This is, perhaps, the largest program running at Prantakatha which reaches out to more than 350 youths every single year. It is a one-year flexible leadership training for youth aged 18-25 with a focus on understanding self, society and leadership skills.The idea behind this program is based upon the notion of a ‘self to society’ journey which allows these youngsters to explore various aspects of their personality by putting them in different scenarios where they have to undertake social action projects in different areas with diver developmental needs. This is a good way of sharpening the un-tempered steel of youthful verve so as to identify exactly how a particular young person would be able to best contribute to social work and social change. This program facilitates a deeper understanding of the self while simultaneously forging a more intimate connection with the society that has produced the self in the first place.
The entire journey of melting pot entails a number of stages. The primary stage is to reach out to different colleges/universities and other spaces which are frequented by the youth. We try to reach out to a broad cross section of the youth because the diversity and heterogeneity of the youngsters makes the journey all the more interesting and enriching. Youth Addas are, then, conducted which allow the youth to interact with each other, former participants of this program, different mentors and so on. There are also occasions where the adda is conducted through a interaction with some noted personality such as the one conducted 2018 where Frannkie Edozien, renowned professor of journalism and famous reporter, came and interacted with our participants. Apart from Youth Addas, there are also activities for group exposure where the youth are shown a film, a play or an artistic performance and so on. These group exposures are also particularly effective when the entire team is taken on a trip together which really forges many new friendships and intimate bonding through the shared journey and activities. The potters went on an exposure trip to Bolpur, Shantiniketan in January, 2019 which was a very memorable experience and left an indelible mark of collectivity and close attachment for all those involved. After these stages of the journey are completed, the Potters are supposed to gradually determine the field of social work and the community of people where they desire to contribute. It is on the basis of their input and our joint deliberation that they are assigned different social action projects at different organisations/ institutions where the youth complete their internships. There are provisions for both in-state internships and out of state rural internships. In the past, our Potters have worked with different organisations within West Bengal like Durbar Mahila Sammanay Samity (an organisation working with the rights and livelihood of sex workers in different red-light areas in Kolkata), Parichita (an organisation working on issues of gender equality), Sanlaap (an organisation which works against human trafficking and fights for child rights) and so on. The out-state rural internships are usually based in remote corners of India where our Potters have to work with the poorest, most deprived and marginalised of people to learn how the nuances of caster-gender-class-sexuality and so on operate in the perpetuation of the marginalisation of entire communities of people. Last year, eight of our potters did their internships at the Gaurav Gramin Mahila Vikas Manch in Bihar which works for the rights and well-being of Dalit women and adolescent girls. This entire journey is a life-changing experience for all those who participate. After completing this program, it is no longer the self-centred lens of the estranged individual which informs the youth but the vibrant and youthful vitality of an individual standing on the tough terrain of social reality that mobilises them towards a future of socially aware action oriented most incisively towards long lasting social change. Funded by DKA Austria.
Masti Ki Pathshala
This is a care and learning centre for the children of migrant construction workers which is run by Prantakatha. There are about 25 children aged 5-19 years enrolled in the program which aims to create a free space which will allow these children the freedom to grow and cultivate themselves on their own terms.
Given the various impediments that pose daily problems for the children- from abuse to homelessness- it is a very difficult and challenging task to help the children not be consumed by the austerity, lack and adversity around them and be free to define and determine the path they would like to pursue in the future. It is our attempt, thus, to create a violence-free safe space with free education and scope for intimate interaction through Masti Ki Pathshala that will allow these children the opportunity to discover who they really are. Funded by Motorola India.
This programme is framed precisely to prevent such an unsung injustice from being perpetrated at the most marginalised of intersections.
This program is primarily led by the youth who try to help, support and re-integrate these senior citizens into the mainstream of society. Funded by people of India
Samvidhan Live – Be a Jagrik
This is a joint venture which aims to create spaces that empower and facilitate the development of the imagination of the youth in terms of their understanding of their position and desired role in society. A keen understanding of one’s individual self is not sufficient to help in the process of social change and direct social action.
There is a dire need for the youth to embrace the nuances of their rights and duties as a citizen to really transform themselves into dynamic and committed individuals sensitive to the needs of the deprived, the anguish of the marginalised and sleeping potential of our nation. The youth can fulfill their own aspirations and social potential only if they are aware
of their position as conscious citizens and the responsibility towards the broader interests of the people of our nation which it entails. An equitable, inclusive and sensitive vision that upholds the ideals of social justice and constitutional values is instrumental in galvanising the youth of India in the task of social change. All of this can be achieved if the youth are
encouraged to think, question and participate with confidence on questions of social and national importance. It is exactly this kind of an ethos that Prantakatha wish to evoke through this program that wishes to create adolescent empowering spaces.
The idea behind Samvidhan Live: The Jagrik Project is to inculcate within the youth the values of the constitution and the inalienable rights of all citizens. This is done through a fun-filled yet sincere game played by the young participants over a course of six weeks. The primary stage is to gradually grasp a concrete understanding of constitutional rights by connecting the economic and social realities of India with the lofty ideals and values of the constitution. This enables the youth to intuitively derive through a deductive process the actual implications of the rights, provisions and values enshrined in the constitution. This makes the essence of the constitution really meaningful to the young participants instead of just being mere words on a page in our Civics textbooks. Over the course of the six weeks, the young Jagriks enhance their understanding of the constitution by preparing a Jagrik report card based on the performance of citizens in their area in keeping alive the constitution. This public initiative is a means through which the youth will be able to experience just how the constitution is being lived in our country on a daily basis with the view to accumulating observations and conclusions that will inform both our youth as well as the legislators, lawyers, administrators and other concerned stakeholders of our country.
This might be able to foster some much needed dialogue between the youth and the state so that both are able to re-visit their position and role in the process of social change. This is but one of the many initiatives that comprise this partnership. However, the basic principle behind all of them is to help our youth become responsible and conscious citizens who are able to connect the collective well-being of society at large with their own at a time when it is fashionable to be self-consumed and distant instead of caring and considerate. Funded by DKA Austria and UNICEF.
This will be a series of talks with stakeholders, communication workshops and culturalperformances by the LGBTQI youth and those supporting their cause promoting human rights for LGBTIQ people. The events will mark important international days and will show solidarity for LGBTIQ community, firm up their network, help them find employment and usher them to mainstream.
Rainbow Talks will enable the larger community to help gender minorities integrate and overcome trauma and fear. This is in continuation of Prantakatha led initiatives for LGBTIQ youth supporting their causeand helping them towards social integration. Funded by US Consulate General in Kolkata.
This initiative is designed to prevent human trafficking and child marriage. This was begun by the West Bengal Police with the active support and participation of community and district administration. Swayangsiddha means self-reliance. The vision is to build networks of aware, alert and pro-active individuals and groups working together to build safe communities to prevent human trafficking and child marriage.The objective of the program is:
To form Swayangsiddha groups with school and college students to develop youth agency.
To build awareness on the ramifications of human trafficking, pitfalls of child marriage, healthy and hygienic practices and care and protection services.
To map and sensitise vulnerable persons and families, ensure people have access to entitlements, social security, food security and livelihood. All of this is to be done in coordination with Panchayats and Child Protection Committees. Supported by CID West Bengal.