Historical evidence has shown that children are forced to drop out of schools when pandemics or natural disasters occur. Covid has forced all schools to close down and classes are now conducted online. Online education however, is not possible in remote places like the tribal block of Kurai in Southern Madhya Pradesh. Online education is not an equitable form of education as it needs access to smart phones and Internet. Our organisation, Agrini, has been working with government school students to make education more interesting by using experiential learning tools and also operating a community-run school in Kurai since ten years in the area. Schools had to stop its regular classes in March because of the nationwide Covid lockdown and since then children are losing out on their education. Kurai's local economy has suffered due to Covid and a lot of our children's parents have lost their jobs. Agrini believes that not having a smart phone should not come in the way of a child's learning, which is the child's Constitutional right. We at Agrini, are therefore raising funds to create a door-step education program for children. We need 20,00,000 INR to produce and print study material - worksheets, books and stationery and deliver this to children living in Kurai and six nearby villages for next session. The program will also provide on-call support to children. We need funds to pay salaries to our teachers who are constantly innovating new ways to develop study material and provide telephonic support. We also need funds to maintain the school's building and infrastructure even when it is not in use.
The situation has become dire as a lot of Agrini's funds were spent in helping local people who were suffering from repercussions of the unplanned lockdown. Thousands of daily wage earners lost their livelihoods and were left helpless without any economic safety nets. To help such families survive the lockdown, distribution of ration, essential goods, medicines were carried out by Argini's team in Seoni district. Around 10,000 people (1800 families) have been reached by this effort. Around 5000 sanitary pads were also distributed in these 1800 families. Apart from the effect on local people, there was a daily exodus of hundreds of migrant workers crossing NH-7 on cycles, motorcycles, trucks and even on foot trying to reach their home states. Agrini’s team actively arranged and distributed food and water for around 15,000 such people. Agrini spent a lot of money on these activities from its corpus and is now facing a fund crunch in developing study-from-home materials.
We need to do all that is in our power to avoid children from dropping out, for no fault of their own. Even the smallest contribution can help us reduce this drop out rate and enable children to continue their education in the best possible way during a pandemic.
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