Quarterly Newsletter – Vol. 1 Issue 3

Prioritising Education

The second wave of the COVID-19 pandemic has ravaged most parts of the country and our project partners are not spared either. These are challenging times, as one saw the struggle for medical support unfold in most cities, and staying safe and healthy has been on the top of the priorities. Our project partners worked extensively in their neighbourhoods in extending support to the needful. Two of the projects – Mukti and Thulir – were provided with an aid to the extent of Rs. 9.50 lakhs from Asha towards their COVID relief works.

While we can say that worst is behind us, there is another crisis that is looming ahead. Schools have remain closed since March 2020. Over the past 15 months, there is no clear guidance from various Government(s) regarding reopening of schools. Except for a brief period in February-March this year, schools have remain closed for a long time. The alternative through digital means threw open the stark reality of digital divide and exacerbated the inequalities in education.

This is bound to have serious ramifications in various social, political, and economic issues in the years to come. We are already seeing instances of school dropouts, child marriage, trafficking, and malnutrition due to lack of midday meals happening in different parts of the country. The sooner we act, the sooner we can arrest the slide.

Lila Watson, a leader among the indigenous community in Australia, once said, “If you have come here to help me, you are wasting your time. But if you have come because your liberation is bound up with mine, then let us work together.” The future depends on what we do today and this is the time to act.

News from Project Partners

Thulir: Teachers and staff from Thulir volunteered to support the Tribal Health Initiative in their efforts to contain COVID-19 in Sittlingi village and the valley around it. They helped in distributing relief material for nomadic migrants who settled in Sittlingi due to lockdown, and supported patients with tele assistance. You can read more about their work in their newsletter here.

Mukti: Mukti has been instrumental in saving lives during the COVID-19 second wave in Kolkata and in Sundarbans areas. They procured 300+ oxygen concentrators leading a consortium and made them available for free rent using their online health platform. Apart from them, they have set up several Mukti Covid Care units in remote villages. Asha has supported 3 such village units, each equipped with 2 oxygen concentrators, pulse oximeters and provided 100 medical kits for impacted families. With these three units, 3000 rural people have been supported in student communities they work with.

Mukti: Cyclone Yaas made landfall on 26th May, 2021 leaving a path of destruction in Sundarbans. Asha for Education has supported Mukti for providing 2500 dry ration kits to impacted people till Government help reaches them. Mukti has extensively worked with local farmers to revive the farmlands, flooded with saline water and to de-water the ponds in villages.

STEMland: Two research publications from STEM Land titled, “Altered traits of alumni from a collaborative learning environment” and “Building Agency in Children through Mathematics: Applying Conscious Full Spectrum Response for Developing Skills, Competencies and Inner Capacities”, have been accepted for presentation at Mathematics Education and Society Conference 11 at Austria.

Interaction with Project Partners

Discussion with Nandlal Master – Asha Bangalore invited Nandlal Master for an online discussion about his work, status of initiatives, the current situation in Uttar Pradesh, and the near future. It was a two hour discussion that gave volunteers a deep insight over his activities. You can read more about his work and the budget proposal for his fellowship for 2021-22 in the project page here.

Disbursal of annual budget – we have disbursed the annual budgetary grants for Mukti, Nandlal Master’s Fellowship, Thulir, Sita School, and Isaiambalam. You can view the budget proposals and funding details in the respective project pages.

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