Pandemic Woes: Organistions join hands to reduce ‘digital divide’

Various organisations come together to provide gadgets, mentorship for underprivileged kids

By   |  Published: 21st Jun 2021  12:59 am
Gayathri Mani

Hyderabad: While the Covid-19 pandemic has made everything possible online, the education sector also saw ways to keep the learning continue through online classes. But what happens to those who could not afford a gadget or know how to use any?

That’s where different organisations decided to step in and help the children.

There was a gap of around four to five months or even more for a few children in poor urban communities to adapt to the concept of online classes, says Gayathri Mani, a transformational Teaching Fellow at Teach For India (TFI), Hyderabad.

“With the help of funds raised and some companies lending their helping hand, we were able to generate a good number of gadgets which were lent to the kids along with internet recharges. We also managed by asking people who didn’t use any gadget to lend them to these kids for educational purposes,” she says.

Along with the delivery of gadgets, teachers and fellows working for TFI ensured the children and parents understood the workings of these gadgets and educational software for regular classes. Also, these gadgets which were lent on the signing of a contract of security by parents could only be used for educational purposes and were tightly monitored as to what kinds of apps were being installed, duration of usage, and also the location of the device when in use.

“Though it took time for the shift, these children never complained. I was actually surprised at the rate they adapted to the new kind of learning,” shares Yadhunandhan, a Fellow Instructor at TFI.

As moving online breaks the barriers of being physically present, students could also choose a skill that they wanted to learn – dance, hydroponics, ethical hacking, etc, – for which specialists in those fields were roped in to mentor.

Shelter homes

With generous funds from people and with the help of fundraising events of organisations like Make a Difference (MAD) provided one gadget for four to five children and internet facilities at shelter homes to keep the education continued.

Ravi Teja, a volunteer at MAD, says, “These children are very street smart and could adapt to the change a little easily than we expected. These children support each other very well and are monitored by shelter home systems. Along with education, we also focus on skill-building of these kids during online classes.”

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