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

Reviving The Dreams Of A Child

Reviving The Dreams Of A Child

I got a call from one Golu Kumar yesterday night at 11 p.m. Though we often talk but I got scared why was he calling so late at the night.

 

Golu amidst the hills

He said, “ae Sir, humko navva mei nahi jaana hai, hum aathwa mei hi padhna chahte hain” (Sir, I don’t want to read in Class IX, I want to read in Class VIII only)

Golu has been promoted to Class IX in the Government school but he wants to study in Class VIII. REASON: he says that he looked back at his books and doesn’t understand anything that he read in Class VIII.

My experience with him:

6 months ago: He said that he wants to learn mannerisms and be a good boy in one of PRAYOG’s workshops. Thanks to volunteers like Dr. Sarwar, Rajul, Thirumalai, Dadasaheb and so many who facilitate periodic workshops and create a wonderful atmosphere there!

5 months ago: He started calling me to find him a job in the town and his interest would be working in a factory or being a driver. Golu belongs to a tribal family (Gonds) and his parents are daily wage earners. This request carried on every time he called me or whenever I visited PRAYOG at Gopalganj.

In March, he was one of the fellows who went to West Bengal in an exposure visit, saw the world and interacted with school going children and the natural harshness students face there in the hills.

His thought process has changed and wants to keep learning now. I am happy, at least 1 prospective dropout was saved. But at the same time, our responsibilities have increased.

You can also join us and help us reach out to at-risk children. They have stopped dreaming and this should not die. Let us recreate their thought process and create a platform whereby they chase their dreams! Do send us your feedbacks at contact@prayog.org.in

Golu writing his experiences of visit and interaction with other children (right)
A keen observer of the nature. He was very sharp to observe the 2 different aspects of this wood.

Youth Exposure Trip To West Bengal And Bhutan

Youth Exposure Trip To West Bengal And Bhutan

Please click on the link below:

As a part of activities, 6 boys and 6 girls were selected as ‘young fellows’ based on the surveys they conducted for education status of children under age 10 in their villages. They also developed a report on this.

These are the children who have also taken the responsibility of nurturing their friends of lesser age, in particular those who have a tendency to leave educational aspirations viz. children of labourers, marginal farmers etc. who have no one to teach at home.

During Mar 29th to Apr 02nd, 11 of these fellows, 2 teachers and a youth volunteer visited West Bengal. We were hosted by a local NGO at Jalpaiguri – Centre for Development of Human Initiatives (CDHI). Children had many wonderful and bitter experiences. Majority of them had not travelled outside their villages and were seeing most of the things for the first time in their life, be it the hills, tea plantations, paddy crop during this period and after all it was also their first  international visit – to Bhutan.

They interacted with child labourers at the Child labour school in Chamurchi, adjoining Bhutan border. They also got a chance to see the factory processing of tea leaves to tea production.

In Buxa tiger reserve, children were impressed by the beautiful nature but were sad to learn the tyrannies of local people of 13 villages and their hardships to sustain life. They did group works and have developed stories on the following themes:

  • nature
  • people and housing
  • livelihoods
  • education

We, at PRAYOG believe that children need to see this world and understand good and bad through personal experiences. This is a way to work towards developing a cadre of motivated youth who understand their role of being socially responsible.

Rising to a different height!

What Shall Happen To A Girl’s Dreams?

What Shall Happen To A Girl’s Dreams? 

In one of the assignments to children, they were asked to express their personal journey and what they want to do in life. They also identified children between 6 – 10 years of age and their reasons of not attending schools. Based on their essays and views on education of such children, 11 fellows have been identified. These fellows will be nurtured for a period of 6 months and one of the follow up is a visit to Jalpaiguri (West Bengal) where they shall get a chance to interact with other children and see this world through a different perspective. We have planned to continue this on a rotation basis after the first 6 months where other children also get a chance.

Priya

These are the two excerpts from so many responses:
Priya is a Class 8th student in a Government middle school at Gopalganj. She begins her write up with a wish that she keeps good health so that she can do whatever she likes to. She wants to learn dance and music so that she can teach them to other children. She believes in hard work and compares, “Just as we sow saplings and that in turn grow into trees and gives us fruits, in the same manner parents gave me birth, they are nurturing me and when I grow up, I want to give them back happiness”. She then sarcastically raises a question (probably her personal journey): “if all parents take proper care of education for the boys and neglect their girl child, what shall happen to a girl’s dreams? Suppose, if my parents do not teach me further, my dreams will die. But this would be the biggest sin by my parents because boys do not take care of parents but girls worry and take care till the end. So, I should pursue education”

 
Khushboo
 
Khusboo is a blessed child. She is a Class 9th student. When I was in that Class, I remember many of my classmate’s ambition was to become an IAS officer but leave about the abbreviation, many would write it as ‘IS’ officer (and some of them were children of bureaucrats). She belongs to a dalit family and has seldom gone out of the village, baring the 3 kms travel to her school. But, her writings speaks of her courage and a desire to excel in life…and for the society.
 
