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With one mobile in the house, learning was a farfetched dream for some children in Pune. That quickly changed after Bal Raksha Bharat’s intervention in the first surge of the pandemic. Unfortunately, the story repeats itself in the second surge.

When tabs replaced books in a school in Sortapwadi, Pune-Pallavi’s joy knew no bounds. Nine-year-old Pallavi knew that it’s no more her Bhaiya’s privilege to have access to gadgets for education. Even though she missed her classes for around a year during the first surge, she was confident that she would quickly catch up with the resources available on the tabs.

Before school reopened on January 2021, Bal Raksha Bharat academic support fellows would also come to their village for administering tab-based learning in small groups. The interactive resources were much more helpful than her school WhatsApp groups which she could only access on her father’s mobile once he gets back from work late at night.

The gender inequality in education made an ugly appearance during the pandemic. According to UNESCO, the lockdown in India has affected 158 million girl students, impacting their dreams of a formal education and of better lives. A survey by a Delhi based NGO added numbers to this disturbing reality. Family attitudes and biases impact the time for girls to access a digital device. Only 42 percent of girls surveyed across 29 districts have access to mobile phone for less than an hour in a day.

Pallavi, one among the 42 percent of girls found her dreams turning into reality on those tabs. With easy interactive modules on the tabs, mathematics, environmental science, history, and other subjects appeared easier than ever before. Pallavi was ready to roll when the second surge happened. With schools closing down again, learning has become a farfetched dream for Pallavi again with no access to digital learning in house.

Like Pallavi, the second surge induced school closure has shattered dreams of many girls who do not have any digital means to continue learning. They don’t know whether they will ever be able to get back to classrooms as discontinued education will impact the learning levels which is likely to increase chances of dropping out.

Bal Raksha Bharat with support from Norton Life Lock, provided 100 tabs and other ICT based materials and educational kits to ten ZPPS schools in Haveli block of Pune to aid ICT based learning in classrooms through age-appropriate learning modules. The initiative covers more than 3000 children from these 10 schools with focus on girls.

Children at the Centre of COVID’s Second Surge – Your Support Matters

As the Coronavirus tsunami sweeps cities and towns across India, the vulnerable children who already grappled with issues like lack of education and healthcare, compromised safety and abuse, are at a high risk of suffering even more. The pandemic threatens to reverse the gains made for children and jeopardizes their future gravely.

Bal Raksha Bharat is geared up to respond to this unprecedented emergency and will be reaching 1 million children and their communities. Our response will cover providing Oxygen Support, COVID Care Kits, Hygiene Kits, Food Baskets, Education Support, Livelihood Support and Psycho-social Counselling. We cannot do this alone. Help us reach those in real need by making a contribution DONATE NOW.

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