Our Prayasam has just stepped into adulthood. Since the year 1996 8th November when Prayasam started functioning at the 2nd floor of Salt Lake CG-65, this organization through their innovative work had been able to make everyone realize that despite being in the midst of typical surrounding, their work process is somewhere down the lane quite different from others. And 19 years since then we have been able to sustain this “different” kind of our work. Those who have been associated with Prayasam savour or have been savouring the experience of this “different” kind of work- whether they are directly or indirectly associated with us. The blending of personal feelings with professionalism is a rare occasion. Our biggest treasure in these 19years are the partners with whom we work- mainly children and youth- their undeterred or adamantine faith in our “different” kind of work process and thinking/mentality. Henceforth Mentoring is an integral part of our work. Everyone needs an inspiration in their life. When we get stuck in any work or phase of life, when we become directionless, it is that inspiration which comes to rescue. The way our Dada is mentoring other Dada-Didis of Prayasam, they in turn continue to inspire us. When we become the senior members of our group then we start mentoring our junior fellows. And this process has continued to flow years after years. So Prayasam is no longer just a mere organization but has emerged as a philosophy. Whereby more emphasis is placed on the mentality and outlook than simply on the work itself which is why the biggest work of Prayasam in these 19 years has been the starting of Ontrack, Grassroot Human Management Institute, for its partners. Where the members are oriented in matters ranging from rights to gender to soft or life skill. Where the members find their identity-where they find confidence. And it is on the basis of this newly found confidence that Prayasam started the Community Excellence Award, Pronaam.
Vision & Mission
To organise and develop the children of slum areas as empowered change agents by forming groups and sustainable advocacy on health education, environment and livelihood within their community.
The vision of a couple of committed individuals germinated in the slums of Kolkata in 1996 and led to the creation of Prayasam, an organisation which today reaches out to a million children. With 19 years of experience working with children from both mainstream and marginalized communities, Prayasam has established itself as a regional expert in child rights, particularly the right to participation. Our work stems from the conviction that children possess the potential to transform their local communities by assuming the role of change agents. Through interactive workshops and trainings we are mobilizing group formation with children in diverse, neglected pockets of West Bengal, ranging from slums in the heart of Kolkata to peripheral brick kilns in the city’s outskirts.
Our biggest achievement is the trust which our people of the community have on us. Years after years children from different areas, lanes and sub-lanes come and work together- the fact that we can work without giving any heed to religion, caste, creed or political affiliation, we are immensely grateful to everyone, especially to our local authorities. Now that we have got you all amongst us, we will show-off. Because it is only before the beloved ones that we open our achievement story-box. For instance we would like to share with you all that our Dada is an entrepreneur, whose main job is to create initiative and include different people within the ambit of this initiative so that everyone can experience the impact of that initiative. In simple words, Dada alone does not enjoy the profit of the effort he employs rather all those who are associated with the initiative are entitled to it. That’s why we are Partners of Prayasam. Therefore in Prayasam there is no charity or help-Prayasam has created a platform comprising you where as per your skills, you lead the life your own and of many others. And many renowned entrepreneurs across the nation and the world have welcomed our various initiatives.
The main mantra of our Prayasam is whatever we are getting instead of hoarding it to oneself, disseminate those amongst other people. People from different colleges and universities across the nation and globe, who come to work with us, we let them know at the very first place that Prayasam likes to work with those who have forever been stigmatized as unwanted. It trusts those whose trustworthiness is questioned by majority. Personal grooming takes place of each and everyone, ever since they come to Prayasam. Amongst the numerous work of Prayasam, one is developing the skill of multi-tasking. For this they are sent and given exposure in various eminent training institutes. We are often taken to several art galleries, music conference to develop our aesthetic sense. Even in the midst of hoards of work, there is provision for special study leave. Every month books are bought for our Magajastro-a separate time is allotted for discussing on this matter. We also have special time to watch cinema and do discussions on those. We also have adda session for debate on the recent and “hot” news in paper. And henceforth our prime work is to develop the skill to keep patience to have faith in the determination of people, which is getting lost from the world now-a-days. We should only have strong zeal to work. And we need to keep providing proper nourishment to the inner talent of every person to enable it to grow.
THE THINGS THAT WE ALWAYS KEEP IN MIND IN OUR PRAYASAM !
We not I- In every work we do, it is Prayasam and not any individual self who comes to the limelight.
Selection not election – Yes the uniqueness of Prayasam since its inception is- giving due importance to
Have to earn it, nothing is automatic- In Prayasam we get recognition for our by evaluating the quality of our
work. Just because I am senior so I will have to get it, that idea is completely absent
Partners not beneficiaries – The children of our community are our partners, they are never just the recipient .
Colleague not staff – In Prayasam’s platform everyone is colleague not staff
Mentor not boss – We have no boss rather we are mentored by our seniors
24 X 7 not 9am to 5pm- Prayasam is in our mind and soul for 7days 24hours
Family not group – Prayasam is like a joint family where everyone has the mentality to take the family ahead
Dialogue not quarrel – In case of any misunderstand instead of giving orders we discuss the matter
Window not door- When everyone looses hope on anything, we start the work taking that matter, whatever
stage it may be in. Hence we always welcome with open heart
Interpersonal communication skill is our mainstay. The people of the community can easily speak to us
without any hesitation.
