Following the directions of Delhi Govt to close down all educational institutions in the wake of Corona pandemic, we suspended the classes at Vivekdeep effective 13th Mar 2020. However, our students were highly disappointed for not been able to come to Vivekdeep, and they expressed their anguish to us intermittently.
Vivekdeep is a Social Impact Project that we have been running for the underprivileged children of a slum in South West Delhi, for past six years.
After some deliberation, a decision was taken to start the online classes using WhatsApp. A clear instruction was given to our resource persons not to extend the classes beyond 60 mins, as availability of data packet has been a major issue with our students and their parents, and we did not want to put any burden onto them.
After a fortnight, I decided to check on how the classes were going. So, one Sunday I called the students for a short online discussion without disturbing the normal curriculum. I played some games, told stories, updated them on the current situation and gave some writing assignments to be submitted afterwards. All were thrilled to attend such a class after a long gap and demanded to have similar interactions every Sunday. I conceded and found them enthusiastically waiting for my subsequent classes.
Soon I started getting beautiful pictures of pencil stands, face masks and potted plants – all made by our students as weekly projects, in my phone. It was only when they started sending their written works to me that I realised they needed to improve upon their hand writing. Therefore, I told them to send me one para each of English and Hindi hand writing on a daily basis. I corrected their errors and found them improving gradually. They were at liberty to send me their hand writing any time of the day.
Yesterday morning when I opened Priya’s message, I was a little taken aback by looking at the time she had composed the message. It showed 4.35am ! Little did I know I was in for a rude shock. She had written :
“Sir, I am sending you my today’s hand writing now, as my papa has to go for his duty at 6am and he will carry the phone with him.”
I was speechless ! She said it all ! The results of my efforts of past 6 years in running Vivekdeep was right in front of me, but I couldn’t see it as my eyes had welled up !