PRAYAS - The Fruit Bearing Tree
Prayas is an effort aimed at bringing about the complete overall
development of the students, both in the college and in the
villages. Prayas has proved to be a very successful venture and is
no longer just a project - it is a movement! The primary objective
of this movement is to provide continuous support and assistance to
the less fortunate children, both academically and materially, and
thereby part of the larger attempt to achieve 100% literacy by 2015.
This ongoing project was initiated by Rev. Fr. Dr. J. Felix Raj, SJ
Principal, St. Xavier's College (Autonomous), Kolkata, in January
2006. He firmly believes that, "If colleges and villages meet, there
will be a knowledge revolution.” This simple effort has
metamorphosed into a complete movement, and continues to bridge the
socio-economic gap between the college and the village adopted by
Prayas Camp 2015
19th to 22nd June 2015
theme for the Prayas (village-to college camp, held recently, was 'Ashim
Aakashe Agono Kiron'. Held at the College campus from 19th to 22nd
June and organized by the NSS, it hosted about 60 rural students of
classes XI-XII of Raghabpur St Paul's Higher Secondary School.
Fr Felix Raj, SXC principal, said: "Our sole aim was to speak
from our hearts. We wanted to reach out to the rural students and we
have been successful. St Xavier's College Raghabpur Campus is the
fruit of this Prayas".
Amit Chatterjee, the headmaster of Raghabpur St Paul's HS School
thanked Felix Raj for the initiative.
Our thanks to Ma’am Cheryl Francis and her NSS team.
Read Prayas Camp 2015 report...
The pedagogy of Prayas works on Three Stages.
The college along with its Management, Faculty and Family is the
'temple of wisdom'. The village along with its administration,
village partners and family is the 'temple of prosperity'. Stage One
is the Planning stage.
A collaboration of both leads to the second stage which is the
implementation stage. Here the the college students go to the
villages and work with the children. They conduct classes and
extracurricular activities, surveys, camps etc. They also provide
financial assistance to the very needy children to continue their
education. Twice a year the village children are brought to the
college. They are taken for city tours, college campus tour, etc.
College students conduct educational sessions, sports and other
activities for the children.
Students of St. Xavier's college
contribute Rs. 1 per day to support the education of these village
children. This collection is sent every month to 7 villages of
Bengal: Devipur, Gurap, Jhantipahari, Mirga, Salpukur, Bolorampur
and Ghostomat. More than 1000 children have benefited from this
project in the last 5 years. “The children learn a lot. It is very
useful for them, especially English. They do not learn so much in
their village schools”, said Mrs.Uma Majhi, the village animator.
The third stage is the outcome of the Prayas. College students and
the village children, both benefit from this project. As the college
and village come together there is an overall development of both.
On one hand this project helps college students in discovering the
true India, in being more aware of the harsh realities and in
transforming their outlooks. For every student it is a challenge to
study better and develop a sense of service. On the other hand the
village students are given an exposure to wider realities and
motivation to continue their education. The village undergoes a
transformation and there is growth in literacy. It is the progress
of this project that makes one believe that someday, every child
from a village would go to college and if every college reaches out
to at least one village then the millennium goal of 100 percent
literacy by 2015 can become a reality. The Prayas project is not
demanding in its nature, yet it is effective. It does not cruelly
pinch the pocket of a student, yet it has helped to improve the
lives of a thousand other children. Prayas has not simply
illustrated a cause left to be fulfilled by the richer sections of
society, it has changed the mindset of a thousand college students,
who work together to bring about the change - a knowledge