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The online learning model is here to stay for a long time, and those most affected are underprivileged girls. Campaign ‘Give your used smartphone a second chance’ by Saajha will help.
When the pandemic struck the country, the education sector responded to it by going online. While our children could continue their learning through online classes; for a large percentage, this was simply not an option. And unfortunately remains a challenge.
The reason – lack of a smartphone or a digital device at home.
Can we let COVID hamper access to education for these children? Isn’t it the need of the hour to work towards universal access to education?
Here is a small effort to make a difference in the lives of underprivileged girls studying in Delhi government schools to continue their learning from home. Please join us and be a part of it.
Chitra is a class 12th student at a Delhi government school in a West Delhi community.
A daughter of house help and a daily wage construction worker, Chitra is the eldest of the three children. Like many girls of her age, she was looking forward to this crucial year. A good class 12th percentage seemed to be her chance to get admission in a good college, the first milestone helping her to break the chain of poverty for her family. But then in March, COVID struck. The school became virtual and classes online.
For Chitra and many girls like her, past 3-4 months have brought a learning discontinuity and disillusionment. It has been a period of being absorbed more in house chores and tending to their young siblings. Many are helping their parents by doing whatever they can to add to the family income. And a good percentage stand a chance to move to villages and being forced to get married. Even in the cases where parents want them to study, it isn’t easy. When it comes to hunger, feeding the family takes priority over education.
But together we can be their hope. Hence the campaign – Give your used smartphone a second chance.
A few weeks back, at a COVID response event organized by Saajha, I had a chance to listen to many real stories from the ground.
The volunteers shared how they had been providing relief to the families in the underprivileged communities- both with food as well as counselling. One thing which came out very clear was how the digital divide was real and had significantly hampered the right to the education of these children.
We decided to do something about it. Somewhere during that time, I had to switch phones as my old smartphone had been giving me a problem in call reception. And that became the seed of an idea.
What if we could reach out to people who had used smartphones in a working condition which they could donate? What if we could have a platform which was authentic, could take care of pickups, and validate phones by its expert team? What if we could make this campaign valid across all major Indian cities?
If we could find answers to all the above questions – we could then benefit many such girls with whom Saajha worked closely and who needed it in true sense.
The initiative “Give your used smartphone a second chance”, a collaborative effort of Charter for Compassion and Saajha with Cashify took shape as a result of feeling strongly about the cause of helping the underprivileged girls continue learning from home. Here is how it works-
The online learning model is here to stay for a considerable time this year. Even when the schools reopen, blended learning will continue.
Can we ensure that when we talk of education, we can cover not just the top 10% but the bottom 3% also? COVID can stop children from going to school, but together we can bring their school at home.
Please consider donating that smartphone which has been lying in your closet for long. The screen may be broken, the touch a little crippled but if it switches on and has basic functionality in place, it could help an underprivileged girl realize her dreams.
Come forward and help.
Image source: akshaypatra on pixabay
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Present - North India Lead - Education, Charter for Compassion, Co-Author - Escape Velocity, Writer & Social
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