Access to education has always been a challenge for under-privileged children. However, due to the pandemic, as livelihoods were affected and many families were further pushed into poverty, lesser-privileged children suffered the most.
Schools were closed, education shifted online and economic vulnerability forced many children to compromise on their education and drop out of school to engage in menial labour.
The impact of the pandemic has been deep and long lasting. While privileged children could go back to school, under-privileged children have been struggling to get their lives back to normal. Coping with the expenses of the new online mode of learning has also posed as a challenge for many.
Therefore, to ensure education for all, our campaign ‘Shiksha Na Ruke’ aims not only at bringing drop out children back to school but also in enabling uninterrupted learning for children through access to resources needed for their education.
“My father used to sell vegetables, but during the pandemic everything closed down and he was at home. It came to a point where we would eat only once a day to save enough food for the next day.
The school was shut down too, and I was not sure if I would ever go back to my studies again. Then one day, Teacher Ji came to our home and explained that from now on they will organize classes in the village temple. Only 8-10 children would attend the class at one time and everyone had to wear masks.
I had been ready to give up at that time but that visit from my teacher and the cluster classes that started happening became my only hope. Now the school has opened again, my father too has resumed work. And I am working hard towards achieving my dreams.”
Neha, Student at Mission Education centre in Alwar, Rajasthan hopes of a better future amidst the odd circumstances.
"I want to heal people.
As a child, I always wanted to be a doctor. But there is a problem with those who belong to families crippled with constant financial challenges. We can aim high but our dreams seldom get fulfilled. However, I found my happiness in singing, dancing and badminton.
We are three sisters and a brother. My father is a construction labourer. Even though money is a problem, he ensured that I never give up on my studies. When I came to know about Smile Foundation's Mission Education Centre - NeeV, they encouraged me to join.
Earlier I had very little confidence in my abilities, but because of my teachers here, I feel hopeful and see a bright future. I now feel - I can reach my goal."
Student, Smile Foundation's Mission Education Centre - Neev, Gurgaon
"Since 1st class, I have always been told that only if I study well then I will be able to carve out a better future for myself and my family.
Things have never been easy for us after my father was diagnosed with Tuberculosis. His treatment, and household expenses have taken up all of our savings.
But I have a hope that things will change for good, one day. And I know that my education has a very important role in bringing that change."
Ishika dreams of a happy tomorrow while gaining education at Smile Foundation’s Mission Education Centre - Nai Disha in Noida.
With schools shut and students at home, the COVID-19 pandemic has presented the education sector with a unique challenge. The sector has shown great adaptability to ensure continued learning.Read More
Forced to stay indoors with schools being shut down, children became one of the worst sufferers of the pandemic.