The Covid Times

2020 being the year of the coronavirus pandemic, operations of DEVISE at Pudur and Muneerabad (both villages within the Medchal District of Telangana) were kept suspended due to the lack of availability of on-ground volunteers. This did not mean a total suspension of activities as we were able to initiate fellowships in the villages of Gunipally ( Anantpur, Andhra Pradesh) and Ramchandrapally (Nizamabad, Telangana). The fellows co-ordinated with us remotely; with their primary on-ground work being the distribution of our study material and conducting training sessions as far as permitted under the covid-19 restrictions.

There are three elements of our work during the pandemic

Paper Based Material

The paper based material was presented to the children in the form of bilingual (English-Telugu) comic strips. An attempt was made to deliver lessons in English communication by way of these comic strips as this format helped in presenting lessons as stories to which the children could relate and learn without much guidance and without feeling burdened as they might be in case of traditional classroom lessons. Taking in account the extremely adverse situation prevalent through out the country, it was considered important that the lessons be delivered in a manner which achieves the basic minimum of not letting children get disassociated with education. The material so prepared is sent to the fellows online and therefrom they get it printed and distribute to the children.

Nutrition Aid

With schools closed as a consequence of the lockdown, the mid-day meal program stood suspended – negatively impacting the nutritional needs of a large number of government school children. It was felt that in such a circumstance we should try to fill in the nutritional gap created by the said suspension. In order to do this it was decided to provide the children with milk and eggs on a bi-weekly basis. On average every child was provided 400 Mls of milk and 2 eggs every week. The food items were procured and distribute by the fellows.

Video Lessons

When it comes to video lessons then these were divided into levels. The level one lessons were power point presentations with narration in English and Telugu, these dealt with development of basic vocabulary by introducing new words associated with each alphabet of the English language. The level two videos explained the comic strips, again bilingually, and thus helped in clearing any doubts which the children might have had while going through the comic strips on their own. In order to ensure that the videos could reach the largest possible number of children we provided the fellow at Gonepally with a smartphone and the fellow at Ramchandrapally with a portable projector. The fellow at Gonepally was able to use the smartphone to exhibit the video lessons to a small group of children at a time and all the children over the span of a week. While at Ramchandrapally a larger group of children could catered to by way of the projector. Projector has not been made available at Gonepally as the fellow there does not have access to a computer/laptop which is required to run a projector.