“Give a man a fish and you feed him for a day; teach a man to fish and you feed him for a lifetime”. This is a famous proverb often quoted when speaking about social work. The real social work is to help individuals, families and communities to enhance their individual and collective well-being by helping to develop their skills and their ability to use their own resources and those of the community. The best way to develop one’s skills and ability is to give support for education. SAFI standing for the integral development of individuals and communities always gives priority for educational activities. Beginning from giving financial assistance for primary education, SAFI has now moved to professional education, job-oriented trainings, and career and skill development.
1. Professional Education Scholarship Scheme
Under this scheme SAFI give financial support as scholarship to students who are brilliant, but financially poor for their professional education. Usually students who pursue studies in engineering, nursing, pharmacy, management studies, etc are being supported. SAFI also helps students to choose educational institutions where scholarships are available and recommend students for the same.
2. Entrance Coaching
Coaching for different entrance examinations is another area where SAFI intervenes with a sincere desire to create professionals. Every year SAFI provides free entrance coaching to 25 brilliant, but economically backward students with thanks to Prof. P.C Thomas. SAFI through these programs has been able to remarkably influence the lives of many young people in building up a good life for them and their families. With thanks we would like to acknowledge the fact that a good number of these young people when they are employed contribute to SAFI’s education scheme.
3. Career and Skill Development
It is the choices that people make in their lives that make difference. Students are sometimes unable to make right decisions in their lives when coming to their higher education, either in choosing courses or educational institutions. SAFI conducts career guidance seminars every year for students to motivate them and help them to make right decisions regarding courses and colleges for their higher education.
a. WINGS (Way to Inspire New Generations)
‘WINGS’ is a program for the integral development of young people who play an important role in social development and nation building. SAFI introduced this program to provide training to young people for personality and skill development and strengthen them to capitalize the opportunities around them. Under this SAFI introduced Job-Oriented Coaching program in 2011. For an individual, good job ensures economic stability and a good living which will lead to the development of family, and society and in turn that person becomes the part of the nation building process. It is with this aim that SAFI started career coaching to people who were planning for competitive examinations like PSC tests and bank tests. The coaching is not merely with academic in nature; rather value based training is being imparted to participants as the society today needs people with values like justice, sincerity, concern for others, cooperation etc. By this program we,
♦ Empower the youth to face competitive examinations
♦ Ensure the information for job opportunities
♦ Conduct career guidance seminars
♦ Provide qualitative trainings in various subjects
♦ Help them to develop self-reliance and self-confidence.
♦ Promote to develop social values
‘MAZHAVILLU’ is another program introduced targeting the school students, especially High School and Higher Secondary students. Under this we provide counseling services to students of the schools in the operational area of SAFI. Social Workers cum Counselors visit schools and meet with teachers, parents and students. The important activities undertaken are:
♦ Personality development programs
♦ General health awareness classes
♦ Orientation and training classes for teachers
♦ Motivation classes for parents
♦ Awareness classes on prevention of drug abuse
♦ Regular counseling services
♦ Career guidance classes
♦ Formation of ante-drug cells
♦ Involvement in the activities of science clubs, literary and arts clubs etc.
4. Special Education
a. Ashanilayam Special School
Social Action Forum Irinjalakuda being an agency engaged in the service of the poor and the marginalized give much importance to the rehabilitation and training of individuals who are mentally challenged. SAFI has effectively intervened in this area by establishing schools for the mentally challenged. Ashanilayam Special School is the first of its kind which was established in 1998 at Kottanellur, to train children and adults who are mentally challenged. The students are given training in activities of daily living, self help skills, horticulture therapy and vocational training, in addition to elementary education. Students are also given ample opportunities to participate in different arts and sports completions at state and national levels. The school which was started as a rehabilitation and care centre has now been brought under the department of education of the state of Kerala.
b. Santhome Special School, Kodungallur
SAFI started its second special school, Santhome Special School at Edamukku, Kodungallur on 21st April 2014. The school is established with a vision to train individuals who are mentally challenged mostly belonging to the coastal area of the diocese. The academic year was officially started in June 2014 in an existing building considering the demands from the community. The construction of the school building is under progress.