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With only one Coronavirus positive case as of 1st April, the people of the state of Jharkhand are taking all the necessary precautions during the outbreak of this virus. Helping them in this effort is Bal Raksha Bharat’s programme and on-ground team. Most of the villages are located far away from one another and are remotely accessible. Our on-ground teams are ensuring that the rural population of the state is made aware of the 22nd March ‘Junta Curfew’ and the ongoing 21 days of lockdown to stop the disease from spreading further.

To undertake this mission, Bal Raksha Bharat’s special field staff personnel called Academic Support Fellows (ASF) swung into action. ASFs look after the task of ensuring that every child goes to school by motivating children and parents. They worked along with Anganwadi Workers (AWW) and reached out to individual families in these remote villages to generate awareness regarding the Coronavirus epidemic.

The field staff ensured that people were made aware of the various ways to protect themselves and others from the disease. With schools and Anganwadi all closed, the teams have also requested the parents to engage their little ones with guided learning at home using household items and even by using the ‘Ready to Learn’ corner box. The ‘Ready to Learn’ corner box is a Bal Raksha Bharat concept in which a box holding various engaging tools and learning materials is used by parents.

To ensure that people follow all government-prescribed instructions during the lockdown, our team connected with the concerned villages Sevika Didis (Anganwadi workers) over the phone along with the Manki Mundas (local tribal leaders). The Munda and the Manki were informed in detail about the lockdown in the country. Our team discussed at length about the need to inform everyone in the respective villages. People were told to cooperate with authorities, follow government protocols, and help each other in these difficult times.

Dissemination of this information is essential as a lot of people in the rural parts of Jharkhand do not have smartphones. Also, the penetration of mobile networks in interior villages of the state is very poor. A lot of people have basic and simple phones because the battery of such phones lasts longer, and hence one does not have to worry about charging the phone every day when electricity is not available full day.

Ensuring Children Continue Learning in these Difficult Times
Out of the numerous villages that our teams have reached out to, Gadahatu village (in Bambebesa Panchayat of Tonto block in West Singhbhum District)is one village where mothers are ensuring that early learning is still happening at homes amidst the lockdown. Many mothers like Shuru were contacted through Anganwadi Workers on the phone and explained as to how they can help their children continue learning. Shuru was guided to help her child, 5-year-old Madehi continue learning during these times.

The mother is ensuring that the child learns new things at home. She has been advised to gather items that could be used to teach the child within the home. These were items like small stones and sticks, big and small leaves, and plastic cans. With these things and with some dry food items, the mother is helping her child to identify things, colors, shapes, etc.

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