Youth Exposure Jalpaiguri

expo1The plan to design an exposure basically was undertaken by the youth councils at their respective areas and was finalised along with the SPAN mentors a month before 16th December 2015 when actually the team set off for DOOERS at Jalpaiguri.

Jalpaiguri as the destination was a natural choice to experience the forest and the Himalayan terrain in one hand and also to have an exchange programme with the ‘Koshish’ group, which is the Jalpaiguri based youth group mentored by SPAN at Jalpaiguri. The team of 40 youth assembled from Belgachhia, Kamarhati, Dum Dum and Barakpore on 16th December at Sealdah Station and boarded Kanchankanya Express to reach Matelli Block at Dooers by forenoon next day.expo2 The introduction between the Kolkata (the visitor) and the Jalpaiguri (the host) was anchored and facilitated by Mr. Tarak Majumder, District Coordinator. Seating arrangements were primarily made in a way to know each other each other and then a pair was made composing one volunteer each from two areas wherein each member will speak on her/his friend whom she/he had known only immediately! Having introduced to each other the youth members were found very jubilant. The energy that was generated and momentarily it appeared the host and the visitors were all waiting breathlessly to get the idea about the next actions.

expo3It was used appropriately by the facilitators and six teams were formed composing ten members in each team, which of course was a combination of visitors and host members together. The six issues e.g. Health, Education,Livelihood, RTE, Child labor and Trafficking were taken up by the six teams (one team would take up one issue only). Six situations in six tea gardens were decided and the teams were all ready to visit the gardens in the next day morning immediately after the breakfast.

The next day in the afternoon each team having returned from the gardens charged with very exciting experience and started presenting those in front of the full house of youth. The whole afternoon was extremely absorbing findings of the youth, which at a time were felt so unique, in a sense, that compilation of the same and sharing with other stakeholders might be of a great value. However, after this the Kolkata youth leaders composed of four members facilitated the Right to Participation workshop for their friends and it was equally absorbing and significant.The next day was the time to say good bye to each other and also the members from both visitors and host sat for couple of hours before that to draw a concrete plan of action as a way forward.The visitors also enjoyed the natural beauty of the tea garden setting with hills and mountains in the back ground. They also visited the ‘Gorumara National Park’ which is a sanctuary forest area. The feedback of the members were sought as a part of the evaluation which was designed and participated by the youth members only. It’s redundant to say finally that all were back home safely in due time. expo4

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