Our 3rd interview was with a group of student crusaders who belong to NIT, Hamirpur. Their group is called The Literacy Mission and they hold their annual cultural fundraising event under the name of PRAYAS which in English means "to help and to strive for change in society". So here we present before you our interview with the whole team of The Literacy Mission.
The Literacy Mission Team
- Why Prayas? Why did the idea of forming an organisation like Literacy Mission came into your mind in the first place?
Well...initially there was no such idea. But back in 2004, while some of the college students were going to library, some of the kids approached them and asked certain doubts they had about how the things actually work in this big world. The students were astonished to hear such a question from kids, that too belonging to families who hardly cared about how the Earth rotates or why do the stars twinkle. At that point they experienced that these kids too have zeal to learn and grow and all they need is a little bit of guidance, care and love. This was what you can call THE START or the INITIAL PHASE of The Literacy Mission. As time passed on, the efforts of a few students turned into a big organisation and people began to recognize that someone should help and facilitate them. And the rest as they call it, is history.
- In such a kind of venture or such a kind of social activity, there is always some kind of struggle and criticism involved? How were you (The Literacy Mission members) able to overcome it?
As the saying goes "NO PAIN , NO GAIN", we too had to face certain difficulties and obstacles in our path so as at to achieve what we wanted to achieve. Although we didn't face any criticism but at the initial stage we had to struggle a bit for our existence, moreover it was difficult to reach out to so many families of the underprivileged and to convince them that education is one of the biggest necessities of life. And that they should provide this basic necessity to their children. Many a times we had to face financial hitches but with the never ending support of our college authorities and students and lets not forget the hard work and dedication put in by the Literacy Mission volunteers, all the difficulties were left behind and the going was smoother.
The Literacy Mission Volunteers
- Over the past few years, you have shown your full commitment and dedication to the organisation. But has this hard work been both sided? Are the kids also working hard and what are the achievements you have got in this field?
Yes, we can assure you that the kids too are working real hard to achieve their goals. Whatever has been achieved till date is only because of the commitment and willingness of the kids to do something substantial in their lives. Also let us make it clear that those kids who couldn't make it to JNV or couldn't achieve anything exceptional, too are working with equal sincerity to excel in their regular class work and to secure better marks in their school examinations. But since you asked for our achievements, here are a few notable mentions:
- Joshi Sureen, a student hailing from the underprivileged society cracked AIEEE'09 and is presently a student of Bio-Informatics Engineering at MANIT, Bhopal.
- Another student, Mr. Bhupendra has cleared Air Force exam
- Two students, Ritu and Pankaj have successfully completed their diploma with Ritu securing the first rank at her ITI college.
- Chandan, another of our students, secured 86.4% in his Class 10th Board examinations.
- Lalita topped class 5th Regional Board examinations with 95.5% (HIGHEST among the eight schools of the district)
- All children have been made computer literate and are being regularly taught the basics of computer communications.
- Literacy Mission also provides medical aid to kids who are in need. A kid, Prince, successfully underwent a cardiac surgery at Escort Hospital, New Delhi with the kind support of The Rotary Club, Hamirpur. Another 4 year old girl named Arpita had been suffering from multiple cysts in her kidney, she got operated at PGIMER, Chandigarh.
- Seeing the tremendous performsnce, some of our bright students are admitted to a private school, Gurukul Public School, Hamirpur.
A Literacy Mission student receiving a prize during the Children's Day celebrations.
- Apart from organizing Prayas, what other activities and events does The Literacy Mission organizes?
In addition to that, we arrange Health Camps for kids with support of local medical authorities and their parents. We collect old clothes from the faculty and college students and distribute them among the families residing in Basti. We also pay regular visits to Basti so as to motivate families to send their kids to school and to look after them.
- Talking in general terms, how can organisations like yours help underprivileged kids in the long run?
- Last but not the least, what measures do you suggest to bring a solid change in the society and not a fluid form of change?