Impact of the pandemic on children from fishing communities
Schools across India closed in March 2020 owing to the COVID 19 pandemic and there continues to be an uncertainty about them reopening. During this period, there has been a significant divide between children who can access new online modes of education and those who can’t. In addition, once schools reopen, there is a concern that the drop-out rate will rise because of the inability of children who fell behind to cover the gap created during this period. There are also concerns of a rise in child labour, with children having taken up work in the absence of school during this period.
Moreover, during this period of home isolation, children have been at a greater risk of experiencing domestic violence, exploitation, and challenges to their mental health. The situation is aggravated by lack of access to school friends, teachers, social workers and the safe space and services that schools provide. Girls faced a heightened risk of gender-based violence, early marriage and pregnancy.
The children in the coastal villages associated with us have communicated to us the sense of dread and uncertainty that has taken hold of their lives. Thus, there is an urgent need to provide educational support and psycho-social services to children in order to help them deal with the effects of the pandemic.
We, at SNEHA, intend to address these issues by strengthening safe spaces for children in the villages by organising Child Activity and Learning Centres (CALC) in each village, using the existing community centres for this purpose. The centres will serve the following functions-
- Academic support (including orientations on e-learning) with the help of two teachers per village
- Provision of educational material and study supplies
- Camps for co-curricular and recreational activities
- Counselling services as well as safe spaces for children to meet and discuss their issues
- Awareness sessions for parents and children on various topics such as child rights
- Health Check ups every three months
- Provision of nutritional supplements for boosting immunity of children
It costs Rs. 3,46,400 to organise activities in a Child Activity and Learning Centre in a single village and run the planned programmes for the duration of 6 months. Through this campaign we hope to raise funds to cover as many of the 27 villages associated with us as possible starting with a goal of Rs.48,49,600 which would cover 14 villages.
Who we are
SNEHA has been working in the coastal districts of Nagapattinam, Mayiladuthurai and Karaikal in Tamil Nadu, and Puducherry since 1984. We work to empower the fishing community to mobilise themselves and tackle issues affecting their livelihoods, with a special focus on women, children and the youth.
To know more about SNEHA and it’s activities, you could visit our Facebook page. To directly contribute to SNEHA, please contact us at email@example.com.