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Summer Camp 2022 in West Bengal

Summer Camp 2022 in West Bengal – Volunteers of Bankura
Ranajit Bhattacharyya

Ratri Mukherjee is a Pratham summer camp volunteer in Chatna block of Bankura district. She is a volunteer with a difference. An MSW 1st student enrolled in an open university of West Bengal, Ratri has a bachelor’s degree in sociology from Bankura Christian College. Ratri found Pratham! She had heard of Pratham, in the passing, from a teacher at her weekly open university study classes! Ratri was soon to hear about Biplob Mukherjee a Pratham block team member from someone in a neighbouring village, recently. Unable to find Biplob’s coordinates she found him on Facebook and connected. So, when the summer camp was being launched in Chatna, Ratri not only readily agreed to join as a volunteer to teach,

(L-R) Rakhi Chakraborty and Ratri Mukherjee

She also took it upon herself to help the Pratham team in mobilising volunteers. She insists on monitoring 30 neighbouring villages, also! Her youthful zest for adventure and a scooty to boot, makes her a great fit in our summer camp endeavour in these parts.
The class she runs in her village Shaldiha is rather large. Diminutive Rakhi Chakraborty, a graduate in Education, helps Ratri to manage the class.

Ratri and Rakhi’s class

Chatna block in Bankura is a very large block. 320 villages are spread over 12-gram panchayats. The Pratham team led by Parimal Lohar, and block resource members Moloy Mukherjee, Prasanto Mondal, Ramjan Khan, Deepak Gorait and Shampa Mandi, started mobilising the volunteers almost a month ago. 280 volunteers have been mobilised and trained in 168 villages by the team. 20 more villages will be added this week, and about 40 volunteers have been trained to start the classes. These volunteers are mostly from 10 high schools and Chatna college; 4 panchayats have also helped in mobilising volunteers.

Aliva Mondal, Moumita Mondal and Loton Mandi’s class

Aliva Mondal, Moumita Mondal and Loton Mandi of Keshra village, all pursuing a Diploma in Education, have become volunteers because of the panchayat’s assistance, so have Asmita Mondal, a NGO teacher and Barsha Das, a housewife in Metela village.
In Kullara village we encounter Gopinath Gorai, Bubai Kalindi and Tinku Singha Babu. While Gopinath and Bubai are high school students, Tinku is an SHG member of the village.
One amazing outcome of our team’s mobilization has been such diversity in the volunteers who have joined. All look very motivated and willing to chip in some form even after the month-long engagement! Even if they do not they will forever remember this experience.

Gopinath Gorai, Bubai Kalindi and Tinku Singha Babu’s class