What We Do
The high rates of urbanization amidst stagnating economies and poor governance have created a new face of abject poverty concentrated in over-crowded slum settlements in India’s major cities. Emerging evidence demonstrates that poor residents in Indian cities often experience worse health vulnerabilities than the rural residents. Analysis of the major causes of poor health outcomes among the urban poor suggests that effective programs need to simultaneously address: issues of access, availability, and affordability of health services; environmental sanitation; improvement of personal hygiene; and livelihoods.One of the key lessons that we have learnt from our past experiences is that best practices derived from rural experiments cannot be transplanted to poor urban settlements since these populations have different epidemiological profiles; rely on multiple, weak, and often informal medical services; have weak community solidarity; and are subject to social and legal isolation due to the fact that they live in “informal or illegal” settlements. Successful programs in addressing urban health vulnerabilities should have a long-term perspective, establish strong partnership with the local communities and local government officials, and adopt a multi-sector approach aimed at improving various aspects of people’s lives.
We never thought that we will ever be awarded for the work we do in our community. Prayasam’s initiative-Pronaam- brought that opportunity to us. Last 3 years 31st December marks the final evaluation of our community work done throughout the year. Taking into consideration the indicators for the 12aspects of our work, every month on a regular basis evaluation result is prepared. From Best Child Friendly Community to Community Library, Community Reporting to Area Health Minders Team- Pronaam keeps track of all. The only objective is to make our community eye-catching. It is only we who can do it. And the way we see different award ceremonies on television, we too prepare ourselves in different performances for Pronaam.
12 communities Rishi Aurobindo Colony, 2No. Neheru Colony, Saroj Mukherjee Colony, Sadhana Colony, Mahisbathan, Nazrulpally, Udayanpally, Duttabad, Basanti Devi Colony, Krishnapur and Shantinagar-from morning to dusk the children who are members of the group functioned by Prayasam- Ekjot-Nirmaan- are engaged in variety of community work. While one group is busy developing their community map few others are engaged in teaching their juniors- health awareness advocacy is conducted from community to community- the members are conscious of the fact that wearing shoes or washing hands properly before eating anything or trimming nails regularly will keep them safe from otherwise deadly diseases. Advocacy using puppets to comics, role play, poster slogans- all are developed round the year. In some community Duo Ranir Sanghsar (Material Bank) is stalled using the old but usable apparel whereas in another community Sports for All is organized. The girls’ chess team is head-to-head with boys’ zumba group. Ekjot-Nirmaan Library is functioning in every community. Be it Education Camp or disseminating information through chariot or observing special days or using mobile technology to map their community in Google Maps-they are skilled in all. Things doesn’t stop here-everyday they do different kinds of work on computer. And in the Ontrack class there is lot of interest to learn English besides other matters. And now the children and youth are making films to make their communities aware of the various problems and solutions of their own and showing the community residents through films that Another ‘World’ is possible.
Mashkabari is an essential part of the normal functioning of any Bengali family. Simply put, mashkabari is what one may refer to as the monthly shopping for household necessities. The list of 30services which Prayasam offers to its partners throughout the month is termed as Mashkabari.
Ontrack (Lifeskill/ soft skill session), Visual Basics (film viewing and discussion, film making and community screening and discussion), Technology (Computer hardware and software class), Social Media (Comics, Role play, poster slogan, etc), Rights (Child Rights session), Charpaas (Environment Conservation training), Equal (Gender session), Performing Arts Studio (Dance, drama, drawing and craft class), Talk Jhal Misti (Storytelling session), Khela (Sports session), Let’s Go (City exposure), Community Calling (Community work training), Vocational Training (Beautician, housekeeping, etc career counseling training), Adda (Conservation on various topics), Pushti (Nutrition workshop), Duo Ranir Sanghsar (From low cost apparel to shoes), Magajastro (Library), Sahajpath (School preparedness platform for toddlers), Counseling (Discussing personal problems), Rannaghar (Culinary class) Porar Ghar (Study space), Map Your World (Using Skype to share the work with children in other countries), Coaching (tutorial for Nirmaan of class X and XII), Tabiyat (Discussion and training on health related issues), Fashion (Smartness and personal hygiene workshop), News Views (Newspaper reading), Lending Library (Music CD and magazine lending library), Harir Khabar (wall magazine on community work), Eventually (Event organizing in the community and outside) and Ekjot-Nirmaan (Training on group building and functioning)
This Mashkabari is for those members of the community who are presently associated with Prayasam or will be associating in future. Those of you who still have trouble in understanding what exactly is Mashkabari, kindly contact to our Social Media Director, Saptarshi; he can share with you the advertisements which we have created on each of the services.
To understand the pulse of how genuine is our passion for work is, we started Pubali. Every member of the group keeps one rupee in their Pubali box everyday against the 30services which Prayasam brings to its partners on 30days of the month, which is popularly known as Mashkabari. This creates a sense of responsibility for both the sides-and it is extremely essential to properly carry forward any kind of work. This sense of responsibility is moving us ahead towards a new identity. Various media coverage at different point of time, The Revolutionary Optimists and our friends have enabled us to widen our scope of work around the world. That’s why as we step into adulthood, our work and responsibility increases manifold. In regard to this enormity of work, Prayasam’s Nirmaan is functioning 24hours. And it is this Nirmaan who run Prayasam when we are busy conducting trainings at state, national or international level. Be it through Meena Manch of West Bengal Board of Madrasah Education or lifeskill training of the partners of Slum Development Institute in Cape Town, we are just a call away. We often hear stories from Dada about how Prayasam conducted training workshops to the teachers of child education center in the remotest part of Purulia. Be it Theater Of the Oppressed, Gender and Rights Orientation or film making or puppet making, our “mind moulding” workforce is always on their foot.
From paper megaphone to comics, we conduct our awareness advocacy through various mediums-sometimes through role play while at times with puppet. In order to ensure that we can imbibe all the mediums properly, trainings are conducted on a regular basis. Besides we are making films on different positive and problematic aspects of our community.
Prayasam has trained us to believe that if we aspire then we can make the surrounding our product and it is the lack of same aspiration that can make us the product of the surrounding. Prayasam is an ideal platform to forge ourselves. The positivity is people across the globe have been inspired by Prayasam’s thought process and are creating numerous more platforms like Prayasam. And that is why Prayasam has received acknowledgment from Johannesburg to Jodhpur. Hence more and more people, who are young at heart, are required to handle the process of work-who will be active- who will open more avenues of optimism. For this reason those of you who chatted with us, try to understand the core values of our mentality and you too can join in our enormous workforce. Just as we have to breathe every second, Prayasam is kindred with our lives for 365days 24hours.
Those of you who have spent so much time with us giving “adda” on this page, can watch the docu feature made on Prayasam’s process of work by Stanford University for six years named “The Revolutionary Optimists”; you can visit Netflex or contact our Social Media Director, Saptarshi (firstname.lastname@example.org), for further information.