NGOs) must be getting crores of money in the Ganga cleaning program, good days for you”. I usually do not reply instantly but the words came instantly, “Sir, those who work for crores, their works are not even worth lakhs and we have barely put in a couple of lakhs but our work is worth Crores”. Everybody started laughing!

It was an amazing day for me and just a thought that these four youths were doing nothing in their villages, and today we have enabled them to earn respect from the community and they are also able to keep themselves financially strong. I had seen many boys and girls wasting their youth in unproductive works in the villages and girls often been ignored towards education. Our facilitators are learning new things each day and we believe that it is only the rural youth who can bring in change.

We all talk about change, but I always think what is this change about? Change the existing scenario in learning, behaviour, income, lifestyle and what not. We wish to change this world and then again after few years, think to change the changed world. A few days ago, I was looking through a website where some NGOs are members for linkages and was surprised to see the name of a very good NGO who wish were just helpless in their introduction. They had to stop the senior classes for girls education because of paucity of funds and were almost helpless to continue their current level of junior classes. Now, since PRAYOG also aims for education and runs mainly through my own earnings and some fundraising, I was seriously worried. We are also working for a change and what happens if I die tomorrow or some like minded people stop contributing. It takes a hell to get a rupee out of someone’s pocket and how long only a few supporters would keep worrying for the cause. Eventually, the day we stop worrying for this change, everything stops. But should it stop? Should the children in resource deprived areas not get the same level of education and exposure?

Should they not dream?

In less than two years, the biggest change that we have brought is hope. Children look at us curiously, they wait for us, they write for us, they pray for us and what not that motivates the entire team a lot. We have done just done ordinary work: we are just reading the minds of these children and enabling them to do what they wish to do, what they wish to learn, what they wish to unlearn. The two biggest recent achievements have been getting associated with Prajnopaya Foundation and Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital.

While Prajnopaya Foundation is more about technology oriented model for early education amongst kids between 3 – 8 years of age. For the past one month, 50 children have been playing and learning with these apps, the initial phase just to enable them learn basic English, Maths and desire to explore. This is a part of the Global Literacy Project.

What Akhand Jyoti Eye Hospital has been doing is incredible for the people of Bihar and north India. The power of bringing in vision into someone’s eye not just ensures the happiness but also their livelihoods. And most of them is done free of cost. When I first visited the hospital at Mastichak two years ago, I was overwhelmed to see young Bihari girls taking charge at the hospital. I have studied at an IIT and have visited a few IIMs and I am not wrong if I say that the auditorium and library at AJEH is better than those. Leave about the infrastructure (that exists in a typical village in Bihar’s Saran district, commonly referred as Chapra), the vision is so empowering. They aim to eradicate all sorts of curable blindness by 2020 and women to actively participate in this process. I was ecstatic when Mritunjay Tiwary, the founder, told me one fine day that girls from Prayog can be a part of this change. All they need to have is the willingness to play football and parents commitment to send their daughters into the AJEH hostel for eight to ten years. They would pursue a B.Sc in optometry and finally emerge as role models in their field! In return, AJEH shall cover all the cost. Well, the big news is that 10 girls from Prayog, all between Class VI – IX, are going to be a part of this change. The girls are excited, their parents are excited, I am excited and the community in confusion! “How can someone do this free of cost?” Well, nothing to worry. People learn with examples and there are quite a handful of such examples around us, people like Mritunjay are creating examples for the generation next!

All these experiences in past couple of years have made me strong and think more practically. Though, there is no standard procedure of being ‘practical’. The charity mode is weaning out of my head now. I am not a millionaire, I am not so well connected, I have left my job to pursue Prayog full time but above all I am a believer in doing. I believe, what happens is for good and what shall happen will also be good. In this phase of nurturing an initiative, many people set promises: few keep their words and most forget. But, why should any initiative depend on any promise of an external person who was impacted by the work for fraction of a second. Fortunately, I know some people who have started the process of change and because of whom I have self belief.

Prayog is two now and am proud of what changes we have been able to bring in the lives of hundreds of children. I have started to believe that any such initiative should go sustainable and the dependency on others to run the initiative should be minimized. May be ten years or twenty years down the line, we would like to be a role model NGO who are sustainable and have created substantial opportunities for youth. This would be the real change for us!

Akhilesh with the Tablet
Children with the Tablets

 

That Smile! 🙂

 

Bal Bagicha indeed

Towards A Brighter Night

Towards A Brighter Night

Human brain is such that so many thoughts revolve around on a daily basis. And these depend upon the ‘milieu’. Thoughts develop with exposure to the world be it reading, watching movies and documentaries, attending lectures, hearing stories, going out to see the real world and many more. At PRAYOG, we are helping to shape and construct the thoughts of children. It was during one of the interactions, we learnt that so many children lose the time to darkness and have to depend only on daytime for studies. Even those who could manage through kerosene lamps are prone to health hazards.

And so, a couple of months ago we designed an initiative Light An Ignited Mind, whereby we would provide solar study lamps to 200 of our children. These lamps being more efficient and are multi purpose.

