COVID-19, Children & Education
COVID-19 has affected over 12 million people around the world, causing an economic devastation since the great depression in the 1920s. It is no doubt that the children from low income families have been greatly affected. Most of them are from families of migrants and daily wage workers who make up 85% of India’s economy. 320 million citizens are below the age of 18 years in India, yet, two decades of studies have shown that less than 25% of the country’s students graduate from 10th grade and less than 10% make it to college. With this already existing crisis in the education sector, COVID-19 has posed a threat to children from the lower strata of the society.
As most schools have moved to online classes, several children from these groups do not even own mobile phones that have internet, let alone a laptop. This may push many children to drop out of school leading to an increase in child labour. Those that do attend classes, need special attention but their parents are not able to help them as they are illiterate. This pandemic has also affected children who are already receiving help from NGOs like ours. We have worked for years to create a well-structured life for children in the red-light areas of Mumbai through our night shelter, after-school programmes, group homes and change agent groups. As they have now gone back to stay with their parents in the brothel during the lockdown, many of them have fallen back to their old ways of living. Many children are also experiencing trauma as they witness their parents suffer financially.
It is important that we always care for the children at home and in the communities around us.
What can you do to improve their lives during this unprecedented time?
Pamper your child: Show your child that you are grateful for them and that you love spending time with them!
Give: Ensure other children are educated by giving to NGOs that work towards their well-being.
Mental Health: These times can be stressful for children as they try to cope with online learning at home. Check in with your child from time to time on how they are doing mentally and help them navigate through their emotions.
Smart Phone: Many children do not have smart phones to attend online classes. If you have an old phone at home, you could consider donating that to a child in need.
Small changes can make a big difference! #HopeOverFear