In the words of Khusboo, “I am studying and want to be an educated girl. I wish to become an IAS officer so that I can do good to the society. I know this is going to be a tough journey for me but those who keep trying, never fail. I will achieve my dreams by trying and working hard. I am born human and this motivates me to do good.”
 
Priya’s and Khusboo’s dreams are common to millions of girls in our country. But, their dreams are being murdered. A girl is not allowed to go out of her home and study, married at young ages, married not according to their choices and when they give birth to a girl, the innocent kid being left behind or killed. We at PRAYOG, witness around 60 girls in the age group of 5-15.
 
We want them to fly, we want them to follow their dreams!

Cultural Confluence At PRAYOG

Cultural Confluence At PRAYOG

Our volunteers this time are from north, south, west and east directions of the country. Children over there are quite excited after hearing this. As Rajeev (one of the brains behind Prayog) points out that its going to be a cultural confluence as well! We thank all the 4 volunteers for confirming their visit to Gopalganj on Feb 22nd. Dr. Sarwar’s and Rajul’s visit in Dec 2013 focused mainly on value addition, ethics through games and stories. Their suggestion was to improvise the same with some concrete outcomes. On Feb 22nd, we expect a presence of more than 100 children.

Dadasaheb Tandale: pursued his masters from Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS). He has a special interest in dalit issues and has been working with CARE India in Bihar since 2011. Dada hails from Latur in Maharashtra

Jaspreet Mahal: pursued her masters from Indian Institute of Health Management Research (IIHMR) – Jaipur. She specializes in maternal and child care and is currently working with CARE India since 2011 in Bihar. Jaspreet is a diligent writer and has twice won global awards by CARE for her writings. She can be followed through her blogs at : http://tinystepsoflife.blogspot.in/  Jaspreet also writes for a children magazine. She hails from Ambala in Haryana

Sarwar Khan: Sarwar is a unani doctor and has been associated with CARE India since 2011 in Bihar. He initially worked with the Government but was not satisfied with his contributions. Sarwar has motivated some of his friends and started teaching to kids at Leprosy colony in Saharsa, He hails from Darbhanga in Bihar

Thirumalai Narayanan: Thiru is a physiotherapist and a masters from IIHMR – Jaipur. He works with Pathfinder International and is based at Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh. Thiru left a corporate job and entered into the field of public health. He hails from Vellore in Tamil Nadu

Jaspreet will be the first woman representative at PRAYOG. Around 30-40 girls would be participating in the event. She also plans for separate engagement with girls. I am sure, they would dream to follow her footsteps in future.

New Thinking Trial At Village Level

New Thinking Trial At Village Level

Dr. Sarwar Khan and Pritesh Ranjan Rajul, a teacher interacted with over 100 children of PRAYOG, Gopalganj on December 29th. Both of them very effectively used the platform and created enthusiasm amongst children. Yes, learning can be fun and they demonstrated it!

Please click on the link below to see a 5 minute video:

 

This is what PRAYOG intends to do in the longer run. Children at the hinterlands should get appropriate exposure and what better a platform whereby professionals from various fields interact with these children.

For the past six 6 months, we have been successful in engaging with the children by creating library as a platform. We now want to take this further, whereby:

  • Youth volunteers to steer the cause of rampant low quality of education, particularly amongst the children (6-10 years age) of daily wage earners, landless labourers
  • Designing a curriculum for non-formal education whereby skill based trainings can be imparted to youth
Dr. Sarwar in deep conversation
Rajul, challenging the curious children
Respondents to Dr. Sarwar’s queries!!!
What’s in store in your destiny?
PRAYOG’s youth volunteer, Vijay Kumar showing the books donated to library by Dr. Sarwar
Sania and Alok, in conversation at the midst
The young lot!

Are Schools Necessary?

Are Schools Necessary?

I visit PRAYOG in Gopalganj every month to interact with children, add up the stock of library’s resources, give them tasks to complete. Since June 2013, PRAYOG has been creating ripples in the relationships with the people over there. Now that we are a registered Trust, PRAYOG has selected a youth volunteer – a Change maker who is to manage the day to day activities over there. But before I write about our change maker, I am keen to share an observation of mine and get your feedbacks.

I see that each of PRAYOG’s blogs are read by some more than 100 people on an average. And I feel sad that we do not start a further conversation. Your feedbacks are valuable for us and will help us to shape the future of generation next, who are from rural areas.

During the course of my return from Gopalganj, I usually start at the preset of dawn. This is the hinterland and one can find small pockets of market areas every 8 – 10 kilometres. I cross almost 20-30 such areas during the course of journey and by the time it is day light, life comes to normal here. People carrying ‘lotas’ is a common sight but their numbers have declined tremendously over past few years. But there is something that is a cause of worry for us:

When I first noticed boys and girls riding their bicycles as early as 5 am, I  thought they must be moving on to their schools. But, as my journey continued, I saw another set of children cleaning some centre and arranging desks. Now I realised that they are here for their tuitions! Till 10 a.m, if you travel to the entire stretch from various districts enroute Patna via Gopalganj, Siwan, Chapra and Vaishali or via Gopalganj, East Champaran, Muzaffarpur and Vaishali; you are bound to see hundreds of bicycles outside tuition centres in each market area. This is what I have been seeing since June 2013.