No words can spell out the feelings that we underwent, ours is an initiative that has been run from pocket and arranging for 200 solar lamps became a challenge. It was no easy task but it was the commitment for the initiative that helped us ahead. The story of initial solar study lamp is something that is going to be with us forever. In a morning walk at Patna zoo, when discussed this with Prof. Rajeshwar Mishra, an ex-Prof of AN Sinha Institute of Social Sciences, his words were encouraging and said that this is possible. Just 3 hours later, he calls: “I want to donate 50 solar lamps on the occasion of my grand daughter’s first birthday”. This was a moment of pride, at that moment it was a relief as someone very close to the initiative volunteered and the sheer numbers. But when you actually think upon this, he has contributed not only towards lighting the nights of 50 children but also towards the future and happiness of his grand daughter, he wants her to be connected to people and not to be carried away in this materialistic world. This is such a noble thought. His grand daughter is an American citizen.

And there was no looking back, Through the help of friends and many unknown people who are now friends, and the support of Milaap and The Better India, we managed to reach our target of 200 solar study lamps. We had budgeted for a low cost lamp but went ahead and purchased a branded Tata Diva solar study lamp (courtesy the additional support of Prof. Mishra).

So, we distributed 50 solar lamps on October 19th to children between 3-8 years of age and 115 solar lamps on October 23. This time it was given to 71 children who are being groomed through write ups and 44 of children between 3-8 years who shall be a part of Global Literacy Project. The remaining 35 would be given soon.

For PRAYOG, this is our vision and we want to explore the behaviour of children and their tendency to help others. It is only after ensuring this, we can think of building a meaningful society.

Can any one open the tight fist of Kishore?
This is what I thought to draw
Prof. Mishra gave an incomplete story, Suraj completed it out on his own views
The art of keeping quiet
Making a story out of newspaper stories
Students work on newspaper stories
Mukhiya and village elderly distributing the solar study lamps
With 199 kids who got solar study lamps on October 23rd
Vijay, demonstrating the use of solar study lamp

People behind PRAYOG – Vijay

People behind PRAYOG – Vijay

A real hard worker he is…

One fine day, people told me that a young lad comes to the library and teaches children. I was very happy but at the same time wanted to confirm that he doesn’t use this platform for tuitions or making money. When I first interacted with him, I was highly impressed. He had once seen our night class for these children and that impressed him so much that he wanted to teach the children, then onwards.

This is Vijay Kumar Chauhan, a 22 year old extremely talented and laborious guy who is now an active volunteer at PRAYOG. Vijay’s dedication is such that he prefers giving time to children of the village, designs teaching sessions on his own, conducts competitions, quizzes etc to keep the children motivated.

Vijay, with his proteges…
Vijay resembles a rejuvenated Bihari youth, son of a landless daily wage earner. Like most other Bihari migrants to the west, he migrated to Ludhiana when he was just 15 years old to work in a factory. The petty salary that he made was spent as living cost there and he became sad with the living conditions. But, this is how the labour class has survived since memories exist. He returned back and with a will power that he would keep on with his studies. He is the second child and none of the elderly in his house have ever touched a book. He kept on with studies and has encouraged his younger siblings to study.
In Prayog, he has found a support. He says, “recognition is what people of my caste have never got, I feel extremely proud when children of all castes call me ‘bhaiya’ (elder brother) and many in the vicinity commend me for my job here”. In return Prayog is offering him a minimal volunteerism support, bearing his education cost and guiding him towards further higher education.
He is excited about his future and he now dreams of shaping up a model village. It is Vijay’s enthusiasm and hard work that has enabled Prayog to reach out to many. We are guiding more youths like Vijay and supporting them so that they take responsibility of shaping up the society.

PRAYOG’s Story Depicts A ‘Positive India’ Amongst Many Odds

PRAYOG’s Story Depicts A ‘Positive India’ Amongst Many Odds

What started as an initiative on June 15th, 2013 with 5 children and 4 motivated souls and guided by an ex – Prof,  Rajeshwar Mishra, is now taking a shape!

Prayog’s efforts has been applauded in News Bench’s (http://newsbench.in/) August 2014 issue in the ‘Positive India’ section.

Thank you children, thank you friends and thanks to News Bench team for featuring our efforts in this wonderful new magazine! The journey has just started and we are ready to face all the odds and reach our destiny, someday.

We shall overcome, definitely!

World Environment Day: Thoughts on Ways to Contribute Towards Eco-Friendliness

World Environment Day: Thoughts on Ways to Contribute Towards Eco-Friendliness

Today is World Environment Day! Thank you mother earth for giving me such a pleasurable place to stay. Though, I strongly feel that I couldn’t return you even a bit. Let me share one of my major mistakes, which I am forced to commit but because of certain factors.

I stay in Patna and often visit a district named Gopalganj which is ~ 200 kms from here. In doing so, I burn my pockets as well as one of your precious non-renewable resource, petroleum. It takes 30 litres of petrol for a to and fro journey. But, this is wasted not because of comfort but mainly because of the lack of basic transportation facility. I kept on doing this but couldn’t realize this till one fine Sunday a gentleman from Delhi asked me to suggest a route from Patna to Gopalganj by public transport. Instead, my suggestion was centred around hiring a taxi while the gentleman urged to suggest a train route.

