Final Year Social Work Students begin Final Block Placement

ADBU, Sonapur: The 2015-2017 batch of 57 students of Master of Social Work, ADBU have began their final one month Block Placement – a requirement for academic accomplishment for the degree of Social Work today, 1st June in different organisations across the country.

The Master of Social Work programme in ADBU requires the students to carry out concurrent fieldwork in the first two semesters, two continuous placements of one month each in the third and fourth semesters, and a final Block Placement after the end semester examination of the fourth semester. The students are placed in different ogranisations and trusts – working in the areas of education, health, mental health, livelihoods, child protection, women development … to name a few.

The students report to the faculty in charge on a regular basis and mentoring is provided by the faculty on a daily basis.

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Student Volunteers contribute towards backward villages

A renovated Anganwadi at Kailashpur in Sonapur copy

Pre and Post view of one of the projects

Guwahati: A team of Indian and Irish students from Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU), India and University College Dublin Volunteers Overseas (UCDVO), Ireland are doing a yeoman service in the backward and less privileged villages of Sonapur located in the outskirt of the city of Guwahati. The team comprises of thirteen Indian and ten Irish students and is a part of the International Student Volunteer Exchange Programme between the two institutions of repute.

 

The Team Members.JPG

The Team Members, 2016

‘The programme aims at promoting understanding of multicultural issues and appreciation of cultures, practices and traditions at the global level by creating and providing an environment where volunteers from other nationalities interact, stay and work together in community  with its beauty and challenges’ says Jacob Islary, Asst. Professor of ADBU and coordinator of the programme. ‘We adhere to the principles and values of participatory development process and take into consideration the involvement of the community members as essential stake holders in the process of social and community development’ adds Dr. Riju Sharma, Head and Director School of Humanities and Social Sciences.

The students repaired and renovated five anganwadi centers by fitting new GI sheets, painting colourful murals on the walls, provided fans and fitted the floors with vinyl and ser flooring, besides painting murals in two schools and reinstalling a hand pump which is the only source of drinking water to about 200 families of Kachari basti near Sonapur.

The team also organised workshops on health & hygiene, adolescent health, cooperative movement, livelihoods, and mother & child health care for the villagers, and conducted science experiments in the high schools of Kamarkuchi, Sonapur.

While for Ms. Rajkumari Mahato an anganwadi worker of Kailashpur in Sonapu ‘the anganwadi center has received another life from its brokenness’ and expresses happiness ‘of moving back to the center from the temple varendha’ where she used to organise the anganwadi programmes,  for Ms. Sita Rongpi another anganwadi worker of Jargaon village in Kamarkuchi her ‘after the colouful renovation of the anganwadi center level of happiness in teaching increases as she sees the anganwadi children running and pointing at the colourful walls and read the alphabets and count the numbers.’

According to Ms. Krishna Boro a youth leader in Kachari basti ‘the reinstalling of water pump is going to reduce the incidents of various waterborne diseases esp. diarrhea in the locality.’

Mr. Colm Flynn an Irish student commenting on experience of the programme proudly declares that ‘the programme has given experiences that have left imprints to last forever in my life’ and according to Mr. Mrinal Basumatary and Indian student ‘the experience of the programme has given and understanding to look development from a multidimensional perspective which will help in future programme and project planning.’

The exchange programme is in its third year and has renovated thirteen anganwadi centers, painted murals in three schools, installed a hand pump besides setting up of village groups and movements for sustainable livelihoods and a number of awareness programmes and campaigns through various medium like street plays, puppetry and grassroots comics. The fund of the programme is raised entirely by the students themselves and is audited by a Chartered Accountant. Currently a field survey study is being carried out for planning further projects.

Varsity trains local girls to be self-reliant

SwabalamGuwahati, (C.M. Paul) – University departments in northeast India have ventured into job-oriented training program for educated unemployed youth of its neighbourhood. Into the second year, the Swabalamban program this year has 40 per cent girl students registering for skills training once considered boys only domain.

During the ten day course students learn electrical house wiring, as well as build and install an electricity inverter.

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Swabalamban inaugural function, 23 November 2015

“Last year when we started the program we had over 100 applicants for ten seats, all boys. But this year we have four girls enlisting in the program,” says convener of the project Swabalamban (Self-reliance) and Head, Electronics and Communication Engineering (ECE) department Dr Sunandan Baruah.

Swabalamban 2015 which started off on 23rd November at Assam Don Bosco University, Azara campus is an inter departmental program to train educated unemployed youth in the neighbourhood. It aims at skilling youth in just ten days in a trade so that they begin earning their livelihood.

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Some of the students and faculty at Swabalamban inaugural function.

