A Kerala's school novel initiative to impart education to homeless children living under a bridge in Kochi brought a new lease of life to the economically deprived lot and also redefined humanity.
With the unprecedented surge in coronavirus cases, many schools across the country resorted to online classes to ensure that the education of the students remains unaffected. While such a method was conducive to fight the ongoing COVID crisis, it brought with it new challenges. For many economically deprived families living a hand-to-mouth existence, it was impossible to avail smartphones to make sure that their children can continue their classes. Thus, as a result, many children had to let go of their education.
However, When the state government announced the launch of virtual classes via the 'First Bell' program on June 1, officials of St John Bosco's Upper Primary School ensured that a group of seven children with no proper roof above their heads are not bereft of the right to education.
The seven students belong to nomadic fishing families, who hail from Mysuru and live under Vallarpadam Bridge on the outskirts of Kochi.
In a report by The News Minutes, Elizabeth Fernandez, the principal of the school was quoted saying "At least three teachers have been going to the Vallarpadam Bridge since June 2. The teachers download the previous day's virtual classes on laptops and play them for the students. Every day, for over an hour, the teachers sit with the students and make sure they understand the lessons,".
The principal added that it was after a lot of convincing that the families had agreed to send their children to school and they did not want the coronavirus to disrupt this, thus they decided to bring the online classes to the children itself.
"Though only seven children from the families had been attending the school, when we go there, there are other small kids too. The parents are usually out fishing and the kids are alone there. So while one teacher teaches one section, other teachers help to keep the others engaged as well," said one of the teachers in a report to The News Minute.
However, with the arrival of the monsoon, the teachers are hopeful to be assisted by the local authorities and the state in getting a secured place to teach the children as due to rains, water is likely to collect under the bridge where their current classes are being held.