Socially Smart Programme to make youths change makers in Bhubaneswar slums

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Bhubaneswar: They are fondly called as Peer Leaders (Pragati Sathi) and have taken up many innovative programmes on their own to transform their slums within the Bhubaneswar Town Centre District (BTCD), but to make a quick recap of their learning experience, a refresher course was planned to take the training process to the Next Level. Interestingly, three Peer Leaders (Pragati Sathi) from the first batch will join as master trainers to impart training to future youth leaders in the slums across the Temple City.
Yes! It was always a wonderful experience to see the young and energetic `Pragati Sathi’ of BTCD slums to take the lead to coordinate a two-day refresher training being organised by Bhubaneswar Smart City Limited (BSCL) at Centre for Youth Service and Development (CYSD) on May 30 and 31.
The training programme brought on board 40 young boys and girls from slums of BTCD area, aimed to revise the contents of the past trainings in three modules that were provided in three phases to 92 young boys and girls during the last two years.
These trainings were aimed to strengthen the life skills of young boys and girls. After the training these `Pragati Sathi’ had gone back to their communities to bring their peers together and not only discussed subjects as mentioned in the modules, but have also taken up issues and challenges of their communities with relevant stakeholders.
These groups for the first time, especially for the girls, gave a forum to raise their concerns and work united to resolve their issues. These youths have done exemplary work in the last two years, from working to keep the community clean, to bringing children back to school who had dropped out of the school owing to some or the other reasons. They have helped to get installed or replace broken streetlights, repair tube wells and provide support to girls and women affected with violence by referring them to “Sakhi Centre’’ or Women Commission.
Even during severe cyclonic storm Fani many of the Peer Leaders worked hard to evacuate people to safe places prior to the cylone and during the aftermath again worked hard to bring life to normalcy by removing debris from slums and cleaning the area and organising drinking water facility for their community people etc. In the coming months these Peer Leaders would be aiming to work to ensure that no child is outside the school education system at least they complete matriculation (Class-X), linking youths with skill training programmes and supporting senior citizens.
After covering 24 slums under BTCD, BSCL has now extended the programme to 100 slums of the city as part of its mandate to strengthen the social components of the Smart City Proposal. This is a collaborative initiative with United Nations Population Fund, Odisha. Humara Bachpan Trust has been the implementing partner since the launch of the programme in 2017.

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