I was not disturbed by this emerging trend of tuition centres till November 24th. After a discussion with them and handing over new books/resources to the library, I asked some 37 students to meet again at our centre on the next morning at 7 am. The students gave me an option that we can meet at 10 am but I refused citing that this would be their school time. Every single child responded that they will leave their school but not their tuition class!

Where is the education system of Bihar moving?

Glimpses Of VIREDU At PRAYOG

Glimpses Of VIREDU At PRAYOG

On November 14th, PRAYOG launched VIREDU (Virtual Education) at Dhibra village in Danapur block of Patna district and 27 students participated in the event. Apart from these, there were some elderly from the village who were curiously looking at the overall process.

Since it was Children’s day, one of the letters of Pandit Nehru was conveyed to them. Everyone then introduced by forming a pair and introducing each other. Their daily routine was also mapped along with their likes and scope of improvement in the education system.

Children above Class V also worked on completing a broken story. Towards the end, it was decided that there shall be a weekend class whereby they will interact with volunteers available online and seek help for all the problems in their studies.

Who shall take the snap?

A clip of alphablocks for kids
Discussion from Germany and India, simultaneously through Google Hangout!
Children’s likes in their education system and scopes of improvement
Gudiya introducing herself
Working on the ‘broken stories’
Paro, sharing her version of the ‘broken story’

Pradeep, discussing the need of VIREDU
All eyes on Live Interaction with fellow villager from Germany!
The gadgets: a laptop, data card (thanks to the TATAs), projector, speakers and an inverter
The multipurpose wall!

Pictures Of Passion

Pictures Of Passion

Children have indispensable hunger to learn ‘creative art’. And one of the 6 students who recently participated in a SPIC MACAY event at Parivartan in Siwan proves the statement.What surmises me is that these children are the real change makers and we need to teach them, expose them to whatever is inaccessible to them. In return, they will constitute a responsible society.

Sanya, a Class VIII student who learnt Madhubani painting (at SPIC MACAY event) is teaching the art to her friends. See the paintings below by her. 

Trial Of VIREDU

Trial Of VIREDU

This is a video shot on Nov.03, 2013 at Dhibra village. We tested the internet connection and fortunately tata photon + worked well. Before the start of VIREDU on November 14th, we wanted to ensure this. Pradeep interacted virtually with children and youth from Germany and everyone was excited to see him live!

Children begin to enjoy: seeing a bald Pradeep, live!
There is a need of a bit of darkness for this projector!
All eyes on Pradeeep
Rakesh interacting with Pradeep for needs of youth like him
The house of VIREDU
VIREDU’s classroom

Launch Of VIREDU

Launch Of VIREDU

Prayog is moving ahead with virtual education (VIREDU). The library initiative in Gopalganj district of Bihar which we started in June 2013 has proved to be an efficient platform for our interaction with the children. The membership has risen to around 150 children in a period of 4 months only.

We tried with virtual education there but due to no/extremely slow internet connectivity, the idea was dropped. Hence came the idea of showing videos to them. And three videos were shown, one about the planet earth by Anupam Anand based in US, second on personal aspirations by Abhishek Kumar based in Mumbai and third on English grammar by Pradeep Kumar based in Germany. The children’s response raised our thirst to show more such motivational/educational videos and respond to their set of questions. The questions showed us their observation skills. Amongst one such questions, a student raised her interest to know more about the universe and everyone requested to show them a video on the universe. They wanted to know what exactly led to the tragic incidence of Kalpana Chawla’s space expedition. And many more!

In the age of internet, these questions are of less relevance to students who have the access. But for those who are in villages, how do they get these answers. They have their questions, but answers are left behind and hence they move on, leaving behind a set of interesting, thought provoking queries.

Prayog aims to be an interface whereby all such queries on languages, science, social science, mathematics, general knowledge, ethics etc be solved. The students in villages should not wait long enough to get their responses.

I am sure many of us have a rural background. For some simple questions, it took almost 10-15 years to know the correct answers while our urban counterparts knew it from the beginning as they had a better access to resources. Eg. one of the students from Prayog, Brijesh Kumar who participated in a recent SPIC MACAY event discovered that he was extremely well in singing. Another student discovered that he was excellent in painting. If we compare their newly found talent, their urban counterparts have art and crafts competitions, singing classes, extra curricular classes to identify the hidden talents at a much younger age.

Prayog is hence starting with VIREDU program at Dhibra village near Patna through internet based platform from November 14th onwards. The Gopalganj initiative will continue through recorded video based educational packages from people like Pradeep, Anupam, Rajeev, Abhishek and many more. And ofcourse, all these sessions will be facilitated by Surya Prakash in actual.

An appeal to all the readers: Support us in whatever way you can. Provide second hand computers, projector etc or donate them. Participate in this initiative through preparing your own teaching videos, donate books, support through minimal financial help. This is just an appeal. If you can’t, no issues. Help in spreading this initiative to your friends.

We can be contacted via e-mail: contact@prayog.org.in