Youth Volunteer As Teachers During Pandemic

Youth Volunteer As Teachers During Pandemic

Children from Noto Panchayat, a predominantly tribal panchayat in Mayurbhanj district of Odisha faced the brunt of lockdown in the worst possible way. Last year, the sudden lockdown led to the closure of more than a million schools throughout the country leading to disruption in education of school students. While children everywhere faced the impact of this discontinuity of their education, the situation proved to be more severe for children from remote rural areas who had no access to internet, smartphone or electricity to be able to access virtual classes.

This problem was further exacerbated for tribal students like those from Noto who further faced the challenge with regard to the language of instruction used for classes that were being broadcast. The lessons were not in the language spoken by tribals in Noto Panchayat. Hence the children could not access any of the educational services provided by the government.

This situation prompted the Dharamveer Youth Group from Prasan Chandrapur Village of Noto Panchayat to come forward and take the responsibility of supporting children from the community so that they could continue their education.    

Oxfam India’s community mobilisers facilitated the youth group to conduct meetings, discuss the situation, and finding out possible solutions. During these meetings, seven youth from the group volunteered to conduct classes for children in the community. With the suggestions and orientation by the head teacher of the school, they started the classes.

However, soon the community expressed their concern with regard to the safety of their children in the pandemic. After this the volunteers decided to hold a meeting with the community to find a solution. Two meetings were held during which the government guidelines were discussed at length. It was decided that the youth volunteers would be allowed to hold classes albeit in open spaces like park, playground and everyone had to wear masks. Sitting arrangements were to be made keeping in mind the social distancing protocols.

These classes, free of cost and in Ho (the mother tongue of the adivasi children in the village), started in August 2020 and is still continuing. The youth volunteers have been teaching 108 students between class 3 and 7. Not only do the children attend classes but participate in co-curricular activities organised by the volunteers. This has kept the kids motivated, engaged and happy all through the pandemic.

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