To Support and guide others in the group rather one’s own success. Our members are more concern about
what will be positive or better for the group rather than thinking about their individual ends or benefits.
To be cool headed when the situation is adverse.
Say “NO”, when it is required
We remember those who do anything selflessly for us. And we are never hesitant to do anything for them in
Just as we never stop breathing, Prayasam is linked to our life 365 days 24 hours That’s why for us
Prayasam is not an NGO, it’s a platform where there is no “ours” and “theirs” discrimination or any
biasness between elder and young.
Piyali has so many weird but true stories, she could write a book. She devoted her time guiding mainstream children so that they could overcome their apathy for school education. A favourite teacher, Piyali decided to join Prayasam in the year 2001 and made her presence felt in the organization by convincing the bureaucrats and corporations to become more sincere and patient while they are dealing with children’s issues. Piyali has an absolute commitment to truth, beauty and fun. Piyali is now a member of the Parliamentary Advisory Group powered by Johns Hopkins University and Global Health Strategies.
director, social media
His baritone voice and ever smiling face gives his colleagues the energy to perform better. Saptarshi has the capacity to befriend everyone under the sun. Undoubtedly he is touted as Mr. Popular in Prayasam. As a Lead Adobe Educator, he is mentoring the technical Basics of our Visual Story-tellers. Regardless how vague a topic might relate to information technology, you can bet his interest will be tickled. As Prayasam's Ops Ninja, he ensures that our IT infrastructure keeps running as smooth as silk. He is the Bob Hope of Prayasam, as without him the anchoring of Prayasam’s Community Excellence Award will be less colourful and so he is the winner of the: Most-Efficient-Multitasker-who-never-gets-Hassled Award.
He creates order and makes sure that twisted numbers are detected. Not only is he juggling numbers working in his cubicle, but also supports the team with any other admin task. With his calm and structured nature he backs up the team while it is busy developing field strategies or event planning. It is no surprise that his nickname in Prayasam is Dependable Debasis. He is also a self taught graphic composer. His compositions bring magic to every document - whether it’s the vibrant Annual Activity Reports or other communication materials. In between Tally and ledgers, he supervises the building of our new office floor.
aka The Banana Man
Senior Programme Officer, Communications
When he isn’t bullying his colleagues or raising his eyebrows, Prasanta likes to laugh the loudest. He facilitates classroom sessions and organized exposure trips for school and community students. In June 2004 he represented India in the International Youth Conference held in Kansas City, USA. In the office his nickname is “Banana Man” after he gorged 18 bananas straightaway in one of our retreats! He is a man of many talents and is universally acknowledged as one of the most resourceful persons in our office. He listens exclusively to romantic songs and often will repeat the same few songs for days at a time.
Senior Programme Officer, Finance
She has the gift of speaking at the rate of 400 words per minute while still being perfectly understandable. She tried her hand at everything: from working with the homeless community and sensitizing them about their rights to adolescent HIV-AIDS counseling. But she was still unsettled, so she went on a search for the perfect fit - and found Prayasam. She won the Best Story about an Urban Poor Initiative (Community mapping in Kolkata) in the Women Aloud Video blogging for Empowerment, an initiative by the MacArthur Foundation.
Senior Programme Officer, Documentation
Today she's one of our process documentors creating electronic masterpieces not minor to Pushkin, Tolstoy and Checkhov's. She also holds the record for being the shortest person in the office. Very often Mili appears on top of candidate wish lists. Be it for any executive job, joining strategic boards or coaching young entrepreneurs. Mili is our powerhouse and operational wonder woman. Before she started Prayasam, she was chosen as a candidate to join the Teach India Movement.
Junior Programme Officer, M&E
If there's an obscure story, person, or fact to be found, Sudipa can find it. She believes in finding the un-findable! She began her career in Prayasam. Sudipa is a trooper. When she starts a project she sees it through to the finish, and doesn’t stop until it is done. Prayasam has nicknamed her “drama queen” as from Slam Poetry to Street Theatre she trains the children and youth with élan. She is a girl with many talents. Sudipa can act, dance, sing, draw and efficiently convince a community to change their unhealthy practices to a better one.
Secretary & Founder Director.
Don’t let his youngish appearance fool you, Amlan’s creative Kung Fu surpasses that of many elders of the trade with ease! Be it designing or planning, setting up replicable project infrastructures or simply giving easy-to-understand artistic support, it all seems to come natural to HIM. He heads the family and will make sure that all of our partners’ wishes become a reality! He believes that our imaginations can change the world. In 1996, Amlan created Prayasam for the purpose of allowing children to participate in the decisions and factors that affect their lives. A perfect blend of creativity and sheer dynamism, he has the ability to enthuse one and all at Prayasam. A sharp and creative mind combined with a vast management experience in the development sector make him your guide for all strategic decisions.
Committed to Equality
Diversity is one of our core values which are at the heart of everything we do. A diverse workforce with the right knowledge and skills enables connection with our constituents, brings pioneering ideas, energy and innovation. Prayasam people is characterised by its rich diversity of cultures and opinions and we aim to sustain and build on this strength. As such, Prayasam seeks to ensure that everyone is treated with respect and given equal opportunities and works in an inclusive environment. Prayasam encourages all to apply for volunteering regardless of their racial, ethnic, religious and cultural background, gender, sexual orientation or disabilities.