Matters India |Sunday, December 17, 2017
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A change-maker’s story 

“I am a change maker.”- claims Vicky Prajapati of the Community Centre, Narkeldanga

A graduate in Science, this 22-year old young man comes with a combination of intelligence and entertainment.

His father works as a supervisor in Tirupati Jute Industry, Kolkata whilst his mother is home-based tailor.

Even though the young man has seen a lot of upheavals in his life with a financial crisis constantly threatening at large, he opines, “My parents have always taught me to remain calm in such situations, as each circumstance teaches a new lesson in life.”

A former sponsored youth under the SAHAY-Children International sponsorship program, Vicky hails from one of the slum areas of Northern Kolkata. With the assistance from the program he was able to complete his education from school to college.

Vicky has also taken part in various youth and adolescence trainings in leadership, health and well-being awareness. After he turned 19, he graduated from the program, yet he did not forget his roots and came back to assist in the program as a volunteer thus becoming a role model for many other young people and his peers.

Sharing a personal experience, he recalls, “I remember whilst I was in class X in 2009, I joined the youth program and I was selected as a sector leader. Later in 2011, I became a peer educator of the Youth Health Corps program. I have gained a lot of confidence and also learned many skills through these trainings.”

What inspired him to become a volunteer?

Vicky says, “I have always seen my zonal volunteers giving their precious time for us (as youth and children) and that inspired me to become a volunteer.”

Life’s lessons don’t come easy and as a volunteer the youth has learned many things which have also shaped him as an individual. He opines, “In many situations our thinking does not match with that of others. In such instances, what are the required decisions we have to make and how to maintain ones’ self in such critical situations, is one of the lessons I have learned from being a volunteer.”

What have been his most gratifying moments as a volunteer?

Vicky says, “Many times, people come to me to share their problems and I help them find their solutions. What really satisfies me is that after I have spoken to them, they feel better. This makes me realize that all we need to be is a good listener. Very seldom do I give them answers, rather help them decide what the best is for them and leave them to take their final decision. Of course, if their problem is big and serious, I take them to my seniors who can help better.”

Dancing is one of the most important aspects of Vicky’s life. It acts as an anti-depressant and whenever he feels sad, angry or down, there’s one thing that always gives him relief – dancing.

He aspires that one day he would be ‘a national level dancer’.

(Vicky is a volunteer with Children International-SAHAY. The Kolkata based NGO works with about 26,000 children and youth in several districts of West Bengal. SAHAY is affiliated to Children International, Kansas City, USA. More details on www.children.org )

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