The lockdown couldn’t deter 21 year old Dileswari Dharua from teaching the students at the local village school to bridge their learning gap.
At the height of the pandemic, Dileswari Dharua, a 21-year-old intermediate college student from Balangir district in Odisha began to teach academically low performing children in her village.
Locals are all praise for her effort to bridge the learning gap among children during the lockdown, and she has been hailed as a Good Samaritan for her dedication in teaching.
Phuljharan is just 10-km away from the district headquarter of Balangir, but basic amenities are lacking there. Not well off financially, most of the parents depend on the government primary school of the village for the education of their children. However, schools were shut down in the mid-March this year, as a measure to contain the spread of novel Coronavirus.
This prolonged school closure, detention at home and cessation of daily routine because of the COVID-19 pandemic have had an impact on children’s mental well-being for school children, and the so-called online education process was discriminatory to poor and marginalized students as majority of them lack a digital device to access it.
That prompted Dileswari to do something for the children to bring them back to the fore of learning.
“I realised that children are gradually detaching from their learning due to the school shut-down. One day, Lok Unnati Sangathan, a people’s collective of Balangir, was holding a meeting in our village where members were discussing about starting remedial classes for academically low-performing children. It was then I thought that kids can keep learning even during a lockdown and then became a part of their initiative,” says Dileswari.
The remedial classes, an initiative by Atmashakti Trust and its allies Odisha Shramajeebee Mancha and Mahila Shramajeebee Mancha, Odisha under the campaign Mission3-5-8, are being run in 36 villages across the district by the Sangathan where nine members from the organization along with 27 local youth volunteers are taking up remedial classes for 216 children every day.
“I feel,” Dileswari says, “education cannot wait! The Sangathan’s effort was timely and praiseworthy. Because, they feel that if these children are left behind at this crucial period, many of them may not come back to schools when they re-open”.
Dileswari Dharua lost her father in 2018 and now she has to shoulder the burden of her family with a mother and two brothers.
However, she has stood firm with her conviction to help poor children pursue their studies as she believes the importance of education very deftly and therefore devoting two-hours of remedial teaching every day for children up to class-V in her village.
“Remedial classes are proving to be useful for these children as they are learning vital subjects on English, basic mathematics, and Odia language, and improving on their learning. We are happy that Dileswari keeps our children learning during the pandemic period when government teachers should do that job and appreciate her effort as she ensures that children are not losing out on their education,” says Mr Chamar Biswal, parent of a child who attends Dileswari’s remedial classes.
Published here first.
Images source: the author
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