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 PRAYAS : An Effort

Tête à Tête
with Rev. Fr. Dr. J. Felix Raj, SJ

The inspiration behind the movement



  1. Father, what does Prayas mean to you?
    Prayas is an effort to take college to village and bring village to college. I envisage a cordial meeting between these two. This meeting will generate growth and quality among both college students and village children. If colleges and villages meet, there will be a knowledge revolution leading to total development. And this is what I hope for.

  2. What was your main objective behind this effort?
    In a country where you have large percentage of dropouts, where gross enrolment in higher education is 12 to 15 percent, we need to promote access and opportunity for education. The system is such that children are coming to school. Now the school needs to go to the children and meet them in their homes. Colleges are centres of higher education, centres of knowledge and villages are centres of prosperity and meeting of the two will help the country to grow. Prayas is thought of in the context of our country.

  3. How did you determine the general attitude of students while you proposed the programme?
    Students and colleges like St. Xavier's are generous and open to projects like this because such projects challenge the students and make their learning more meaningful. Every college student whether rich or poor, is part of the large Indian
    family. So his/her formation must be contextual. The purpose of his/her education must be collective. Through this project the college aims to give a holistic perspective of education and if every student is made to understand this , he/she will be able to opt for it.

  4. Do you think that the general awareness has increased?
    The perspective of college students has changed and the quality of village children has improved. The people of the village are very happy with the outcome. It has tremendous amount of impact on both college students and village children and on both units – college and villages. The contacts have created a lot of concern for the rural people. Many students have told me that they went to the camps to fulfill the credit requirements, but returned with love and transformation of their hearts.

  5. What is the future of the Prayas movement?
    The future of Prayas is in the hands of our students. I am confident it will continue. As one student mentioned in one of our sharing sessions, “Prayas is not a project, but a movement”. A project like this must be carried out by every college. There are about 30, 000 colleges in our country. If every college adopts one village is will be a tremendous contribution to nation building. Yes, we are doing good work out of love and concern. It is God's work and so it will definitely continue.

  6. What is the involvement of faculty members?
    It is very encouraging, but they must also be given some orientation about this project. Faculty support is a must for the success of this project.

  7. Any message to readers?
    Every reader is a participant in this project and must promote this project wherever it is possible. All of us have a role to play as human beings and as Indian citizens in the development of this country so that all of us may live in peace and harmony.
    We are born in an unjust society and we should be determined not to leave it as we have found it. The world is divided. But, let us put our hearts and minds together and stretch out hands to heal the wounds and bridge the divisions to build a united world.

PRAYAS - The Fruit Bearing Tree
Village to College - College to Village
Tête à Tête with Rev. Fr. Dr. J. Felix Raj, SJ
-The inspiration behind the movement
Facts and Figures
Thumbs Up : Positive Feedback
"If colleges and villages meet, there will be a knowledge revolution,” believes Fr. Felix Raj, SJ, the person behind the success of Prayas.

Fr. Felix Rau with Salpukur Leaders

Village to College College to Village
Project Prayas brings 50 underprivileged children to Calcutta Know more

In a country with 10,33,473 number of schools and 16,885 colleges and countless number of educational initiatives by public and private sectors, there are still 100 million children out of school of whom 60 per cent are girls. With 35 per cent of the population still not literate, a country cannot boast of achieving high standards of development.

Education is one of the indicators of progress. It is the key to development. The second millennium goal is to achieve universal primary education by 2015. Therefore, the need of the hour is to bring about an educational revolution. The process has already begun. Let us all join together to take India to a greater heights.

Dr. Fr. J. Felix Raj, SJ
Artha Beekshan, Vol. 16. No. 2. September 2007



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