TEZPUR, April 15 - �Children are the future of a nation, the backbone of a country, who should be taken forward with a mission to build a beautiful world.�
With such a mission and vision, a group of Class XI standard students from Belgium recently visited Assam, trying to go deep into the problems of the marginalised children, living in some remote rural and tea garden areas in Tezpur and its peripheral areas, whose tragedies often go unheard.
The 36-member team, comprising both students studying in Class XI and their teachers from St Josephs� College, AALST, Flanders, Belgium, located some 25 km away from Brussels, after visiting a good number of schools and some rural areas and tea garden areas, interacting with this correspondent, said that it is very unfortunate that even in the 21st century, many children in the tea gardens and remote rural areas in Assam are deprived from basic education, health and hygiene etc. The students� group led by Demuynck Walter, was hosted here by a missionary organisation, �Gana Chetana Samaj,� located at Hajarapar area here, sharing the experience of working for the disadvantaged children of the society, said that marginalisation is an experience that affects millions of people throughout the world. People who are marginalised have relatively little control over their lives and the resources available to them. �This results in making them handicapped in making any contribution to the society. A vicious circle gets set up, whereby their lack of positive and supportive relationships mean that they are prevented from participating in local life, which in turn leads to further isolation. This has a tremendous impact on the development of human beings, as well as on the society at large. As the objective of development is to create an enabling environment for people to enjoy a productive, healthy, and creative life, it is important to address the issue of marginalisation,� they said adding that development is always broadly conceived in terms of mass participation.
The group visiting the region with the purpose of knowing the activities of Jesuit-run educational institutions, social and developmental centres in and around Tezpur and also to see the living reality of the people in India and specifically of Assam and help the people in development, further mentioned that marginalisation deprives a large majority of people across the globe from participating in development.
Gana Chetana Samaj here run by Father Xavier Lakra, Thomas Barla and Anup Minz has been giving Yeoman services to the marginalised section of the society. One of the students of the group, Maarten Goubert said that the culture and heritage and the climate of Assam have impressed them a lot, but the condition of the children in the rural and tea garden areas is very tragic. �After going back to our country, we will collect money for the cause of these marginalised children and send it to Gana Chetana Samaj for spending for the cause of these children,� he said.
The group urging the world community to come out of its self-centred life and see the broader world to make the world a better place, further said that without harmony among the people living across the globe, the world would never be a better place. Saying that world terrorism has created a despicable environment in the world, the students� group said that gun power can never bring peace among the people. �The world is like a big flower garden where different kinds of flowers provide one the fragrance. We will have to remain united amid the diversity among the world community,� they reiterated. The group visited Kaziranga National Park, Assam Valley School, St John School, Balipara and St Xavier�s College, Sonabheel, etc., and interacted with the students and teachers.
They said that it was very impressive for them to see students of different ethnic groups sitting together and studying harmoniously. They also visited rural areas in Missamari and met different ethnic communities such as the Boros, Nepalis, Assamese and Adivasis. They also visited a handloom and tailoring training centre of Gana Chetana Samaj at Banderhagi village in Missamari, a tea factory and Tezpur Social Service Society (TSSS) at Dholaibeel.