Welcome to Praajak

Antariksha

Antariksha means ‘the space in between’. It is a unique programme that aims to address gender equity and promote a gender discrimination free society by working extensively with boys and young men. The programme works with children and adolescents in South and North 24 Parganas, Murshidabad, Malda and Jalpaiguri in West Bengal to prevent early and child marriage, trafficking, sexual abuse and school drop-outs

It has three components (?)

Enhancing capacities of boys and girls aged 12 to 21 years on issues of gender and sexuality through a series of sessions: The objective is to create a nucleus of volunteers who initiate conversations on gender at the family level. As they gain experience and grow in confidence, they are supported in forming community action groups to take action on gender-based violations in their communities

Supporting women and youth groups to access educational opportunities and mental health services: We link women and youth to formal and non-formal education as appropriate. Inputs on financial literacy are also provided. Psychosocial services based on art, theatre and movement based therapy are provided and a referral exists with government and nongovernmental mental health agencies .The interactions are also utilised to broaden platforms for discussions on gender. The underlying objective is to strengthen these key actors and help them grow as catalysts of change in their communities.

Enhancing linkages with relevant government schemes and entitlements and other social supports for transgender youth, single children and adolescents, single women and vulnerable families During 2015 to 2017, we reached out to 1688 youths and their families.

Antariksha is supported by American Jewish World Service (USA) and Hummingbird Foundation (UK).

Muktangan

Muktangan means an ‘open courtyard’ and evokes images of a free, familiar, and supportive physical space within homes. Initiated in 2003 in collaboration with the Railway Protection Force (RPF), it has been one of our pioneering programmes. We initiated it in Malda and expanded to Asansol, Kharagpur and New Jalpaiguri. It aims to provide an alternative environment for the children and youths in contact with the railways and link them to education, life skills and vocational skills building opportunities
The programme incorporates two components.

Railway Station based intervention: Drop in Centres (DIC) is set up for children near the stations with support of the RPF and the Railways. Children receive educational inputs and access opportunities for recreational activities. Psychosocial support elements are interwoven into all aspects of the programme. Family reunification is undertaken for children who have got separated from the families in coordination with the relevant Child Welfare Committee. Since 1999 to 2017, we have worked with 12557 children who came in contact with the railways. For the past ten years, 1025 children were reunified with their families or placed in safe shelters. This also includes operating the Railway Childline at Malda Station which annually supports more than 200 children.

Source area/community based intervention: The emphasis is on strengthening the local safety net for children in vulnerable communities and, thereby, preventing situations where children have to leave home towards railway stations. This includes promoting school and ICDS enrolment and retention of children, linking families with relevant government schemes as well as other forms of legal and psychosocial support. It incorporates working with the Child Protection Committees at village and ward levels (VLCPCs and WLCPCs). We currently work in 48 communities spread across 10 districts in West Bengal.

Over the past seven years, 7965 children were brought under our education programme and enrolled in schools. Out of which, 4965 children were from rural communities.

Muktangan is supported by Railway Children (UK) and Paul Hamlyn Foundation (UK). Praajak has been managing the Railway Childline at Malda station since November 2016. This initiative is supported by the Childine India Foundation.

International Partners