Online class through zoom
COVID & LOCKDOWN time and its challenges
At the end of March 20, as COVID Cases started to be reported in India, the Indian Government ordered a complete lockdown on movement giving people a 4hrs notice only. For us, this meant that we had to quickly ensure that our children had enough food, medicines and systems in place that would keep them healthy and safe. Luckily we had a stock of grains and other dry rations combined with our own fresh vegetables so that we did not have to buy food from outside for the first two months.
The lockdown also meant that our staff could not come to work and since then we have been managing with very little staff. It has been a challenge to keep all the children engaged and busy. Things run smoothly for a while, the moment a problem arises all our resources are severely stretched. Schools are shut and we do not know when the schools will open or when they open will be it at all be safe to send the children to school.
This time has been particularly difficult for our children/youth with special needs. The lockdown and the fact that all the children are constantly at home has upset their routine and they do not get their usual dose of undivided attention. We have noticed that some psychological problems have started and we need to address them.
Addressing the challenges.
As with the rest of the world, we are also facing an entirely new set of challenges now. There are no immediate solutions in sight but we do the best we can.
The first solution has been to engage children through online learning. We are partnering with Empower (a non-profit organization) and our CSR partner SOMFY, to start online classes. We now have five computers donated by SOMFY and two with the help of the Empower Team.
The children are exhilarated with digital life. Virtual home-schooling is not only opening up new vistas for them, it is also getting them familiar with the technology of computers and their applications in a way that it had never happened before.
Below are some of the stairs they have climbed -
- 33 children are improving their English with the help of Adore India.
- 35 Children are doing their school homework & syllabus with the help of KM staff and their school teacher.
- 15 children are engaged in learning computer skills like Python & Excel with the help volunteers, Hanish & Angy
- 9 children are busy with art & paint-brushes with the help and collaboration with Art-Reach India.
- 10 children are learning to repair mobile phones. The training classes are which is again conducted by one of the volunteers called Ashu who is also an alumnus of Karm Marg
- 8 of them are busy saying "Bonjour" and learning French with the help of volunteer Mahima.
- 21 children are engaged with Aavishkaar NGO, based in Himachal -, who are trying to make Maths and Science a little easier to grasp.
- Our Differently-abled youth is too trying their hand at computers thrice a week with the help of young adults at KM I makes them less problematic and helps their self-esteem.
- Peer to peer learning is another way to engage children. The youth of KM are taking care of the younger kids' education. Children who are good in particular subjects are sharing their knowledge with children who are week in that particular subject.
Apart from these, the children are engaged with lots of physical activities like doing grading and growing their own veggies, learning cooking and baking, playing lots of different games and sports, watching interesting movies and discussing them at our movie club.
CSR Collaboration – Achievement
SOMFY foundation continued their support this year by upgrading our solar system so more power can be generated to run the home and other activities, smoothly. After living for more than two decades with frequent and long power cuts and an expensive alternative source for generating electricity, Karm Marg is now equipped with a fully functioning solar energy & hot water system which provides us with uninterrupted power.
. We don’t face long and frequent power cuts anymore.
. Children can now study during the evening and night time.
. Summers are more tolerable as a stable power source means our cooling machines run without disruption.
. Work hours are efficient and extended
Through the help of the SOMFY foundation, we move in the direction of a cleaner and more sustainable future. Thanks a ton, SOMFY foundation. https://www.facebook.com/somfyindiaofficial
A long due project to make math and science easier to grasp for our children has now become reality with the help of Avishkaar and funding from EMpower.
EMpower web believes young people are a critical resource for every country. They invest in locally-led organizations to unlock the potential of young people, to change their lives and the world around them.https://www.facebook.com/empowerweb/about/?ref=page_internal
Aavishkaar: Center for Science, Arts and Technology aims to make learning a fun and hands-on experience for all irrespective of their social or economic background. The aim of the program is to shift the focus from teaching to learning.
We are very grateful to Empower and Aavishkaar for supporting the KM children at this time when they need it most.
Reaching Out at COVID time
Many of the KM alumni lost their jobs due to the lockdown. We are in touch with most of them and are trying to find ways to deal with the problem. The young ladies who were living on their own outside had to return to KM as they lost their jobs, they could not afford to pay their rents and had nowhere else to go. We have to be there for them, to listen to their troubles and guide them where ever possible. It has been very challenging both for them and for us as well.
As you will know, due to this pandemic and the resulting lockdown, the daily wage and contractual workers have been hit the hardest. Faridabad where we are located is a hub for migrant construction and brick kilns workers, guards, cleaners and others in low paid jobs. They usually live in makeshift houses on the roadside with children left alone for the whole day. They now find themselves with no food, no savings, no income nor any viable opportunities in the near future. The hunger, uncertainty and insecurities make it very difficult for them.
With our 24 years’ experience in child care and protection, we know children run away from homes or go astray when they are hungry or feel unsafe. Sometimes even parents abandon them out of extreme poverty. With this in mind, in the last week of March, we started reaching out to nearby construction sites to fulfill a basic responsibility towards our community.
For the last three months we have been distributing dry ration packets including a onetime balanced meal, and cloth masks We also gave away cash where it was really needed. As we were working with the police to identify clusters of people needing help, we developed a harmonious relationship with the local police through sharing tea and biscuits with them. Food for the stray animal also distributed for two months.
We are proud of our team at KM who were ready at all times to reach out to these people and help them get through these difficult times.
One time balanced meal – Daliya / Khichdi alternate day
Money spent approx. Rs. 50,000/-.
Total meal served - 6000 meals
Dry ration packets( Atta 10kg, Rice 10kg, Daal 4kg, Oil 2ltr, Masala, Haldi, Salt, Sugar 2kg, Tea 500gm, Soap bar – bath 1pc / washing 1pc
Money spent Rs 2, 33,734/-
400 families (approx. 2000 adult & children)
Cash support – Rs 15000/-
Total Spent – Rs 2, 98, 734/-
We would not be able to do this without the support of our dear and loving friends who always stood with us and helped us, With their helped we generate – Rs 2, 60,818/-
Mask distribution – 450 masks (By Jugaad Team)
Money spent - Rs. 5400
Jugaad has also been hit hard by the lockdown, our income generation and skill training program Jugaad had to be totally stopped as there are no sales and no further orders. The women who are part of our income generation are now left with no earnings, we are facing a big problem to pay our team members' salaries. We are trying hard to generate some funds to sustain Jugaad for at least another six months.
Our women groups started making cloth face masks to generate some income through this.
In these uncertain times, the only certainty is uncertainty. As with the rest of the world, we at KM are facing difficult times at least in the short term. With Jugaad closed down our ability to generate money has come to a standstill. With businesses collapsing all over the world, donor spending is also expected to go down. We are forced to rethink the very basics of our operational model and look for new ways to survive. Be it learning new skills that will bring an income or reaching out to new donors, developing new fundraising platforms, or new fundraising strategies.
More than ever your help and support are vital to our survival and we look forward to new ideas as well as opportunities to raise funds.
We at KM wish you all good health and spirits in these difficult times.
Differntly Abled youth learning computer
Art reach painting class
Fruits from garden
Cotton Fabric Face Mask