Online Classes during COVID-19 for underprivileged kids

Shantanu Sharma

I am Shantanu Sharma, a 22 year old, B.Tech student. I am associated with social activism for last 4 years now, working on ground level to bring a significant change. I work in the field of education for underprivileged children who reside in slums and rural areas.

My other initiatives involve Menstrual Hygiene Management workshops, Technical and Health Awareness Workshops, Rural Skill Development and Online  Drives against Sexual Abuse.

Currently, I run a voluntary social service group named Udgam Classes in slum an rural areas of Meerut city, India. We are dedicated towards education and overall development of the children in slums. It's been 16 months in Lal kurti area slums in Meerut and worked upon kids who earlier used to work as rag pickers, balloon sellers and beggars. The children are between the age group of 5-13 years and many of them had no basic education. To develop the very feel of education among the locality, we organised counselling and awareness programs for the parents and children as well. We started teaching them last year in April. Starting with regular basic academic education classes with a lot of interactive and fun play sessions, including drawing and craft classes. We also opt for creative methods such as audio-visual classes, dance classes, more drawing classes, singing and lot more. Gradually we focused on both academics as well as overall development. We got them admitted into schools and continue to guide and assist them with all the resources required for education. These classes are held daily Mon-Sat and even on Sundays with a pinch of an event and fun workshops.

Due to this COVID-19 pandemic, the schools are  now running online classes all over India but a large section of underprivileged children is devoid of resources that are minimum required for online classes. They lack mobile phones, televisions and internet accessibility. Education of underprivileged children is suffering a lot due this lockdown and pandemic situation. Same goes with the children we teach in slums areas of Lal Kurti, Meerut city. These children live in slums and we got them admitted into schools and teach them daily through voluntary classes with  Udgam Classes, a voluntary social service group. I along with one of my friend volunteer Kajal Gupta, are running online classes for the kids in slums areas of Meerut city for more than 2 months now. We have arranged mobile phones, speakers and all the study material for the kids. Everything is arranged. We teach these kids daily in evening and make sure their studies don't suffer due to pandemic. 

We teach them on WhatsApp video conferencing and with the help of elder students and calling them up we collect all the children in the class. We are familiar with their syllabus so we teach them online and regularly help them cope up with their studies. We also provide them audio visual classes through cartoon videos. To develop their interest in online classes we opt creative methods like drawing classes and small interactive game activities in which we try to built up their interest. We are trying our level best so that the education of the children is not hindered due to the pandemic. The children in these are area don't have access toa basic amenities like water, proper shelter but we have always made sure that they are provided with ample resources for quality education. We are working with full dedication to bring on ground significant change and be the beacon hope for the children in this pandemic darkness.

Online Classes in slums