While the Social Work department of the university mobilized students by disseminating information to the villagers, selecting the trainees, and following up on the post training activities, the ECE department trains students on assembling simple inverters, as well as their installation and maintenance, the EEE department trains students on electrical house wiring.

The faculty, staff and students are involved at all levels of mobilization, training and placement of unemployed youths of the area.
Theory and practical sessions are held in the Machine Lab of Electrical and Electronics Engineering department.

During the first four days, students learn house wiring followed by another four days of electrical inverter making, to be concluded with two days learning electrical inverter installation.

“This time too, we had an overwhelming response from the youth,” says MSW Department Assistant professor Mr Victor Nazary.

“The project Swabalamban,” Mr Nazary says, “is answering to the urgent need of youths in the Azara Gaon Panchayat where they are facing crises in securing suitable livelihood options.”

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ADBU Administrator and student representative at the inaugural.

Traditionally the community is dependent on fishing in the neighbouring Deepor Beel (fresh water lake bird sanctuary) for subsistence. The communities’ youths today are unable to sustain livelihood on fishing due to lower returns and changing ecological conditions.

The free training program conducted in collaboration with Azara Gaon Panchayat in one of university’s 39 labs at Azara campus from 23rd November to 3rd December is sponsored by a US based Non Resident Indian NGO called http://www.oakokho.com.

OAKOKHO is an initiative started in 2013 by few Assamese folks from USA to make Assamese language, art and culture available and popular over the internet. The group also encourages and inspires talents from Assam and North East region in different fields of creative works ranging from literature to photography, web development to science and technology.
Speaking at the inaugural, Director, ADBU School of Technology Prof Manoranjan Kalita, highlighted the meaning of the word “SWABALAMBAN” and its relevance to the program.

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ADBU Registrar addressing the Swabalamban students and faculty.

While giving an overview of the training program Prof. Kalita mentioned the importance of self employment toward a self reliant livelihood. He also briefed trainees on how ADBU family is eager to help youth in the neighboring villages of Azara for the overall development of the area.

“I am immensely pleased to have such an event in the university,“ said ADBU Pro Vice-Chancellor Fr Joseph Nellanatt encouraging the participants “to take the maximum advantage of the opportunity.”

He further explained “the training is not actually free as the participants will have to pay by being present on time and attending all the sessions diligently.”

He assured the youth saying, “ADBU will be organizing many such training programs in the future.”
Photo caption: Student trainees pose with department heads.

My Incredible Hero  

Esalanmidaka Lyngdoh

The Poet – Esalanmidaka Lyngdoh, An MSW Alumnus, 2014

My Incredible Hero

She walks gracefully through narrow lane

As she smiles away the pain.

Sacrifices she made for those she cares

Makes the world around her stare.  

What she wouldn’t give to see them shine

But love so blind -utterly divine!

 

She moulded the rough edges in me

And motivated me to strive for who I want to be.

From million others she is mine;

I must be the luckiest one in this time.

I know God has carefully handpicked her one day

To raise me into the person I am today.

 

Mama dear Mama.

My life, I’ll live to make you proud.

With pure dedication, I’ll stand strong my ground

Each moment each day to put a smile on your face.

To make sure the pain of yesterday be gently erased

Here’s to you and your sweet love –

“You’re an angel you’re one in a million women

You’re my incredible hero and my star!”

UCDVO and ADBU refurbish and hand over four Anganwadis

An Anganwadi in Hatkhwapara before Refurbishment

An Anganwadi in Hatkhwapara before Refurbishment

Azara: The tiny tots of Hatkhwapara, Hirapara and Keotpara need not spend their play and education time anymore surrounded by dull stained walls and broken floors as the members of International Student Volunteer Exchange Programme have refurbished and colourfully painted the Anganwadi centers of the villages and handed them over, 11 July 2014.

‘The objective of the undertaking was to make the learning experience of the children who come to the centers enriching and perhaps in one word what one could call beautiful and effective process’ says Mr. Alex Kelly, a team member from UCDVO and placed in Keotpara.

Expressing her feeling about the transformation of her center Anganwadi Worker Ms. Moni Das of Keotpara said that ‘never in her life had she dreamed that her center would be so beautiful and learning experience of children so colourful.’ ‘I am grateful to the students of Don Bosco and UCDVO for transforming my center into a center of learning’ she added.

The Anganwadi in Hatkhwapara after Refurbishment

An Anganwadi in Hatkhwapara after Refurbishment

Ms. Jyothsna Bagum the Aanganwadi Worker from Hatkhwapara expressing her experience after the refurbishment of her Anganwadi Center said that ‘till last week the community people would not visit the center but now not just community people and forget about the parents of the children who come here; even public passersby are stopping and visiting to see the kind of changes the Anganwadi centre has gone through.’  ‘I am proud of my center’ she adds with a smile.

