- NSS RURAL CAMP 2019
NSS Rural Camp commenced on 10th October 2019, with 43 eager campers, of which 26 were from the Raghabpur campus. The six days camp was held in Magurkhali and Raghabpur villages of Bishnupur I block in South 24 Parganas. During the camp, the campers stayed in the Raghabpur campus of the College. The inauguration ceremony had the august presence of Fr. Patrick Walsh, S.J. Fr. Johnson Padiyara, S.J., Fr. Jothi, S.J along with members of the Panakua and Kulerdari Gram Panchayat.
In his inaugural speech, Fr. Johnson Padiyara welcomed all the students to Raghabpur campus. He encouraged the students to actively participate in the camp which encompassed conducting village surveys and awareness campaign in Magurkhali village in South 24 Parganas. Fr. Walsh reminded the students of the rich legacy of the Jesuit mission in Raghabpur and its adjoining areas. He further motivated the students to make an impact in their and others lives through the camp.
The 43 students undertook extensive household survey in the aforementioned villages which are adopted by the College under Unnat Bharat Abhiyan. During the survey the students were overwhelmed by the warmth and hospitality of the villagers. One of the campers tearfully said, “I am spoilt with choices and luxuries at home still I have never welcomed a stranger at my house, and here the villagers does not even have bear minimum, and they not just welcomed me into their homes with a smile but offered me breakfast as well.” Campers from the city were awed with the greenery around and decided to bring in a dash of green in their urban lives as well. On the other hand they were appalled to witness the plastic pollution and dearth of drinking water in the villages.
Eager to do their bit for the villagers, on 13th October, the campers performed a street play on ‘ill-effects of plastic on our ecosystem’ in Maggurkhali village and on 15th October for the staff and students of Raghabpur St. Paul’s High School. Both the days, there was immense response from the villagers and school children alike. It was encouraging and heartwarming to see the children both in village as well as in the school joining the campers in shouting slogans like ‘Plastic hatao, Prithibi bachao’; ‘Esho Gori Sabuj Prithibi’ and pledging Plastic byabohar korbo na, korbo na’.
Along with the surveys and awareness campaign, the campers were also able to attend the following sessions:
Exploring economic opportunities for self and community – The session was taken by Mr. Amalendu Pal, Director – Asian Institute of Poverty Alleviation. Through this session, the students were made aware how they can create economic opportunities not just for themselves but also for their communities.
Analysis of what is happening in India today, the ideology and philosophy behind today’s India and our way forward – This session was beautifully taken by Fr. Jothi, S.J. who was successful in being a catalyst in enabling the students to think critically of the socio-political situation in India. They were further encouraged to bring about positive change in themselves and the society at large.
Beside these, all the campers were divided into committees which worked together to make the Camp experience fun. The Home Committee worked hand-in-hand to keep the campus clean, the Prayer Committee ensured regular thanksgiving and worship, while the Reporting Committee chronicled the whole days activities and learnings, the Entertainment Committee without fail entertained all the campers every night, and the Food Committee members ensured food was served timely to all the students.
On 15th October, Fr. Principal, Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio, S.J. in his valedictory address congratulated the students for successful participation of the camp and said, “Even though the camp has come to an end but today is the beginning of the change that each of you will experience. The selfless volunteering of countless NSS volunteers have resulted in the birth of the Raghabpur campus”. He appreciated the hard work and dedication of Ms. Cheryl Francis, Director of Social Work & NSS for the meticulous planning and implementation of the camp as well as for contributing towards creating men and women for others. He also congratulated Ms. Sucheta Mukherjee, Coordinator of Social Work & NSS along with the NSS Board members for the success of the camp.
Overall, the camp had a positive impact on the students which helped them to evolve as better and responsible Xaverians.
- Blood Donation Camp
Blood Donation Camps are organized every year wherein on an average 600 to 700 students voluntarily donate blood. Around 100 volunteers across all departments with the help of about 8 to 9 Blood banks manage the event. The donor cards are distributed to those in need who get blood free of cost from the respective hospitals. On 6th August 2019, 601 donors donated blood during the camp.
- Independence Day
NSS volunteers leave no stone unturned when it comes to instilling patriotism among the next generation. Every year, a team of dedicated volunteers brave the rains and reach the adopted villages to celebrate Independence Day with the village children. They organize sessions on the lives of our freedom fighters, drawing competitions and cultural programmes.
- Exposure visit to Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre and Research Institute
The students of Raghabpur campus religiously visit Saroj Gupta Cancer Centre and Research Institute to spend quality time with the terminally ill children. The students decorate the play area with origami, perform songs and dances.
- Daan Utsav
Every year the NSS volunteers celebrate Daan Utsav – the ‘joy of giving’. The volunteers usually celebrate the occasion with underprivileged children, differently abled children, children from adopted villages and elderly residents of old age homes. In 2018, the volunteers celebrated the event in four different places -Loreto Rainbow Home, Oral School for the Deaf Children, at Tollygunj Homes, and in Shalpukur village.
