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“We believe that the various problems that the society faces have a common error source that is lack of elementary education. Everything else is distributed out of the same, poverty and over-consumption, unemployment and agricultural crisis, social injustice and middle class apathy, health and environmental degradation, and so on. Hence the approach to address these should be holistic, and we at VIKALP believe that the youth can play a pivotal role bringing about a change” - THE VIKALP TEAM

Despite India’s spectacular economic development, millions still have to go hungry; live in most unhygienic conditions, without even basic education for their children; and die of diseases that can be prevented. What is needed is to build a strong civil society that should work in tandem with the government in making a difference in the lives of those who are in need.

The students at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi University initiated the Vikalp program in 2008, with a small team of thoughtful and motivated students, whose main aim was to bring about an overall social change in the society. Today the program has reached a point where more and more people have chosen to become a part of this program. That the program has become successful beyond everyone expectations is best illustrated by the observations of the sophomore students of B. Tech(CSE) who say “VIKALP … an alternative , this step taken by the SMVDU family to provide education to the underprivileged children , has played the role of a candle in their dark lives”

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Vice Chancellor - Prof. S. K. Jain

Patron - Vikalp

Education as a tool of change and as a source of positive energy is desirable for any society to progress in the right direction. Deprivation of such an opportunity is sinful and criminal lest the potential lost is irrecoverable. Efforts made by any educational institution of educating the needy and deprived as an additional responsibility contributes towards the noble cause of spreading knowledge and awareness. After all lighting a candle allows other candles to be lit and requires only a helping hand to spread light all around.

Vikalp has been an expression of social consciousness of high order amongst those who have chosen to illuminate the lives of the deprived in the neighboring villages adjoining SMVDU. In the current phase of its initiative Vikalp has been able to make an imprint even if a small one. It would be desirable to maintain a record of its works meticulously and follow up those who benefited from this effort. Showcasing of this noble cause would inspire others to replicate the model. Ascertaining quality improvement through feedback from its students would help the coordinator and his team of faculty and students to provide value addition to the programme. It has been a wonderful experience to observe young associates of Vikalp from villages participating in several cultural functions of SMVDU. Their involvement in sports and cultural activities would help in their overall development. It is indeed a challenge to establish credibility and a meaningful role in shaping a holistic personality of currently underprivileged sections of the society around us.

I wish the volunteer students, staff and faculty of SMVDU a bright future and the Vikalp a long and healthy life ahead.