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16 Sep 2020

Bringing back the joy of learning on International Literacy Day 2020


International Literacy Day brought immense excitement to the children in the Kumbhalgarh region. For the last 5 months, they have not been able to attend school due to the Covid-19 lockdown. Seva Mandir's Shiksha Kendra's and Government schools have been temporarily closed, following the official guidelines, and teachers have only been staying in touch by phone or through socially-distanced home visits.

Seema, a teacher from Kumbhalgarh, was feeling frustrated during the lockdown, seeing children from her village go back to working on farms or roaming about in the forest areas. She was concerned that their education would once again fall to the wayside.

Identifying the issue, Seema began to work with parents and caregivers to ensure they were ensuring that their children completed the homework they had been assigned. She visited five houses every day, made regular phone calls to families who had access to mobiles, and in remote villages that were too far for her to reach, she worked with local Village Institutions.

As with most of rural India, there was concern that the number of Covid-19 cases would rise exceptionally, in part due to the large number of returning migrant workers from cities badly affected by the virus. However, the community insisted that Seva Mandir and local teachers continue to engage with their children as much as possible.

‘I want her to remain engaged [with school] so that her interest does not drop'. Shyama, a mother of a student.

As schools remained shut this year during International Literacy Day, Seva Mandir's field staff and teachers, such as Seema, visited the homes of their students, bringing learning materials and activities as gifts. They spent some time together, playing educational games, reciting poems, telling stories and singing songs.

As schools remain temporarily closed to protect children and teachers from Covid-19, one of Seema's students asks: ‘Didi [elder sister], will you come tomorrow as well?'

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