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

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
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