Covid-19 has the world in its grip and its effects are clearly visible in the Net4kids project countries. India is also in lockdown and schools have been closed since March 2020, including the Bridge Schools, which has a bad effect on the lives of the students. The pandemic has forced schools to switch to online classes. Unfortunately, these digital lessons do not reach many children below the poverty line. As a result, these students lose a large part of the education of the 2020-21 school year. This does not benefit the continuity of learning. Many children 'disappeared' from the Bridge Schools program last year. Parents who have lost their jobs or have very little income can often do only two things: either put their children to work, or move back to the villages where they come from. Since the children in the Bridge Schools do not have access to online lessons (simply because there is no computer available, let alone internet), our local partner SAVE has started mapping the children who are not in education. All 255 children were contacted by the teachers and these children were taught periodically in small groups.
About the project
The aim of bridging education is to bring children from child labor situations and from vulnerable migrant families to a safe environment where they can be received and can learn. These children are prepared for regular education by means of a bridging school year. The underlying goal is to motivate them to continue with education and not to fall back into child labor. The collaboration with this local partner SAVE is one to be really proud of. They are an authority in the region on workers' rights and tackling child labor.
Nine teachers and five coordinators did everything possible to reach all the children of the Bridge Schools during the lockdown and they succeeded. If the children cannot go to school, the school will come to them. Lessons are now taught in a very creative way: not at school but outside, for example in the neighborhood where they live, between the houses, under a tree, wherever they could find a quiet spot. This way the children can continue to learn and they do not fall behind. In addition, the children receive extra healthy food twice a month to keep them healthy.
Iswaraya is 12 years old. She has three siblings. Her father is paralyzed and bedridden and her mother works in the textile factory to make a living. Due to the lockdown, the mother lost her job. Iswaraya was obliged to carry out clothing repair work at home in order to still generate some income. SAVE staff visited the family and provided information about the work SAVE does and the importance of children being educated. With her mother's approval, Iswaraya has stopped working from home and started taking classes in the Bridge Schools.