Thus begins a blog post by an 8th grade student at Vidyaniketan Matriculation, a private school providing a truly holistic educational experience to low-income families in Chennai. You may be interested to know that this quote from the blog is a male student's.
An average day at Vidyaniketan for these first generation learners of extremely hardworking auto-drivers, small shop owners, domestic laborers and currently unemployed parents, is filled with experiential learning in not just subjects but also environment education, preventive mental health classes, highly researched and curated art classes and free flowing PT classes! The school has made access to all these educational resources through relationships with several well-known NGOs including Teach for India.
Just when the pandemic hit, the school management was terrified about the implications of disrupted student learning such as lagging academic progress, loss of routine and discipline at home, anxiety and stress of the board exam writing kids who were going to be isolated in their homes and the biggest one of them all: risk of children dropping out of education.
The teachers at Vidyaniketan also come from the same community as the students and without missing a beat, they mastered video conferencing, google forms, power point presentations and unique teaching practices on an alien online medium over the summer and started online classes for their students. All the while worried about when the next salary will come, in order to support their own families and children. But many of the families have lost jobs, incurred high expenses for accessing healthcare services, suffered pay cuts and struggling to keep their children in what to them is "the best school".
Your donation will go towards a year's fee for 44 students from VI-XII grade and support 33 staff and teachers and about 500 parents to continue accessing the school for resources to cope with the stresses of lock downs, pay cuts and loss of jobs. Vidyaniketan has stepped up to take care of the community by doing its bit to keep the children off the streets and in virtual classrooms. It is time for us to uphold institutions of service like Vidyaniketan.
We are asking you to take a stand against children being the casualties of this pandemic and ensure that children's hands-on learning and steady march towards higher socio-economic mobility does not come to a grinding halt. Your donation will support teachers and students in taking care of the economic health of their highly at-risk families and emerge from this pandemic with optimism in others, themselves and the future with hands full of skills, knowledge and health.
PS: To read the full blog post about this 12 year old's efforts at making sure his female classmates stay in school, Click here.