Literacy Project :

The Literacy Project, launched in the year 1990, becomes the flagship project of ICWA.

Inception : 24th July 1989 - A decision was taken at the Core Group Meeting of ICWA to give non-formal education to illiterate children living in the slums of Patna. The modalities, form and structure were to be worked out by a 4-member committee, which was formed in January 1990. Dr. Sister Carol, Convenor, ICWA, Dr. Lakshmi Sinha, Dr. Usha Kiran Narain and Dr. Bhupendra Kalsi sat together and worked out the logistics. It was decided that the Literacy Project would be an extension of the Adult Literacy Programme that was being run by ICWA. The target group this time would be children from the marginalized section of the society of Patna.

Members of the Project:

  • Dr. Sister M. Carol A.C.
  • Sister Celine Crasta
  • Sister Apolonia
  • Dr. Stuti Prasad
  • Alumni Wing
An Action Plan was drawn up and executed in the following manner:

Step: 1 Visiting the slums in different locations of Patna and identifying the children (preferably girls) having zero literacy, with no opportunity or motivation to go to school.

Step: 2 Counselling the parents and motivating them to send their children to the nearby centres.

Step: 3 Visiting members of the public in various localities to request them to permit us to use their premises for the purpose of setting up literacy centres. The premises would be needed for an hour every evening from Monday to Friday.

Step: 4 Enlisting instructors who would be at present girl students from our member colleges.

Step: 5 Introducing the student instructors to a Non-Formal Teaching Methodology and providing Teaching Materials.

Step: 6 Literacy Centres begin to function : 20 literacy centres in different parts of Patna, imparting functional learning and phased education to around 400 children by the year 2000.


Revision Syllabus :

Dr Stuti Prasad and student member, Shikha Kumari, were entrusted with the task of designing and drafting a new syllabus for senior and junior levels in the literacy centres. Their sustained efforts produced, not just the syllabus, but also textbooks to transact the syllabus.

Orientation : In 2007, Dr. Stuti Prasad gave an orientation to the instructors of the literacy centres, guiding the student teachers in the use of the new instructional material and training in the new methodology. The instructors found the sessions extremely useful.


Prize Distribution :

To inspire and encourage the children of the literacy centres who had been put in good schools, ICWA decided to give them awards. To this effect, a Prize Distribution Ceremony was organized in 2001, which became an annual feature from then on. It was wonderful to see the transformation in the children. Dressed in their school uniforms, they looked clean, disciplined, confident and enthusiastic, as they walked up to the stage to receive their prizes. They won the hearts of the audience and were lustily cheered and applauded.

Parent-Teacher Meet :

With the Literacy Project of ICWA having made headway, it was time to organize a Parent-Teacher Meet. This was done, for the first time, on 19th November 2006. It was fruitful in the sense that it fostered in the instructors and managers greater understanding of the home situation of the children attending the literacy centres and created awareness of the many constraints under which the children lived and functioned.

Parentsí Day :

In another first of its kind, ICWA organized a function on March 13, 2003, in which parents of the literacy children who had been put in schools, were invited to gauge the school performance and progress of their children. A cultural performance was also part of the programme. Dr. V. R. Sinha, a reputed surgeon, was the Chief Guest. He was extremely pleased to see this social transformation and Mrs Sinha was happy to give away the prizes to meritorious students.

At the Parentsí Day function organized in January 2007, ICWA decided to give awards in the presence of the parents to children securing top positions in literacy examinations, in addition to prizes for the best performers in schools. Shri Uday Narain Choudhary, Speaker, Vidhan Saba, was the Chief Guest and Dr. Dipankar Datta, from the U.K., was the Special Guest on the occasion. A short cultural programme was presented by the children. It won the heart and appreciation of all. Dr. Datta lauded the work done by Sister Carol and the ICWA members, and said it was truly inspirational. He wished more could come forward, join hands and work for a social cause. Shri Choudhary said Sister Carol and her team were serving the state and the nation.

World Literacy Day :

Under the auspices of ICWA, the children of the Literacy Centres regularly observe World Literacy Day on 8th September each year. The occasion is marked by skits, nukkad, songs, poster displays and other pictorial presentations made for the occasion.

Christmas Parties :

The tradition of organizing a Christmas party for the children of the Literacy Centres dates back to 1998. The first such party was organized on the premises of St. Michaelís High School, Patna, on 23rd December 1998 . ICWA organized fun and games for the children, followed by a sumptuous meal of delicacies. Since then, the tradition has been maintained, though the venue has changed to XTTI, Digha Ghat. There, the Jesuit Brothers organize Sports and Games and supply a Santa Claus, while ICWA provides Santa Claus with gifts for the children and with a meal and delicacies for all.


If there is one project planned and implemented by ICWA, that brought about visible social transformation within a span of 10 years, it was the literacy project. After passing examinations at the literacy centres, the promising children were admitted in good schools of Patna. The fees (at a concession rate from the schools) and books were supplied by ICWA, with a very minimal contribution from the parents.. Today, many of these children, having successfully completed school education, have gone on to pursue college courses. ICWA proudly announces the names of those ( Ram Ranjan Prasad, Sanjeet Kumar, Pankhaj Kumar, Pinkie Kumari, Saurav Kumar)who have competed and been selected, or are in the process, for Bachelorís and Masterís Studies in prestigious institutions like Tata Institute of Social Studies(TISS), Mumbai; Nirmala Niketan College of Social Work, Mumbai; Certificate Course for the Hearing Impaired, Kolkatta. Others(Manoj Kumar, Divesh Kumar) are applying for seats in the College for Hotel Management, Chandigarh, or taking competitive examinations of Engineering Colleges. One student ( Raveena Khatoon), having passed B. Com. with flying colours in the well-known Patna Womenís College, is now taking a Masterís in Commerce, together with side courses leading to Chartered Accountancy. Of the very first batch, Sehana Khatoon has completed the B.Ed and is employed as a teacher. Another (Jitendra Kumar)has competed and become a P.O. in a bank. He is now supporting his siblings, who are with us, and is proud to be a benefactor of ICWA, contributing to the fund each month. This is success indeed for the ICWA !


Formation of the Alumni Wing :

The Literacy Children who had shown promise and had been put in schools, had, in the span of 15years, completed school education. Some had also worked their way up and obtained degrees from colleges. Sister Carol formed them into an Alumni Group and placed them under the guidance of Dr. Vandana Datta.

The Alumni Wing holds periodic meetings and involve themselves with the activities of the ICWA, teaching in the literacy centres and seeing to every other aspect of the work.

Each month, the group is given a session by one of the teacher members of the Core Group on a subject of special profit to them, such as Group Discussion, Facing Interviews, Human Sexuality and others.

It is wonderful to see the children grow up and shape into responsible citizens , ready to undertake whatever job is assigned to them.

Annual Day :

An Annual Day function was organized on 25th April 2006, the 19th anniversary of the inauguration of ICWA. It was held in the Multupurpose Hall of Avila Convent. Mr. Justice Ramesh Kumar Datta was the Chief Guest. Dr.S Ehteshamuddin, Vice Chancellor, Patna University, presided over the function. A new issue of Waves, the organ of ICWA, was released by Mr. Justice Datta. A short cultural programme was presented by the children of the Literacy Project. The highlight was a skit written and directed by Manish Rai, an alumnus of ICWA, and acted by the members of the Alumni Wing.