Now, just listen to the difficulty a common man has to face in trying to reach there in this era. There is no rail connectivity between our state capital (Patna) and almost all of the 9 districts of north-west Bihar. So, I need to travel to Hajipur, crossing the Ganges over a rickety Gandhi Setu bridge (any stranger feels the trauma but for we Biharis, it is a matter of pride to say that many a times it takes 6 hours or more to cross a ~ 6 km bridge!! So, proud of our patience) whose repair work is on for last 5 years or more and probably a new bridge could have been constructed during this period. If I am lucky, I board a train in which I booked my ticket else board any train to Siwan. An express train takes 2.5-3 hours to reach Siwan. From Siwan, I get local buses plying to Gopalganj over a road that the bus would play a see-saw. After reaching Gopalganj, I need to travel another 24 kms to reach my final destination at Prayog site. So, then I need to change for local transport and the quality of the roads as well as the ease with which the local passengers are picked and dropped, it takes another 2 hours to cover this distance. Wow, if I am lucky, I would cover this 200 kms in a super exciting 10 hours by public transport!

Now comes the train route. I am surprised why have the people not revolted against the poor train connectivity? Why has an ex railway Minister, Sri Lalu ji couldn’t do much? 4 out of 38 districts in Bihar have not been connected to any major rail route and Gopalganj is one of them. The Britishers layed a web of rail connectivity in the district/region because of sugar factories but we couldn’t convert this ahead. People from Gopalganj are forced to travel to a neighboring district, Siwan or Gorakhpur (in Uttar Pradesh) to catch a train! Come on Indian Railways, this is the 21st century India and how come a district headquarter (since 1976) not have a railway junction even??? The narrow gauge existed since pre-independence, the broad gauge came in (2-3 years ago)…but why couldn’t we here have a junction?? Who decides for establishing a junction and connecting to major rail links??

When in 2012, Gaurav Travels started a Mercedes Benz bus service (under Bihar State Road Transport Corporation undertaking) to Gorakhpur via Gopalganj, I was so happy. Alas, this could barely last a couple of months. Reason, NH 28 that connects Lucknow to Barauni in Bihar, and the initial 45 kms section from UP –Bihar border falling in Gopalganj district was in the turmoil. It still is. This is a 4 lane highway but looking at the 45 km section one can easily say, there is a road in the potholes!

 

NH28 of Gopalganj

Now, mother…tell me, what should I do? Should I travel this distance wasting 10 hours of my time and with no 24 hours public transport facility. If I need to start in the evening from Gopalganj, I shall be trapped and would have to waste another 12 hours during the return journey in addition to the travel time.

I want to save you and I want to save money, but Governance is not allowing me. Ask your other eligible children to take care of this! Hope, next Environment Day I would be sharing another story of change…good or bad, only time to reveal.

Let Us Give ‘Freedom Of Thought’ to our children!

 Let Us Give ‘Freedom Of Thought’ to our Children!

A big thanks to Jaspreet Mahal and Dadasaheb Tandale for being such wonderful volunteers at PRAYOG, this Sunday. Both of them are associated with CARE India for a health program in Bihar. Jaspreet had earlier planned to visit PRAYOG but could not come due to sudden other professional commitments. It was Dadasaheb’s second visit to us.

Follow the snaps to traverse their interaction with children. Girls were really fascinated by her presence and there were arguments and discussions on:

“Whether a girl should step out of her home”?

 There was an argumentative discussion between the volunteers and children, especially girls who were in favour of the above statement as this is what has been told/instructed by their grandparents. There were some traditional statements which actually came out of a folk song,

“Chahe beti kitni pyaari ho, usey ghar ghar ghumana na chahiye; chahe patni kitni pyari ho usey har baat batana na chahiye” Howsoever dear the daughter may be, she should not be left to go over places; howsoever dear the wife may be, she should not be told any secrets of the household]. Sanya, a bright girl seconded this with a story that was narrated once to her by an elderly of the village to prove this right.

These are the notions that have been constructed over hundreds of years and there needs to be a mechanism to break them. When they were asked to reveal whether their mothers/grandmothers went to school, most of them nodded their head for ‘no’. And what about you, asked Dada. They unanimously said, we go to school and will also pursue higher education. It was then they suddenly realised that how irrelevant the folk song was towards their dreams and aspirations.

There were sessions on songs, both by children and volunteers. Children showed their paintings that they had made sitting at PRAYOG’s library. Towards the end, the girls began to realize that their priority should be on freedom of thoughts as well!

Jaspreet introducing herself to children
Many small kids made up to interact with volunteers in the scorching heat
Aakanksha, narrating her experience with Jaspreet
Similarly. many others
It’s a boy this time
Jaspreet and Dada
All in Consensus!

Interactions with Jaspreet and Dada
Drawings and Paintings by the Children

More of Them
The Painter, Saniya
Children with Jaspreet, Dada, local teachers and volunteers