PRAYOG started with an aim to bring about a sustainable positive change in the social fabric of the rural hinterland of our country, which comprises about 70% of the population. We have been steadfastly working towards this by the means of providing a value based education to children and by empowering the rural youth through handholding and mentorship. When about 40% of the population of India is below the age of 20 years according to the Census Report of 2011, the children and youth are the backbone of this country.
We had a humble beginning when we started a Community Library aiming to create a space for interaction amongst the children and the youth. The idea was to make a commonplace of learning for the children, youth and others in the Bania Chapar village of Gopalganj district. We started with merely 5 members from one village and have grown to a 500 member strong community spread across 12 villages. We have worked actively towards addressing the many challenges in the society of untouchability, caste discrimination, gender inequality, lack of awareness and inaccessibility to basic necessities, an absence of direction and purpose in the youth of the villages of Northern Bihar.
Along with all this, there was also a willingness to dream and to achieve something in life. We provided them with a platform wherein their collective ideas could materialize and take shape in tangible ways. We facilitated them in discovery by the means of regular painting and essay writing events, debates to contrast and understand ideas in order to become socially responsible and inclusive. The kids have banished and eradicated the age old notions of caste system, untouchability and other social stigmas that had been carried forward for generations. The children from all castes now sit together in the classrooms and pursue a common goal. Kids also learn better from their peers so we conduct regular exposure trips for them to interact with kids from other schools in different states. This enhances their understanding and awareness of the world outside.
In the two years after PRAYOG's inception, we have progressed from the traditional methods of teaching to a more engaging and interactive medium - digital methods of teaching. Through this, we have expanded our reach beyond the community library and have collaborated with the Government schools in the vicinity, thereby bringing about a shift in the learning behavior of the students while creating a wider impact. The staff of PRAYOG have also been encouraged and groomed, and many have gone to take up various positions to better their livelihoods. Like this, we at PRAYOG are an organisation that is organically building the change that we want to see rather than a vehicle for propagation.
Needless to say, this is not possible without the help of a number individuals who have immense belief in PRAYOG’s mission and are ever giving in their efforts and resources to create a better future for these young ignited minds. Our story is being scripted by all our partners, staff members, children and community members, and we are still on page one...