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Don Bosco Management Students in Guwahati Help Underprivileged Children in Studies


By Fr. Abhilash
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Guwahati, Mar. 11. Project Prajjwal celebrated its third anniversary of foundation yesterday, 10 March, at Don Bosco Institute of Management (DBIM), Guwahati. The Students of DBIM extend a helping hand to underprivileged children in their studies through this project which brings also a lot of joy and satisfaction to the Management students themselves.
Eight-year old Surjya Bahadur Chetri can now cope better with his studies. ''Ever since I started taking lessons from dada and didi on Sundays, my school studies have become a lot easier. I am now able to complete my homework in time and all school-related assignments with confidence,'' the Class IV student and son of a milk-man, said.

Surjya is not alone. Altogether 119 others, all underprivileged children in around Joypur in Kharghuli, are now enjoying the fruits of all round education at Don Bosco Institute of Management (DBIM), Kharghuli, thanks to Project Prajjwal, which completed three years yesterday.

A constituent unit of Assam Don Bosco University and managed by Don Bosco Institute, DBIM was set up in 2009.
The objective of Prajjwal is to sensitise society on different social issues, there by contributing towards inclusive growth.

Providing education to under-privileged children is part of it, under which, students of the institute take time out of their hectic schedules to impart lessons to children between the age of five and 13 years every Sunday.

''Prajjwal was initiated under the guidance of Fr. V.M. Thomas (founder director of DBI) in 2010 with five MBA students teaching 20 children. Now, 35 students impart lessons to 120 children every Sunday,' said Bikash Gogoi, co-founder of Prajjwal and an assistant professor at the institute.

''These children are enrolled in schools at Joypur. But they are deprived of quality teaching and extra coaching. So, it is here that we try to help them out on Sundays. We have seen a marked improvement in their confidence levels and an improvement in their academic performance. We also provide them with refreshments once the session gets over.' Gogoi said.

The sessions start at 9.30 am with a rendition of the state anthem, O Mor Apunar Dex and end with classes at 11.30 am.
Tests, art, song, dance competitions, poetry, role play, speech, memory tests, out-door games, et al, are held from time to time to provide all round education and develop their latent shills.

A survey done by the institute in 2010 found most school children of the area were from low-income-group families and lacked quality education in their respective schools. Their parents could not afford tuition fees.bThe students approached the parents and asked them to send their wards for the session on Sundays.

Already, the classes taken by the B-school students are making a different to the approach of these children.
Eleven year old Navanita Das is now a bundle of confidence.
''I have been taking part in various competitions held at the institute. I am happy to say that I have no stage fright now,' she said.

Sweety Mathew, a second year MBA student at the institute, said: ''Despite our hectic schedule, I can't tell you the amount of joy we get when we teach these little kids. They address me as didi and I try my best to help solve their school-related problems on Sundays. I smile along with them. It makes me happy.''

Yesterday, the third year of the project was celebrated as Prajjwal Divas at a function in Don Bosco Institute.
''These talented children have performed so brilliantly on stage. They only need opportunities and appreciation. We here at the institute are working towards an inclusive society, empowering the poor with quality teaching.'' Fr. Thomas, who is also the chairman of Don Bosco Society, said after lighting the ceremonial lamp at the function.

Martin Kasper, president, Child aid Network Foundation, Germany, Fr. Johnson Parackal, executive director DBI, and Fr. Abhilash V.J. associate director, DBI, among other dignitaries were present. A cultural evening was held on the occasion.
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