Our Mission & Vision
Prayasam’s mission is to create environment where youth can be self empowered, capacitated with knowledge and skills to bring lifestyle changes in their own communities through leadership and onus.
Our vision is to create self sustaining communities, where the youth will be the spokesperson for their own community issues, driving changes and bringing in customized solutions in the best interest of their communities.
Amlan Kusum Ganguly, an Ashoka and Ford Fellow for his signature concept of “Child Area Health Minders” began the concept of Prayasam with the intention to enable children and youth participate in decisions and factors that affect their lives. Under his leadership, Prayasam has emerged as expert and trailblazer in child rights. A Tedx and Skoll World speaker, Amlan is best known for his use of popular media to engaged and educate children and youth in interactive and problem posing approach. Self taught choreographer and fashion designer, Amlan incorporates both contemporary and traditional art forms in Prayasam’s alternative education model. Selected as the public health leader by Stanford University, his philosophy and work was profiled in the docu-feature The Revolutionary Optimists, produced by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and ITVS. Amlan has made mentorship a hallmark at Prayasam, which has become a platform for introducing young people of diverse backgrounds to the development sector.
Partners in Progress
Prayasam can see its impact on the communities through the young leaders it has inspired. Putting young people in charge is one of the key principles of Prayasam as we believe that when young people lead, it magical. Amlan’s mentees are now branching out with their own social entrepreneurial initiatives inspired by his concepts. Prayasam has always envisioned making the youth independent – socially, economically and emotionally. And our youth partners have become torchbearers of our movement to break through the classist approach of the society at large which discriminates the so called “privileged” from the “underprivileged”. If you want to know the inspiring journey of these young Daredevils, click here
The culture at Prayasam makes it a family of professionals. Owing to the change in our employment policy in 2015, Prayasam only hires youth from the communities mentored by the organization over the years and thus 95% of our administrative colleagues are from different communities.
Amlan Kusum Ganguly, Founder Director
Saptarshi Ray , Director
Debasis Raha, Director
Prasanta Roy, Director
Mili Roy, Director
Manish Chowdhury, Senior Programme Officer
Sujit Dutta, Senior Programme Officer
Ateswar Mondal, Senior Programme Officer
Gopal Roy, Senior Programme Officer
Avijit Marjit, Senior Programme Officer
Aman Kumar Mukhiya, Senior Programme Officer
Rupa Biswas, Junior Programme Officer
Sujan Mondal, Junior Programme Officer
Manju Roy, Junior Programme Associate
Ripan Chowdhury, Junior Programme Associate
Mitali Sardar, Junior Programme Associate
Sangeeta Das, Junior Programme Associate
Jayoshree Roy, Junior Programme Associate
The Revolutionary Optimists
Amlan Kusum Ganguly, the Founder Director and Secretary of Prayasam was selected as the public health leader to be profiled in Stanford University directed docu-feature, The Revolutionary Optimists. Spanning over 6 years, the film followed Amlan’s mentoring process in Prayasam, creating self empowering environment for youth from underserved communities of Kolkata to become change agents. The film won Hilton Sustainability Award at Sundance Film Festival and Audience Choice Award at Take One Action Festival and had world premiere in 2012 at International Film Festival in India. Broadcasted in nine countries in five languages – Bangladesh, Kenya, Jordan, Peru to name the few, screened at Harvard University, UCLA, USAID, UNICEF, UN Foundation, Skoll Word Forum, Adobe Headquarters, etc, and featured at New York Times, Huffington Post, Seattle Times, Los Angeles Times, GOOD magazine, Fortune, and ITVS’s Women of the World Program. The Revolutionary Optimists has been acknowledged as the “vision to end extreme poverty in the world in next 20 years”, as said by USAID Deputy Administrator Donald Steinberg.
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.
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.
Media has always acted as a strong support agent of Prayasam’s endeavour for more than two decades. National and international media has hailed and highly appreciate our work, catalyzing the minds of common people to believe that alternative development work is possible without any show of poverty.