Laxmi belongs to a socio-economically marginalized tribal and migrant family, coming from an extremely backward rural remote region of Jharkhand. Laxmi displayed her entrepreneurship skill in the one day State-level Business Fair called “Baadi-Utsav”, organized by Pratigya in Ranchi, with help of its strong and committed volunteer base. She, along with two other children of her slum, got into a business alliance. They installed two business stalls. One was a food stall. The other was stationary related. And they successfully implemented this, especially the food item was a great success, and they made good profits.
Laxmi's family, over the years, has put up their stalls in the yearly Jagannathpur Mela. Till 2014, Laxmi’s family used to sell “Hadia” in the Mela. In the year 2015, Laxmi opposed this traditional practice of their family which has been going on for over several years. So, in the year 2015, Laxmi's family, on the advise and convincing of Laxmi, installed a food stall in the mela. Laxmi has also started a small hotel which she is running from her home only. Even after much opposition in her studies at home, she has passed her 12th exam this year, getting constant support and encouragement from Pratigya. After her due involvement in the activities at the first centre of Pratigya in Jagannathpur, she took the initiative to convince Pratigya to open a new center nearby her area as she felt the need for it due to the increased cases of substance abuse among small children. Also, she took all the efforts at mobilizing the whole community. Recognising the potential of Laxmi and her leadership and management skills, Pratigya first enrolled her as a Peer Leader in her community, and as and when she completed the age of 18, she has also became a Pratigya staff too. Right now she along with her graduation classes-gives time to manage Pratigya's activities, as and when she has time after her studies.
Laxmi hasn't stop putting her creative ideas in empowering the girls and women in her community. Last year she proposed a Football tournament of mothers in their traditional dresses like saree, salwar, etc. Nobody was ready to accept this idea, even the mothers for whom she had thought of this beautiful idea. But Pratigya team encouraged her to try this idea. In the first phase she failed to convince any single mother for this tournament. Then she took the help of the children of Pratigya, mobilized them, and visited every single house in the locality trying to convice them about the same. Finally, the team of children and Laxmi succeeded in extracting 4 teams from urban slum Jagannathpur in Ranchi and a rural village Chandapara in Khunti. The tournament started and the way these team of mothers played the tournament was remarkable. At first the males opposed it stating that their wives cannot play the match, they must be in their homes. But these women didn't stop, they played the matches and they make these men believe in their spirit of sports.
This idea of Laxmi and the empowerment of women in her community let her won an award from Kailash Satyarthi Children's Foundation. She was the youngest female among the 16 women who were awarded for their achievements. The name of the award is "Mahila evam Bal Adhikaar Sanrakshan Samman". Her story has also been published by Butterflies, New Delhi.
Robin was the first “Child Volunteer Manager” of the first rural centre of Pratigya. He be-longs to a farming tribal community at the margins and resource deprived as well. He was in Class 9th when joined Pratigya in February 2015.
Pratigya's life skills programme brought about a lot of visible changes in Robin. After joining the Pratigya centre, Robin became active, sincere and focused. Previously, he used to roam around the village aimlessly, with other deviant characters of the locality.
Pratigya helped him realize his true potential as a leader. He became the mentor of younger children at the centre; with him being more sensitive on the issues concerning the children of his age. He, over a period of time, built the learning environment at the centre, and also guided the other chil-dren accordingly.
Robin is in his second year of Graduation in Commerce stream. After running the children's bank at Pratigya centre, Robin became more attracted towards the issues surrounding finance and economy; and thus he selected commerce as his vocational subject; as he now has a career in mind, and wants to join a bank and become a manager! His dream is, to continue to help and guide the children, as Pratigya did with him, as he mentions quite often, emotionally.
Pratigya's programme has not only impacted the life of him but his mother as well. The habit of saving (as there is no formal banking system nearby in the village area) has really empowered the financially illiterate tribal community here. Robin's mother has now be-come more vocal in the meetings (Monthly Parents' Meeting, Gram Sabha, Women's Group Meeting held from time to time) as well at home; and has taken command of the budget of her household. Through her son Robin, he has learned to manage money better and inculcated the habit of savings.
Lily belongs to a farming family of an extremism affected 'Block' of Khunti district in Jharkhand. Being one of the eldest 'child' of her village community and family, she took the responsibility of guiding children younger to her, after she joined Pratigya in February 2015. She became a mentor for the children at Pratigya's Srijan Bachpan (SB) centre at Chandapara village.
Pratigya's SB Programme was introduced in her village Chandapara in February 2015. She passed her 10th exam in that year 2014 but had discontinued her studies. She was a drop-out. After associating with Pratigya's SB centre, she got involved in a lot of activities at the centre. She even took the initiative in calling different resource persons and even Doctors, ANMs, etc. to the centre to take different sessions on health and life skills for children.
She worked as a Health Educator and showed a lot of pro-activeness. She interacted a lot with Village Level Health Worker (VLHW). She used to raise important matter in the GBM (General Body Meeting) of the children held regularly at Pratigya cen-tre. For example, once she raised the matter of less participation of boys at the centre, especially in the GBM.
After becoming a part of Pratigya's programme, she got reconnected with educa-tion and joined in the 11th class in a college in 2015. After passing her 12th exams, she has joined as a volunteer guest teacher at the school set up by Pratigya in the same village. Also, she has closed her savings account at one of Pratigya’s programme, and has consequently opened a bank account, with the guidance of the organization, after she turned 18.
Madhu's father is a farmer by profession and mother, a home-maker, who has never been a part of any formal schooling system. Her family‟s financial condition remains not so good. She is a first generation learner!
As Madhu puts it, associating with Pratigya's health awareness programme has been like a “life-changer” for her. At one time, she was very casual about her outlook , i.e. She used to go to school without taking bath. Also, she didn‟t have much information regarding health in general either.
Being a part of Pratigya's health programme, brought a remarkable change in her. She is now the “Little Doctor” of the community, going door-to-door creating health awareness. Also, encouraging and teaching other children about the importance of maintaining basic hygiene. She is now serving the term as a Child Health Educator (CHE). She also led the “Cleanliness Drive” in her village as a CHE, and was quoted in a lead Hindi daily news-paper (Dainik Bhaskar) of Jharkhand.
Madhu is the first child representative in the Gram Sabha of Chandapara Village, vociferously advocating the issues of children„s health at the local governance level – a leader of, not tomorrow, but today only!
Saraswati Oraon belongs to one of the most marginalized tribal community who was forced to migrate to city in search of livelihood. Her parents are daily wage labourers. She says, “mere papa pehle mujhse kaha karte the ki kahi jaake kaam karo, padhne-likhne se kuch nahi hone waala”.
Saraswati‟s father studied till 12th whereas her mother didn‟t know how to read and write. But it was her mother who never lost hope in Saraswati go-ing to school for formal education.
In year 2010, Saraswati got connected with Pratigya and was started getting a sponsorship for her educational expenses. She got connected with the life-skills sessions of the organization where she learned to commensurate with her personality. Improving Saraswati‟s education environment not only in-cluded better teaching methodology at school but also involved providing her with better study facilities outside of it. Saraswati didn‟t have the apt study environment at home or nearby. She had issues with the loud bicker-ing noises in their neighborhood as well as constant trouble with electricity which badly affected their studies. Pratigya‟s centre provided that space for her.