Sacrificing your life and career for the benefit of the society is not everyone’s cup of tea, it is not an easy task. It requires selfless dedication and service in the field of social work, leaving behind one’s personal dreams and aspirations. Social work is the art of listening and the science of hope. Such is the story of a man, who dedicated his life to social work in a very remote village in the Midnapore district of West Bengal.
Shyamal Prasad Jana, a man from Shahid Matangini Hazra village from the east Midnapore district of West Bengal sacrificed his career in Engineering for the service of the impoverished folks of his village.
Growing up with a joint family background, he was associated with the Ramakrishna Mission institute since childhood and was inspired by the teachings of Swami Ramakrishna Paramahamsa. He soon realised the fact that the Ramakrishna Mission institutes were mainly city-zoned with their reach within the upgraded sections of the city.
In an interview with FlairTales, he revealed that without a proper platform, no progress can be done. And this made him establish an NGO-Alinan Ramakrishna Vivekananda Yuva Sangha in 1974, along with some other young minds.
About 90% of the people in his village were educationally backward during those days. Being a student of engineering at Jadavpur University, Kolkata, he had worked in many organizations across the nation from 1980 to 1992 like in Rourkela Steel Plant etc. During his job period, he realised that he couldn’t achieve mental satisfaction through his work.
Corruption was blooming in India at that time. But, he refused to compromise with honesty. And thus, he chose to start his own organization in his village with the primary focus on education, health, women-centric-issues and environmental issues. Initially, it started with a library-Brahmananda library, consisting of around 150 books, that has now reached to an astounding figure of 4,000 books presently.Starting from scratch, it wasn’t that easy to deal with the pressure from outside to keep up with his NGO.
Affiliated to West Bengal Pollution Control Board with recognition from the Government of India, Alinan Ramakrishna Vivekananda Yuva Sangha has been felicitated with many awards over the years like Jana Mitra Award in 2004 and award for the best organization in environment promotion programme in 2007 and has created work records in several districts outside Midnapore. The NGO is also affiliated to West Bengal AIDS Control and Prevention Organization such affiliation is given to a mere of only 14 institutes across the state.
This NGO has conducted several awareness camps for the awareness and prevention of cancer, heart diseases, dysentery, thalassemia and leukaemia. It has expanded its influence over agricultural activities by encouraging the use of bio-fertilizers and renewable energy resources. One such example is of a special kind of improved furnace whose model has been certified by Jadavpur University School of Energy studies. It saves about 60% of the fuel used. Today, there are about 20,000 to 25,000 such furnaces that are mainly used in public activities like offering mid-day meals in schools. The NGO has also established over 2,000 bio-gas plants with double benefit system. Over the last 2 to 5 years, the NGO has achieved success in the field of education, culture, health and livelihood development, use of renewable energy and reduction of environmental pollution.
The most remarkable development of this NGO was the establishment of a primary school-Udbodhan Primary school in its area in 1994 with only 250 students. It is interesting to note that in 2016, around 14 students from this simple primary school were awarded gold medals in All India Exam.
Shyamal Jana now wishes to transform this primary school into a high school as the gross focus. He also added during his conversation with FlairTales, that his NGO has changed the life of a girl belonging to a very poor background who couldn’t afford the civic amenities of life, by providing her facilities of education and healthcare. And today, that girl has gone abroad for her further studies.
This humble personality has achieved all these with immense hard work and dedicated service. The real face of social service is revealed through such people who work, not for name and fame, but just to serve the commoners with a tiny ripple of hope through the non-profit organizations. And, honestly, they deserve a simple salute for their achievements.