A break during refurbishment of the Anganwadi at Hirapara

A break during refurbishment of the Anganwadi at Hirapara

Speaking to the members of the team from Don Bosco and UCDVO after the inauguration ceremony Mr. Dipak Kumar Das, Headmaster of Hatkhwapara Lower Primary School expressed his opinion that ‘the Anganwadi Centers which are important in the process of the development of a Child in India could be as colourful, beautiful and child friendly as the newly refurbished Anganwadi of Hatkhwapara.’ ‘It gives immense happiness and sense of satisfaction to know that there are people out there who care and dare to share dreams of making the lives of the children better’ he added.

Anganwadi literally means a ‘Courtyard House’ in Hindi. It is a Government center where children between the age group of 0 to 6 years and expecting mothers are given holistic developmental care by a Government appointed Anganwadi Worker.

Enjoying the comfort of the refurbished Anganwadi Centre

Enjoying the comfort of the refurbished Anganwadi Centre

Four Anganwadi Centres (two in Hatkhwapara, and one each in Hirapara and Keotpara) have been refurbished, inaugurated and handed over to the three communities by the team of volunteers from UCD Volunteers Overseas, Ireland and Don Bosco University. The refurbishing process included scrubbing the walls and floors, repairing the broken walls and floors, white washing, painting and finally fitting linoleum on the floors.

Speaking on the experience of the process of the Anganwadi refurbishing work Ms. Dupphidalin says that ‘she has learnt how to mix cement and sand and may perhaps be able to fix her own house’, while Ms. Namita says that she ‘could perhaps paint her own house as she has discovered the painter-self in her.’

For Ms. Victoire and Mr. John while ‘the cleaning and whitewashing of the centers were the most frustrating, the emerging of trees, animals and rainbows from the once dull walls and beautiful laying of linoleum on the once broken floors were the most satisfying and joyous experience.’

According to Peter ‘the transformation of Hirapara Anganwadi Centre gives happiness with a hope that children who come there can now have more pleasant time.’

Azara Open Exhibition was not a Success but a……

The United Girls Club with  art and craft products

The United Girls Club with art and craft products

Azara (Emma McLoughlin): An open exhibition between all three communities – Keotpara, Hatkhwapara and Hirapara was organised in Azara Public Hall on Wednesday (July 9), and to say it was a success would be an understatement! On the way to the hall early Wednesday morning, I felt a bit daunted by the day that lay ahead. Our experience of Indian punctuality has been stressful at times! Also, the event was scheduled between 10.00 am and 6.00 pm so I was worried that it would be a thin crowd coming and going due to it being such a drawn out period of time. My fears quickly dissipated as some of our community members were there to help us set up at 8.30am! A feeling of great hope built up as we rushed around frantically searching for scissors and sellotape to set up the stalls for each of our village. The whole thing took shape fantastically and the team worked together seamlessly.

The Exhibition Stall from Hirapara

The Exhibition Stall from Hirapara

The crowds and communities started arriving in force. The stands were full of artwork made by children and adults alike. There were handmade crafts ranging from vases to handbags. The people bustled around enthusiastically and there was a great buzz in the air!

The performances started and it was just brilliant to see such a huge celebration of culture. Indian and Irish volunteers performed as well as children, adolescents and women from the villages. We had songs as Gaeilge, in Assamese, a magic show, traditional dance, contemporary dance and even a makeshift river dance with our friends from Global Schoolroom. The crowd loved it and we had a ball doing as well.

Musical Chair game in progress

Musical Chair game in progress

There was a huge number of people in attendance throughout the day and instead of fizzling out towards the evening, more people actually arrived. Approximately 500 people joined the event, people of all ages, enjoying the day and seeing the hard work put in by the members of the community. We had lovely refreshments, we played football and musical chairs, we got to know more people and just generally had an amazing time. At certain points, when the speakers were turned up, it was more like a massive community dance party than an exhibition! But such was the spirit of the day.

Common Dance on a Common Dance Floor

Common Dance on a Common Dance Floor

It was definitely the perfect way to showcase the hard work put in by UCDVO and ADBU over the last month. More importantly, it was a great way for the women and girls of the communities to showcase and be proud of their amazing talents. They had the opportunity to sell their crafts and some of them even had orders placed for more! It was a great chance for us all to celebrate the close relationship we have built over the last month and to celebrate different people, talents and cultures coming together to have fun.

It was not just a success but a ‘grand success’, and a great story to tell in life.