Due to the second Covid-19 wave that hit us this year, the majority of children in the programs of Sharana remain at home without any form of schooling/education whatsoever. For many, this has meant over 1.5 years without formal education. For most children supported by Sharana, this is often the difference between continuing education and therefore given long-lasting positive change a chance, and dropping out for good.
Unfortunately, for the vulnerable sections that we work with at Sharana, this is a huge impending risk not to mention other potential problems such as abuse, the increased workload at home for girl children, forced to seek a job to supplement the family income, and several other mental, emotional, social and physical problems.
One thing that has come into the forefront during the last 1.5 years more than ever is the power of digital content. To this end, earlier this month, we have resumed our Digital Empowerment project with 80 children(divided into 4 batches through the day) pursuing their education in government schools in Solai Nagar and surrounding areas, a slum area close to our Social Centre.
This project consists of a fully functional Smart classroom with all required Digital apparatus such as Projector, Sound System, and Subject-wise teaching material in the presence of 2 qualified teachers and 6 social workers(on a rotational basis). These sessions in the centre are being held at the Social centre class-wise for children between grades 6-9.
This programme reaches out to students without digital facilities by connecting with every student on an individual level, conducting digital classes as well as through regular visits to the field. Very importantly, at Sharana- the content covered will be Digital Media/Content that supports the syllabus covered in Government Schools so that the base is strong and clearly understood.
Our plan will stress on quality content as well as quality teaching with the human connection; since the background social and economic problems of the children we work closely with need more than just a teacher; they need someone who understands from where the students come and help them reach the heights they want to go up to. This is also the main reason for which the social workers work very closely with the teachers in this program.
We also encourage the teacher to connect with every student and to address specific problem points the child may have, ranging from lack of understanding to lack of concentration to physical needs such as hunger and good health.
All children continue to receive a healthy snack and a warm glass of milk-based health drink during each activity session at Sharana.
While we address Education through Digital Empowerment, we will also:
– continue keeping Sharana’s library program open, every day, for children above the ages of 10 to come and pick up any books, to borrow them, and take them home. They will be encouraged to read books of vernacular literature, leaf through the drawings, and care for them before returning them and taking other books.
– continue Sharana’s Art program, where children can come and create art and find an artistic outlet to release their emotions through Art Therapy as well as kindly their Creative energies.
- – address Awareness Creation via our various initatives.
– also continue our regular Outreach program into the communities we work with on a regular basis.
—- This is being done by keeping in place all needed Safe practices and Hygiene Protocols such as the compulsory wearing of masks, checking of temperature and sanitization of hands, as well as maintaining social distance.