A university community in northeast India has become a trend setter in offering development communication services when its students of the Schools of Technology and Social Sciences decided to reach out to its neighbourhod communities.
It all started 3 years ago when its Masters students of Social Work panned out to do a social audit and needs assessment of its neighbourhood communities and launched free tuition classes for high school students.
“Three years ago we started off with two hour evening sessions in Maths, English and Science for 40 neighbourhood students studying in classes 8, 9 and 10,” says Assistant Professor of Social Work Mr Victor Nazary, coordinator of the Swastyayan program at Assam Don Bosco University (ADBU) in Guwahati.
Today there are over 300 boys and girls given free tuitions by some 60 ADBU student and faculty volunteers from Monday to Friday for two hours in the same classrooms where B.Tech students hold classes.
Last month, the Psychological Counseling department started a Counseling Centre offering free counseling sessions every Friday afternoon for the Swastyayan students and their parents.
“The purpose of the centre is to promote the relevance and benefits of counseling, as well as provide free counseling sessions to Swastyayan community,” says Sabatina Changmai an MA student in Psychology.
The Human Rights department has stepped in to ensure that in the neighbourhood communities of the university children enjoy Child Rights especially with regard to education, prevention of child labour and trafficking.
This week, the Mass Communication department teamed up with the local community radio – Radio Luit – to highlight social issues and aired three programs highlighting health issues, busting exam stress, and a children’s day special.
Swastyayan’s third annual day was held today marking Children’s Day with a two hour programme for students and their parents in the presence of ADBU Pro Vice-Chancellor Fr Joseph Nellanatt, and director of the Schools of Technology and Social Sciences, Prof Manoranjan Kalita and Dr Riju Sharma respectively.
Deputy Director of Higher Education, Government of Assam, Miss Chinmoyee Talukdar, the Chief Guest at the event addressed the students and their parents. She encouraged all to emulate the example of late President of India Mr. APJ Kalam’s passion for learning and integrity, and make use of every opportunity the ADBU community is providing.