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 PRAYAS : An Effort

- An experience to remember…

19th to 22nd June 2015

"AshimAakasheAgonoKiron..." was the theme for this year's Prayas (Village to College) camp held from 19th to 22nd June at the St. Xavier's College (Park Street) campus. The college hosted about 60 rural students of standard 11 and 12 of the Raghabpur St. Paul's Higher Secondary School.


The camp was inaugurated by Rev. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ, Principal of the College. In his inaugural address he stated, "Our sole aim was to speak from our hearts. We wanted to reach out to the rural students and we have been successful to a large extent. The St. Xavier's College Raghabpur Campus is the fruit of this Prayas." Mr. Amit Chatterjee, the Headmaster of Raghabpur St. Paul's H.S. School appreciated and thanked Fr. Felix Raj, SJ for this major initiative. He said, "I wish many more Colleges take up this project prayas so that more and more rural students will get a chance to continue College studies."

Inspired by the success of Prayas and to replicate its success in their own College, four student representatives from St. Xavier's College, Patna, along with their Vice Principal Fr. Sushil Bilung, SJ were present to witness this exchange of knowledge and culture.

The campers had a variety of experience during their short stay in Xavier's. Ranging from campus tour, visiting Mother's Teresa's Tomb, and visiting the historical sites of Kolkata and the Science City to attending English sessions conducted by College students. They were also treated to the movie "English Vinglish."

During the Valedictory function on the last day, the campers were overwhelmed. Thanking her 'College Didis", Sushmita Bag of class XII said, "I had a great fear of English but after being in this camp for four days, I have overcome this fear to a great extent." Monalisa Sardar, another camper took this opportunity to express her gratitude to the College and said, "In this camp we got an opportunity to develop our personality. We learnt English.... We also learnt time management and discipline." Visibly happy with the efforts of the organisers, Rev. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ, applauded and congratulated the campers saying, "If so much transformation can be brought about in 3 days, then imagine what transformation will be brought about in your village if all of you study in a college for 3 years"! Father appreciated the efforts of the NSS volunteers and thanked them for keeping the Xaverian spirit thriving in the campus.

On 21st June, the Alumni Association hosted a special lunch for the campers. Fr. Rector, Fr. Principal and many other Fathers and Alumni association members joined them for lunch, which the campers and volunteers were pleasantly surprised at as one volunteer expressed in her sharing, "The Fathers came down to have lunch with us which I think was the biggest act of humility in the campus."

A project that began in 2006 by Rev. Fr. Felix Raj, SJ and a group of dedicated Xavierians, has grown into a fruit bearing tree with the establishment of the rural campus at Raghabpur. Prayas has spread from two villages to nine. In fact this year one more village, Hugalkuria, will be brought into its fold.

We hope that many more colleges will initiate this effort and ensure that more and more rural students pursue higher education.

Cheryl Francis
Director of Social Work & NSS
St. Xavier's College (Autonomous)


PRAYAS - The Fruit Bearing Tree


Village to College - College to Village
An Interaction with
Rev. Fr. Dr. J. Felix Raj, SJ
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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