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The second wave of Covid-19 and lockdown came with an opportunity for education for the elderly residents of a remote village in Manipur's Kamjong district.
About 20 elderly persons between the age group of 66 to 79 of Chatric Khullen village, located about 40 km from the Kamjong district headquarter, started learning English words and other subjects during the second wave Covid-19 lockdown. The village has over 100 households and a population of 600 and is 15 km away from the Indo- Myanmar border.
They are learning to write their names and other words for the first time. They are also being taught numerical from one to 1000.
This unprecedented access to education was possible after the initiative was taken by a non-profit trust Gemson Haorei. Sorinthan Haorei, a member of 'Gemson Haorei Trust', is trying to introduce the elderly of the village to the world of literacy.
"When I came back from Delhi, I found most of the senior citizens are living alone here. As their children got married, they moved out from here. Loneliness is affecting their mental and physical health. So, I am trying to create a friendly and fun environment for them as well as trying to give them mental satisfaction," Haorei said in a report by India Today. He adds that out of the 20 elderly persons, only one had passed 4th standard rest never went to school.
Gemson Haorei was a social activist and Sorinthan Haorei's father. He mentions in the India today report that this trust was formed by him in the memory of his father to continue his goals of providing basic education in the village. Furthermore, he has started a school named Oasis Academy for students in his native village in February 2021.
The classes started on May 3 at 6 am. Since most of the villagers are farmers and engaged in agricultural activities, only 20 can regularly attend the classes. The classes are open to others whenever they are free, mentions Sorinthan while speaking to EastMojo.
"Learning is never too late. Most of the elders live alone or most of the time in solitude, so these classes create a friendly and fun environment as well as give mental and social well-being," said Sorinthan to EastMojo
The initiative has earned Sorinthan, the villager's trust, and blessings. EastMojo reports a resident and student Langzarphy Wuidui, 66, saying, "I had never thought that we would get such an opportunity to learn the alphabetical letters and numeric. We have benefited a lot from this Trust. May God bless him (Sorinthan) and his Trust." Another elderly student, Ringaila, 79, expressed her happiness and excitement over the learning activities undertaken during classes and blessed Sorinthan. The students also include his 70-year-old grandmother Shoknaola Hungyo who in an attempt to show what she learned says, "My name is Shoknaola, I am fine thank you, I am 69 years old"
The village is one of the Covid-19 free villages. A single positive case was not detected in the village in the last year as well. As Covid- 19 cases rise in the state those who travel out of the village enter only after showing the COVID-19 negative test report and non-villagers are not allowed to stay or halt at night in the village.
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