The Covid-19 pandemic has changed the way children learn. The lockdown has pushed learning from schools into homes. Technology has played a major role in ensuring that education remains unaffected during this unprecedented crisis. While this holds true for the privileged children, the lockdown has effectively halted learning for children from rural areas and low-income urban households.
To ensure that education of the street children remains unaffected during the pandemic, Delhi-based NGO Wishes and Blessings has launched its ‘Street to School’ programme online from this month.
“When we opened centres after a period of eight months, in January 2021 we realised that our kids living on the streets and slums had already forgotten basic concepts; book knowledge was far behind,” says Dr. Geetanjali Chopra, founder-president of Wishes and Blessings.
“Last year when the pandemic struck, all our centres had to abruptly shut down and there wasn’t any way to continue providing education to our kids. This year again, due to the rise in cases the centres had to be shut, however, we decided to continue the training, guidance and counselling through the online mode. The shift was executed keeping in mind the need to ensure that the education of these children should continue as smoothly as possible, even during the pandemic,” adds Dr. Chopra.
The NGO, which operates its day care centres in Okhla and Vasant Vihar, Delhi enrolled the children for online education and divided them into groups of three on the basis of age, and each group was assigned a teacher in charge. Currently, modules are shared via Whatsapp groups and cover all formal subjects as well as art and craft activities. The teachers of Wishes and Blessings share videos explaining the lessons and then worksheets are assigned to the children, which the students fill in and then send back via the groups.
“In scenarios where children do not have access to the internet, the questions are either shared by children who do have access, or they sit in groups and complete the assignments together,” adds Dr. Chopra.
The Wishes and Blessings team coordinates with the teachers to curate learning modules that ensure that the children are engaged in academics. This involves continuously adapting and evolving the curriculum to capture the students’ attention. At the same time, the teachers are also undergoing training to equip themselves with the skills required to cater to the needs of their students. The teachers also hold one-on-one sessions with children who require additional guidance and counselling during these tough times, and support them emotionally as well.
Currently, 85 children are being guided towards a brighter future through the ‘Street to School’ programme in the Vasant Vihar and Okhla neighborhoods of Delhi.
Wishes and Blessings NGO launched its ‘Street To School’ programme at its centres in Delhi-NCR in 2016 and has been able to successfully prepare its children for formal schooling. The students have excelled not only in academics but have proven their capabilities in non-scholastic pursuits as well.
Wishes and Blessings is a Delhi-based NGO with presence across four states – Assam, Jharkhand, Tamil Nadu and West Bengal. Founded in 2014 by Dr. Geetanjali Chopra, the organisation works across the spectrum of society cutting across age and gender barriers on diverse causes including education, health, skill development and humanitarian aid and relief.
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