For a bright & healthy future

For a bright & healthy future

Prajna Counselling Centre in Kankanady, Mangaluru, runs entirely on the concept of ‘for women, of women, by women’. It was founded by Professor Hilda Rayappan on April 16, 1987 with an aim to facilitate social and educational development of the marginalised communities. In particular, the organisation offers individual and qualitative help for exploited women and children. It was named Prajna, as the word indicates an ‘awakened consciousness’ or ‘enlightened awareness’. In tune with its name, the programmes of the organisation promote holistic development of the individual.

Since its inception, Prajna has relentlessly worked for the empowerment of the vulnerable and disadvantaged sections of the community. Till now, the organisation has touched the lives of  about 10 lakh people in Dakshina Kannada and neighbouring districts.

Hilda says, “Prajna strives to build a just society where human rights of every individual are respected and protected, and are also helped to live with dignity.”

Essential services
To enable this, the organisation has started various essential services. These
include the family counselling centre that helps prevent violent relationship patterns in families and prevent families from breaking up, therapeutic counselling to help individuals and families suffering from distress and emotional problems, an integrated rehabilitation home for addicts, a residential and multi-disciplinary therapeutic service known for its holistic approach, and the Santwana Women Helpline that provides specialised counselling, medical help, shelter, legal and police assistance and other support for women suffering mental or physical agony due to reasons such as dowry harassment.

It also has a Group Foster Home that gives safe shelter to orphaned children and children in unsafe home environments. Additionally, the organisation also runs a destitute home known as ‘Preethi Sadan’. This houses destitute, orphan, abandoned and single parent children who are in need of care and protection. They are referred by the Child Welfare Committee. Free shelter, care, medical aid, education, counselling and other services are provided for their effective rehabilitation.

Apart from these services, they have also been uplifting and empowering women and children from the underprivileged and marginalised sections of the society through various programmes such as capacity building and health camps.

They have also started a creche for the children of working mothers to promote early childhood care and education in Dakshina Kannada and Udupi districts. This creche has been able to help over 725 poor and marginalised families. They also help abandoned girl children by providing them holistic care. After a period of time, they are united with their families and are slowly reintegrated into society.

Multiple programmes
With the aim to help people become more independent and develop holistically, the organisation also provides services such as preventive counselling, treatment and rehabilitation services, legal and referral services, family education programmes. It also organises training programmes in human resource development and professional skill development, and promote and support women entrepreneurship.

It is not just the women who receive the support they need. The children, too, are helped — those who have been left in a vulnerable situation due to unforeseen circumstances. This is why they have started a Short Stay Home to provide necessary facilities like medical care, and a transit home called Chinnara Tangudhama. This home provides free lodging facilities for deprived children in the age group of six to 14 years to pursue their education and enable economic empowerment of poor women through savings and credit management groups.

The organisation conducts a computer application course that runs for three to six months and helps young, educated girls to get good employment. To reach out to more people in the community, Prajna also participates in a radio programme called ‘Bharavaseya Belaku’ on All India Radio, Mangaluru. In this programme, experts and representatives of the centre discuss various topics such as women empowerment and child rights issues with the help of phone-ins and interviews.

In recognition of Prajna’s constant efforts to provide a better life for children and women, many awards have been bestowed upon the organisation. One such honour is the Best Service Award in 2013 by the Labour Department for work in child labour eradication and child development. and the Republic Day Award in 2006 by the State government for its work in the field of women and child development.

To know more about the organisation, one can visit www.prajnacounsel.in or email at prajnacounsel@yahoo.com.

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