- International Exchange Programme
A group of 12 students from Fordham University collaborated with the NSS for a week long exchange programme starting from 4th January 2019. They attended two important lectures on ‘Caste system and the case of West Bengal’ and ‘Child Rights and the Role of SXC in imparting education to rural students’. These two lectures prepared them for what they were going to experience during the service learning programme. The students spent a day at Nurshidarchowk, an adopted village of College, spent time with the children, went around the village and enjoyed a simple but delicious lunch served on banana leaves. On the way back they got to see the Raghabpur campus. They worked at PremDaan, DayaDaan and Kalighat, homes run by the Missionaries of Charity. They spent half a day at the Leprosy colony at Titagarh as well. On their way back they had a short visit to St. Xavier’s University and spent the evening at St. Joseph’s Home for the Aged. They were taken for an NGO visit to Asansol-BurdwanSeva Kendra (ABSK) where they visited two of their centres – The Adoption centre and the Home for the HIV positive children.
- Sishu Mela 2020
Shishu Mela 2020: Upholding the Rights of the Children
On 16th December 2020, 1086 children (617 girls + 469 boys) from 8 villages and 14 NGOs filled St. Xavier’s College campus on Park Street to participate in the much sought after event – Shishu Mela organised every year by the Department of Social Work & NSS.
This year, with the theme being ‘Child Rights and Child Protection’, the 25th Shishu Mela ensured that apart from the children fulfilling their right to enjoyment, were also made aware about their rights, duties and protection from any form of violence. This awareness was not restricted to children alone, but was meant for all the 352 College students from 18 departments who helped to organise this Mela.
The Principal of the College, Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio, S.J., welcomed everyone present. In his address he stated, “All of you have come to our home and we warmly welcome you. Enjoy yourselves. We want you to study well and the College is open for you always if you want to study further.’’ He appreciated all the students, led by the NSS for their hard work. Fr. Jeyaraj Veluswamy, S.J., Rector, St. Xavier’s College, was the Chief Guest for this occasion. He was extremely happy and motivated the children to make use of this beautiful opportunity. Along with him, Bishop Linus Gomes, aged 99 and who always steals the show, shared with the children as to how he, as a child never got such opportunities. He blessed the gathering and encouraged the children to enjoy themselves.
After the release of balloons concluding the inauguration, the children rushed to the 20 games stalls which were kept ready with games and prizes to be won. Apart from games, they participated in Sports and Art Corner. Special children, especially on wheel chairs, participated in the live stage performances conducted by the students of Xaverian Academy of Dance and Music. Post lunch, all other children put up cultural programmes to showcase their talents.
This year the NSS collaborated with Save the Children and World Vision, two major NGOs who work extensively for Child Rights and Child Protection. The follow up of this Mela would be to conduct awareness campaigns in the adopted villages and for the students of this College. The College is grateful to World Vision, Save the Children, ITC, Godrej Interior – Joka, SJC, Superton Foundation, Ganesh Sharbat and all those who came forward to support this cause.
- International Women’s Day
International Women’s Day was celebrated on 17th March 2019 in collaboration with XADAM and World Vision India. The United Nations recommended theme this year was ‘Balance for Better’. The event included panel discussions on ‘Balanced diet: physical wellness – the need for balanced diet for better living’ and ‘Prioritising mental health – the need to balance mental, emotional and physical for better living’ through which the students were made aware about the importance of prioritising physical and mental well-being. Ms. Aditi Roy, Nutrition Specialist from World Vision India spoke on physical wellness and the need for balanced diet. Ms. Parmeet Soni, college counsellor and clinical psychologist, spoke on the importance of prioritising mental health and how to deal with mental health issues. The theatrical performance put by XADAM challenged the gender biased stereotypes faced by women. The play ended on a positive note stressing on women breaking the patriarchal shackles which are put around them. There were around 200 volunteers from all 18 departments who attended. Joining Fr. Principal, the Vice Principals – Dr. S. Xavier, SJ, Fr. Peter Arockiam, SJ and Dr. Charlotte Simpson Vegas – too wished good luck to all the students present.
- Prayas Camp
Prayas Camp was held from 20th to 22nd 2019 in the College wherein 63 young girls from the Convent of Our Lady of Providence High School were invited to participate in the camp. The camp began with an inauguration led by Rev. Dr. Dominic Savio, SJ, Principal, St. Xavier’s College, along with our Vice Principals who graced the occasion. Beginning with prayer and welcome address, Fr. Principal addressed the campers saying, “Prayas has been the inspiration for many students. It has changed their lives. College students have been able to understand village life and unless we understand the village life, we do not understand India. Prayas Camp has helped foster a relationship between village children and the students of St. Xavier’s College and this relationship continues”. He commended the hard work of the NSS Board members and volunteers.
This was followed by sharing of expectations from one of the campers Shradha Mishra of class X who on behalf of her friends said “On behalf of our school, I would like to express my gratitude to the Prayas Camp. Thank you for trusting us and giving us this golden opportunity to be a part of this camp.. We expect to get a chance to participate in various educational and cultural activities, as well as interact with different people, which will make our lives more interesting….”
35 NSS volunteers prepared and took sessions on various topics such as Peer Pressure, Child Rights and Fundamental Rights, Bullying, Health and Hygiene, lastly Gender Equality. The campers also got an unique opportunity to visit Birla Industrial and Technological Museum, Birla Planetarium wherein they got insightful knowledge on cosmic collision, high voltage electricity, coal mine to name a few. The girls also enjoyed the screening of Moana, through which they were inspired to take up leadership role and contribute meaningfully to the society.
Both the NSS volunteers and the campers had an enriching experience and learning in the Camp.