With the WHO declaring Coronavirus as a Pandemic on 11th March, and the lockdown getting implemented in India from 22nd March - the past 2 months have been centered around constantly adapting and experimenting to ensure that the students at Gyandeep have some level of continued access to formal learning and mental support.
With social distancing norms and guidelines, and prioritising everyone’s health and safety, the shift to e-learning presented newer challenges that required a multi-pronged approach. Here are some of the interventions we were able to create in the last 2 months:
1. Creating an online support for learning
(a) A parent-teacher group on WhatsApp has been created to provide worksheets with audio and video instructions to aid learning.
(b) Volunteers from Project Kilkari at Connecting Dreams have been mobilised to take one-on-one lessons with the children. This has helped ensure continued mentorship and support is available to each student.
(c) A recently concluded fundraiser has helped mobilise financial support with which device will be provided to the students so that they have continued access to learning and schooling.
2. Recreating co-curricular activities at home
(a) Making students aware of personal safety and hygiene, a ‘make your mask’ at home activity was hosted and all students, mentors and teachers participated in it.
(b) Poem recitation was conducted by both writing and audio clips and received a good participative response.
(c) An online drawing and painting competition organised by Wildlife Preservation Society received an overwhelming response, and the participation by students was also deeply appreciated.
(d) With the idea to encourage more family bonding and interaction in the stressful times of living in a lockdown, the students were asked to cook a meal with and for their family using specific ingredients, and share their photos.
3. Providing a psycho-social support system
(a) Weekly calls are organised with children to check on their physical, mental and emotional well being, and helping them cope better with the lockdown and the pandemic.
(b) 'Minds At Play' has also been working closely with children to help with their emotional well being.
4. Fund raising
The parents of students at Gyandeep typically belong to the informal work sector that has been severely impacted by the lockdown and created a major financial strain on several families. With the objective to ensure that their children do not dropout of the education system, we hosted a fundraiser to mobilise financial support to help:
(a). Provide access to devices so that the students can access the material shared by their respective schools as well be a part of the curriculum and activities conducted by us.
(b). Provide stationery support and some ration.