GUWAHATI — What started off as outreach programme by some students of Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) seven months ago, as evening coaching classes for 10 high school students from Azara Gaon village, to day the project has more than 130 students spread out from classes 7 to 10.
Christened SWASTYAYAN (commitment), the project, started by ADBU’s School of Social Sciences, Department of Social Work, was initiated to extend support and motivation among the children of communities in Azara Gaon Panchayat.
“It mainly aimed at providing them with tutorials in subjects like Mathematics, Science, Social Sciences and English, besides taking care of their growth and developmental needs as adolescents in a climate of rapidly changing and often hostile environment,” says project coordinator Mr Victor Nazary of MSW department.
He adds, “Apart from academic inputs, the neighbourhood students were taken through a series of sessions on goal setting, time management, life-skill development, spoken English tutorials, recreation, games and sports that were intended to enthuse and enhance their overall personality and self-esteem.”
The outstanding element of the programme has been the whole-hearted involvement of ADBU student communities of both Schools of Technology and Social Sciences.
Though it has been initiated and successfully run by the students of the Social Work Department, over a hundred students from the School of Technology participated as volunteers to teach, motivate, encourage and inspire the children from the neighbourhood.
Home-visits carried out in the communities, by the students of social work, have revealed peoples’ appreciation, gratitude and goodwill towards the programme, volunteers and the University.
The Swastyayan team conducted the Annual Day Programme, 26th November 2013, to acknowledge and appreciate the dedication and efforts of the volunteers, on the one hand, and to gesture to the children and their parents that they’ll need to continue the good work with seriousness and dedication while preparing for their examinations in the coming days.
A pet project of ADBU Vice Chancellor Fr. (Dr.) Stephan Mavely, it all started last February with four MSW students, namely, Ms. Esalanmidaka Lyngdoh, Ms. Stephanie Nongkynrih, Ms. Habadei Kharsati and Ms. Veronica Nriame, facilitated by their Fieldwork Supervisor, Mr. Narzary.
After an exploratory study to access the perception of ADBU students and faculty in undertaking a social commitment programme in the community the organizers initially got 30 participants to volunteer.
An ADBU team consisting of MSW Director Dr. Riju Sharma, Project Coordinator Mr. Narzary, and four student volunteers visited community elders, Para Secretaries and the Sarkari Gaonburha, Mr. Sarat Chandra Das and discussed the proposed intervention and invited their views on it.
The student volunteers proceeded on a door to door survey in four localities of Azara Panchayat to collect names and details of class 9 and 10 students willing to join the free tutorial.
In keeping up with its commitment to eradicate social evil of high school dropouts in the neighbourhood, ADBU extended its state-of-the-art classrooms for the tutorial.
While several personality development sessions, recreational programmes and competitions were conducted to bolster the students’ growth and development, the volunteers had motivational and tutorial skilling sessions.
Recent home visits conducted reveal that the children, parents and community people are “highly satisfied by the service provided by the university through Swastyayan.”
Some of the parents suggested that “if the students could be taught English well, they could do well in other subjects too.”
Besides opening up the tutorial to accommodate more students in January, ADBU plans to hold a crash-course for HSLCE Candidates as immediate preparation for public exams.