Our students during Covid 19 times
As for the rest of the world, facing these uncertain times has had a significant impact on our students. They have all written letters about their experiences during the quarantine lockdown. We analysed their letters to identify the words they most used to express their experiences. We want to share with you this general view through a word cloud.
As you can see, most of the students felt nostalgic about all the things they were missing during the lockdown. Some of them told us that they were even missing their teachers!
Their sadness and worries were often expressed in their letters; some students and their family members have lost their jobs and lifetime savings. Most of them described what happened as unexpected and they were not ready for a situation like this. We are happy to see how resilient they all have been as well as how they have adapted to this situation as a learning experience. For most this has been a growing experience enabling them to bond and feel closer to their families: “to value my family, life, food and what is really important” has been repeated often.
How education has been affected in Bolivia?
For most of our students learning online has been difficult as not all schools and universities had online platforms or systems in place to face this kind of situation. This meant some students stopped having lessons for several weeks. As the weeks went by and the quarantine was extended, the educational institutions were forced to implement some online learning solutions. This is a more difficult issue for schools in rural areas and those that do not have the technological infrastructure. Luckily 89% of Helping Hands students are continuing their education and we hope that the rest can reassume their studies as soon as their institutions are ready and able to allow them to do so by distance learning methods.
The challenge of online education
Online lessons can be challenging for both teachers and students who have not had this experience in the past or do not have the technological knowhow. Our students are facing various difficulties, such as not really understanding the subjects online, not having computers, cell phones, internet coverage in their neighbourhoods or not having financial resources to access such services. For example, only 22% of our students have Wi-Fi at home. Nonetheless, the Helping Hands students are willing to try their best to pursue their educational goals.
Helping Hands Students Hidden Talents
Lockdown has been a great opportunity for nourishing new talents. Students have learned cooking, knitting, painting, drawing, doing handicrafts, playing instruments and others. Take a look at some of their new skills.
How Bolivia is experiencing the quarantine?
Bolivia was under a very strict quarantine for over two months. People could go out for a couple of hours just once a week and this was for the purpose of purchasing provisions only. Some of the students sent photographs of how their neighbourhoods looked like during the quarantine.
How Helping Hands has been helping their students?
Our students have managed to stay in their programs throughout these years and we feel it is of utmost importance to try to guarantee that a situation like this does not affect their progress or be the cause of them dropping out. For this reason, the organisation is doing follow ups to monitor their well-being each month and is providing support where it is needed, either to cover food supplies, basic services, access to internet, hygiene or biosecurity supplies.