Contributed by Priyanka Singh and Saumyata Khandelwal
IIT Kharagpur is known for a great many things – be the alumni across the globe leading in the industry, academia, entrepreneurship including those in India in even more diverse fields from public services to creative fields, or the R&D output of the Institute bringing transformation from industry to society – but beyond this first in the IIT system has another face, unobtrusive but telling, in the area of public outreach and social impact. One such mark of the Institute can be spotted at the Gopali Youth Welfare Society (GYWS), an NGO run by IIT Kharagpur students along with some faculty members with the support of local members from Gopali.
Started in 2002, GYWS offers free education, social awareness campaigns, skill development programs and vocational training to better the living standards of people in Gopali village and ensuring a life of dignity. From time to time, programs are conducted through various sections of the Institute to improve the engagement of faculty and students with the Gopali community. In one such initiative, the Technology Students Gymkhana, IIT Kharagpur organized an educational webinar on January 29, 2021, to celebrate the cause of National Girl Child Day.
Prof. Somesh Kumar, Dean Students Affairs and Prof. V R Desai, Dean, Faculty of Engineering and Architecture graced the occasion and shared their perspectives on the upbringing and development of gild child. The speakers focused on how educated women can create a stronger societal framework through better home care in children’s education, health and hygiene regardless of their family background. They cited women achievers from various spheres whose stories can serve as a constant source of inspiration for girl children especially those who have struggled through various socio-economic barriers or have created a significant social impact. They explored impactful storytelling of these achievers to motivate young girls to pursue the path of success which awaits them. Along with education, they emphasized the need for sports and healthy living for all-round development.
Priyanka Singh, sports official at Technology Students’ Gymkhana who organized the event in association with GYWS encouraged the girls to dream big and find their true calling in any field of their choice and achieve their goals riding on their will irrespective of their circumstances.
The event witnessed the participation of thirty-six students including twenty girl students from Jagriti Vidya Mandir, a school run by GYWS. A quiz competition was also held in association with IIT Kharagpur Quiz Club. The event was hosted by Saumyata Khandelwal, Institute Women Representative, IIT Kharagpur.