Trivenidevi Bhalotia College, Raniganj is situated in a semi-urban area in the heart of the Raniganj coalfields in the district of Paschim Bardhaman in West Bengal. The College has been a torch bearer of knowledge in the field of higher education since August 1957.
The population residing in the locality of the college comprises of diverse linguistic and cultural groups belonging to widely different economic strata. Trivenidevi Bhalotia College holds a place of esteem and awe in the hearts of these people.
The rear area of the college is inhabited, among others, by a number of economically challenged households. The female members of most of these families work as domestic help, while the menfolk generally engage as daily labour, whose earnings depend on availability of work.
The children of these households are enrolled in a primary school situated opposite the rear gate of the college. It was felt by some faculty members that these children should be given time and attention not only to help them with their curriculum but also to nurture their talents and make them aware of a better way of life. Thus, ‘Jiyonkathi’ was initiated on 5th January 2018. Jiyonkathi strives to instill a sense of discipline, self-confidence and self-esteem in the children that may inspire them to continue their education and thereby have a better way of life.
The sessions of Jiyonkathi are held in the premises of Trivenidevi Bhalotia College from 3.30 pm to 5.00 pm, Monday to Friday. The activities include help with regular schoolwork, story-telling sessions, elocution, singing, games and awareness programmes. It may be mentioned that Rabindra Jayanti was celebrated in 2018 with a cultural programme and a Drawing Competition in which the children participated wholeheartedly. They also presented a dramatic version of Tagore’s poem “Birpurush” at a cultural programme organized by “Udaan”, a Raniganj-based NGO, at the Chamber of Commerce, Raniganj.
Many children won prizes at this competition.
The children are being taught mainly by both current and graduated students of Trivenidevi Bhalotia College. They form the pillars of Jiyonkathi. It may be mentioned that Saikat Mondal, student of B.B. College, Asansol, also taught here. Special mention may be made of Mrs. Sumita Mukherjee, wife of Prof. Milan Mukherjee, Associate Professor of Geology, who spends her valuable time in motivating the students and giving advice to improve the functioning of Jiyonkathi. The student-teachers are paid a token sum of Rs. 1000/- per month for their dedicated, selfless services from a fund formed for meeting the expenses of Jiyonkathi. This fund consists of donations from faculty members, their families and friends.
The children enjoyed a magic show by a child magician, Apurba of Durgapur. Films like Hirak Rajar Deshe, Delhi Safari, etc. were shown to the children in the seminar room of the College.
The future plans of Jiyonkathi include the formation of a small library for the children, arrangement of more film shows and inclusion of handicraft classes.