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Read the latest news on the Covid-19 impact at TARA :TARA stands strong, by Basanti Caroline ROUBLIN, Executive Director of TARA.
Discover the message from the Executive Director of TARA in May 2021
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We asked Shruti, the Child Welfare Officer at TARA Boys, to share with us about how the end-of-year exams went:
- Shruti, could you explain us how the exams were organized?
So, the exams took place online and went well. The children were a bit stressed beforehand because it was the first time they had to take tests in this particular configuration. We helped them in their preparation and were very pleased to see how well they were able to adapt. Concretely, once their exams were written, they needed to convert them into PDF and upload them on applications such as Google Classroom or Microsoft Teams. The smaller ones in class 5 got used to filling out questionnaires on Google Form during the year, so they were well prepared for this exercise.
- Is there any positive developments in the children’s behavior that you would like to share?
There was a strong solidarity between the children, for example, the older ones often offered their help and monitored the younger ones during the online classes. We are very touched by this fraternal support that is a part of TARA’s values.The online schooling has also fostered progress in computer sciences. We can now see at TARA Boys the pre-teens explaining to the elder ones how to create a PDF and the teenagers sending their suggestions, doubts and complaints in very formal emails addressed to the staff! Thanks to a good team coordination and an efficient organization, we managed the entire academic year in distance learning. The unity of the team and the children created a motivating, dynamic and reassuring atmosphere, which made the academic year as smooth as possible.
In India, the academic year ends in March. Hence, we started the new academic year online as the opening of the schools has been postponed due to the COVID crisis. The children placed in TARA homes are enrolled in private schools that were able to set up online education, allowing a real continuity of learning. Government schools in Delhi, on the other hand, have been closed for more than a year and do not offer online education. We are deeply concerned about the children whose schooling has been suspended since the beginning of the pandemic, like the children we look after in TARA Outreach Centre. The team at the day-care centre is working hard to ensure that the children continue to learn, progress and are reintegrated into school as soon as it opens its doors.
OUR MAIN CHALLENGES TODAY
ENSURING THE FINANCIAL SECURITY OF OUR PROGRAMS
At this time of crisis, a number of companies are no longer able to support us. Our fundings are severely impacted and we call to everyone’s generosity to help us get through these uncertain times.
ENSURING EDUCATION TO ALL THE CHILDREN
In March 2020, schools closed for 320 million children in India. An alarming majority of them have no means to access online classes, which puts them at a higher risk of dropping out. In Delhi, in April 2021, schools have not reopened.
In TARA Homes, our social workers, caretakers and teachers have been committed to turn online education and life under lockdown into a healthy routine. The children have been getting the support they need to adjust to this new way of learning. This has enabled them to stay on track and continue being at par with their schoolmates.
In the mean time, since the reopening of TARA Outreach Centre in October 2020, one of the main challenges is to minimize the gap in school curriculum that was caused by the lockdown and continue to provide education to the children.
In these exceptionally uncertain times, TARA’s team has shown its unity and dedication to provide the children with the education they deserve. Everyone is well aware that the children’s education is key to a bright future, and hence must not be put on hold.
OUR ACTION DURING LOCKDOWN
KEEPING OUR CHILDREN’S HOMES RUNNING
As we had anticipated the lockdown we were somehow able to adjust rapidly to the new circumstances. Thanks to the dedication of the staff, the children felt safe and could continue to learn and make progress.
PROTECTING AND KEEPING IN TOUCH WITH THE CHILDREN OF OUR DAYCARE CENTRE
For more than two months, the 90 children who usually came to TARA Outreach Centre were confined with their families in extremely precarious conditions. Our outreach social workers and teachers committed to staying in touch with them with regards to their health and safety. We talked to the families over the phone several times a week and provide guidance whenever necessary. Since the government schools have been shut down indefinitely, our teachers took the initiative to provide the children with study materials to keep them engaged with their academics. The children responded wonderfully and this brought hope as inequalities are on the rise.
We have distributed dry rations and fed around 300 people on a weekly basis for a few months. Beyond the humanitarian aid, we have also raised awareness about the virus and the safety precautions one must take to safeguard oneself and their families. Our team has remained in close contact with the community with regards to monitoring health issues and the risk of domestic violence, which as per multiple studies, has been on the rise.
How to protect your child computer from adult content
Internet is a wonderful platform for children and it can be used for different academic purposes like research, online learning materials, etc. The Internet can also be a risk for children through access to various online e platforms. During the lockdown, Internet Safety has become the need of the hour as children started using many online platforms for their educational purposes. The risk for online access of inappropriate content, fake or inaccurate news cyberbullying, etc has increased. To keep the Internet safe for the children, at TARA we enabled the parental control system in all our devices. Also, children’s screen time is monitored by the staff members.
Partners who gave us a rapid support to respond to this challenging time: