Gopali Youth Welfare Society (GYWS) is a registered NGO mainly managed by some of the professors and students of IIT Kharagpur and it aims to improve the living standards of people in Gopali, a village 5 km away from Kharagpur. The organisation aims to ensure the socio-economic welfare of the underprivileged section of society.
Gopali Youth Welfare Society was founded in 2002. During that time, a resident of Gopali village, Mr. Mrinal Kanti Bhanja saw the sufferings of people around him. That situation used to perturb him a lot and he wished to bring betterment to the society. That is when he decided to work with all the resources and force that he could raise for the benefit of the society. He was in search of others like him who had the same passion towards giving something back to the society. GYWS was conceptualized following his dream of creating a platform in which people could interact freely, share ideas and work on projects to help better the lives of the less fortunate people. He believed that IIT Kharagpur could be the best platform to carry forward his motive. Thus, Gopali Youth Welfare Society was born. Through the dedication of the members of GYWS, the organisation got registered in 2004 under the West Bengal Registration Act 1961.
What does GYWS do? : Mission
The organisation aims to improve the quality of life of the people of Gopali and strengthen the overall economic condition and literacy of the village. The team wishes to make the youth of the nation aware of the problems of the underprivileged sections and make them use their creativity to bring out a solution to the problems of society.
GYWS has undertaken different projects like Prayas, Blood Connect, Pedal for Progress, e-Samadhan and many more to benefit the people of the village. GYWS established a school named Jagriti Vidya Mandir in 2008, which was one of the biggest milestone attained by the organisation.
Contributions and Projects Undertaken
Jagriti Vidya Mandir was established with the help of the professors and students of the organisation and the local people of the village. The school is an English-medium school and now successfully runs up to class 5. Currently, the school has 9 teachers and about 200 students. It aims at providing quality education to the underprivileged people free of cost. Its main motto is “To educate each and every child for a better tomorrow”. The school also aims to teach the students the ideals of humanity and establish a strong foundation and a flourishing future for the coming generation. The society also covers the entire educational expenses of the students who are admitted to Hijli High School once they complete education up to class 5 from JVM. In the future, GYWS plans to provide education up to 12th standard and make sure that students settle in their professional or further educational lives before they leave.
The students of JVM are taught how to operate computers under the initiative of Computer Coaching. Coaching is held at GYWS Office and is playing a significant role in exposing the students to the world of technology.
The post-graduate students and research scholars of the group hold Teachers’ Training Program weekly to assist teachers on how to teach and encourage students. They also train the academically weak students every week and help them to understand various subjects. The undergraduate students of the first and second year also hold regular Laptop Sessions to teach the students through presentations and videos apart from the normal teaching process to enable better understanding of the topics.
The organisation also introduced the ‘earn a smile’ scheme under which they encouraged IIT Kharagpur graduates to donate for the construction of the new school campus of JVM. GYWS witnesses immense participation in the program.
Another successful initiative taken by GYWS was ‘Educate a Child’ through which one can help the underprivileged children to continue their education by sponsoring the education expenses of the child. The program has seen a lot of people, mainly the Professors of IIT Kharagpur, getting involved in funding the education of many children. While some participate to the extent of giving money for the education of a child, many even keep track of how the student is performing and how much is he enjoying studies.
Yogdaan is a yearly donation drive, undertaken by GYWS, which aims at collecting money for the further construction and infrastructure of JVM and for the salary of the teachers of JVM. Yogdaan is geared towards collecting money from the students of IIT Kharagpur. GYWS collected over 2 lakh rupees through Yogdaan this year.
GYWS also runs a program named Prayas: Program Associating Youth and Society. The program was established to create awareness amongst the youth about the problems in society and find a beneficial solution for the same. Under this program, the organisation has included four initiatives, namely Helping Hands, Internship Program, Live Project, and e-Learning. Under Prayas, students are motivated to contribute their time to approach the close ones to raise the funds for the betterment of underprivileged children. GYWS offers a great internship opportunity aimed at social service to usher new leadership and team spirit qualities among the interns.
Pedals for Progress was another initiative under which the graduating students of IIT Kharagpur were encouraged to donate their bicycles for the students of JVM, which would have anyway been of no use after the graduating batch leave the campus.
Apart from working on the educational aspect of the village Gopali, GYWS also undertook programs for the welfare of the villagers. Some of them are e-Samadhan, Paperkraft, Blood Connect and P’aksha.
Under e-Samadhan, the organisation aims to solve the grievances of villagers and make them aware of their rights. Under this scheme, the team conducted a Legal Aid Camp to address issues of nearby residents related to land disputes, Aadhar Card, Ration Card, Caste Certificate and Health Insurance.
Paperkraft is a progressive initiative taken by GYWS to reduce the rural unemployment and environmental pollution. The students of GYWS collect newspapers from various halls of residence in the campus and give them to rural women, who make paper bags out of those and earn money out of the paper bags. This initiative is sustainable, eco-friendly and gives rise to women empowerment.
KGP Blood Connect is a social program created to help those truly in need of blood as fast as possible. The principle of this initiative is to create a database of all the willing donors in the vicinity, containing all necessary details such as age, gender, blood group and health issues. These donors are expected to give their contact details and be ready to come and donate blood at a short notice.
The program P’aksha was organised during the National Eye Donation week and was a 15 day camp aimed at enlightening people about the importance of eye donation and eye care.
GYWS also organises Aarogya, the annual medical camp for the villagers of Gopali. Few doctors, who are willing to sacrifice their time for the cause, are called in the camp. The camp includes the health check-up of the villagers and providing them with the necessary medicines.
West Bengal State Government in association with Gopali Gram Panchayat hosted a campaign against Dowry, Child Abuse and Women and Child Trafficking. Gopali Youth Welfare Society was involved in the campaign as well.
It does not take much time for a kind action to come in limelight and this time we are dealing with the kind actions being done by IITians! GYWS has already made it to some of the India’s reputed media bodies. It has received print media coverage from many media bodies like the Hindustan Times, The Times of India, The Telegraph, Dainik Bhaskar, Sanmarg, Protidin and many more. Online media bodies have also recognized the activities of GYWS and have covered their stories. Some of them are The Viral Fever Videos TVF, Just IITians Website, Engineering For Change FB Page, IITS Pride of India, Your Story and many more.
The activities of GYWS are often appreciated by alumni, professors and fellow IITians. GYWS has been empanelled in National CSR Hub by Tata Institute of Social sciences.
Besides imparting free education to children, they have also played their role in rescuing 12 child labourers till now and having them enrolled in local government schools. They have been successfully able to utilize the potential and intelligence of the IITians and motivate them to serve the society and play a significant role in the development of the nation.
Message to society
“The children may not realise the hard work that we are doing for them and the change that is being brought about in them at such a tender age, but when we happen to meet their parents they often state us as “messiah” who changed their child’s fate. They inevitably thank us for granting our kind service to their child and bringing about a substantial difference to their child’s future. That fills us with satisfaction and we feel like every penny that the people have spent on them and each and every second of our hard work reaped virtuous results.
We can see the pride in their eyes when they talk and this provides satisfaction to our soul. The most beautiful thing in this world is to see children smile, and the next big thing is to know that you are the reason behind that smile.
Running a school consisting of about 200 children is not an easy task. It requires a lot of commitment, dedication, and funds. We work very hard to nurture these underprivileged kids. All these has been possible due to your continuous support. We urge you to keep supporting us while providing valuable inputs to make this country a better place to live. Your contributions will encourage us to work even harder.”