Have you come across a platform where your job profile depends on your practical skill and knowledge and that stands above your academic profile? You have a major in Political Science but your passion is in storytelling and the platform provides you with environment where you pursue storytelling through various creative media that you are interested in and love, ranging from dance, music, theater, filmmaking, painting, body movement, creative writing, journalism, etc? Prayasam is a platform for youth where one can hone their skill and expertise in myriads of streams, creating a nexus to expand the outcomes to one’s community. We create environment where youth are self empowered to bring lifestyle changes by taking onus of their communities. The organization is driven by the famous saying “the wearer only knows where the shoe pinches”. Our youth drive the work through bottom-up approach and are the principal decision makers within the ambit of the administration. When the world may shun and shy away the commonly called “slum youth” as beneficiaries or someone who one should sympathize with, Prayasam mentored them over 24 years and now they are the organization’s Directors, Programme Officers and Project Associates. One has to work closely with this family of professionals to understand its modus operandi which is not only enriching in itself but it makes you see the world with a completely new sensitive lens.
Prayasam currently mentors seven social entrepreneurial initiatives catering to different socio-economic needs of the communities. As a mother organization, Prayasam is nurturing these youth organizations to enable them to function independently in the coming years and thereby expand the domain of its work. Each of these social enterprises have strong replicable and scalable model thus making them universal in their approach and methodology.
Prayasam Visual Basics functions as the Grassroot Film Production Hub while Ontrack is the human resource management institute for the youth from marginalized communities. On one hand, Prasaad Community Kitchen works to provide healthy subsidized nutrition in the communities and on the other hand, Community Visual News Network is the grassroot journalism hub acting for, by and of the communities. There is an Art Space named Kalanjali for youth to pursue creative arts as passion and/or profession; Early Childhood Education model based play school, Sahajpath (Easy Learning) for children as young as 3 to 6 years of age; and there is the Material Bank which provides employment opportunities for youth by recycling and providing clothes, household materials and other necessities at a highly subsidized price.
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Awards & Recognitions
Over the last 24 years, Prayasam’s work has been acknowledged from the grassroot communities of Dakshindari to international network of social entrepreneurs like Ashoka Innovators for the Public. Working with Indian and Norwegian Ministries and UN bodies, Prayasam has always ensured that the community youth are at the centre to spearhead the movement and the decision makers within the organization. Our youth have been duly recognized as Adobe Scholars, Ashoka Youth Venturers to name the few. Prayasam’s endeavour has been featured by Stanford University, partnered by John Hopkins University, awarded by Columbia University and public address by University of Oxford.
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As our Chief Mentor always says “since 8th November 1996 there was never a dull moment”. We started with organizing events in different marginalized communities and brick kilns, followed by projects in rural and urban areas of West Bengal and gradually expanded to leading programmes worldwide. The founding team began the work without even a basic desktop and today Prayasam’s digital storytelling methodology has became an empanelled model with Adobe, Norwegian Ministry of External Affairs, UNICEF, to name few. Opportunities came, opportunities lost, opportunities given up, but the organization never compromised with its ethos and principles.
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Prayasam is a nationally and internationally recognized champion of child rights through alternative education using media. One of our core expertise are capacity building and grooming youth and budding entrepreneurs. We are a partner organization of UNICEF, and have worked with World Vision India, Save the Children, ORFL, Pumpkin Foundation, Window Foundation, among others to train youth in rural and urban settings from diverse socio-economic, cultural and ethnic backgrounds. We specialize in gender orientation and different life and soft skills including self awareness, effective communication, interpersonal relationship, decision making, critical and creative thinking, coping emotions, etc.
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If you would like to know more about how you can collaborate with us, from filmmaking to cuisine to art, click here