Ensuring livelihoods, education for COVID-hit poor families in Karnataka

As a fallout of the COVID-19 pandemic, the lives of poor women and children in Karnataka were adversely affected. Many of the families lost access to education following a loss of livelihood. An NGO is aiding such single-woman headed families to recover from the economic devastation caused by the pandemic. Details here.

Jyotsna RichhariyaJyotsna Richhariya   30 July 2022 2:47 PM GMT

Ensuring livelihoods, education for COVID-hit poor families in Karnataka

Children at children activity centre, Islampur galli slum in Haveri district, Karnataka. All Photos: By Arrangement

Hasina who lost her husband to COVID-19 in 2020 is the sole breadwinner in her family of six. She juggles between various odd jobs as a beedi maker, bangles seller and a small stationery shop owner to make ends meet.

"I sell bangles door-to-door and people call me to their houses if there is any function. I am able to earn around four thousand rupees in a month," Hasina told Gaon Connection.

"My younger son studies at one of the centres of VRDS [Vanasiri Rural Development Society]. They also helped me financially to send him back to government school," informed Hasina, a resident of a slum near AKG colony of Ranebennur taluk in Haveri district of Karnataka.

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Hasina's family is amongst the beneficiaries of VRDS, a Ranebennur-based non-government organisation [NGO] which was founded in 2004. The NGO works for poverty alleviation and providing financial assistance to single mothers who lost their husbands to COVID-19 outbreak.

The COVID relief project of the NGO helps 400 children to access education, 150 youth members in finding employment and also supports 2,000 families financially until they become self reliant. It also aims to extend to about 4,000 families of marginalised communities in Karnataka.

Children participate in a drawing competition at Haveri District, Karnataka

"This initiative covers four slums (AKG colony, Khateeb Galli, Bhavanamath, Islampur galli) and six villages (Rahutanakatti, Padmavati pura, Bisalahalli, Bavapur Tanda, Aralikatti, Kadaramandalagi ) of Ranebennur taluk of northern Karnataka, where one children activity centre in each locality works to educate the deprived children," S D Baligar, chief executive officer of VRDS told Gaon Connection.

Children's activity centres

In order to supplement children's education, VRDS conducted training of 10 teachers to equip them with the skills to teach children in 'children activity centres'.

"This training included awareness about the POCSO Act [Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act, 2012], child marriage, child labour acts and laws, ICDS [Integrated Child Development Scheme] programmes, Child helpline 1098, education rights of children, health, women and child welfare," Baligar said.

Gazala Banu Lohar, one of the teachers who received the training to educate children at one such activity centres in Ranebennur stated that not only these children are helped to develop confidence by participating in co-curricular activities but their school education is also supplemented by the teachers at these centres.

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"Our efforts helped in increasing the children's attendance. Also, ten per cent of the school dropouts are readmitted and are regularly going to their schools now," Lohar told Gaon Connection.

Sadia, a 14-year-old girl enrolled in the ninth standard, agreed with her teacher and stated that her English grammar skills, mathematics, and drawing skills have improved due to the activity centre.

"Learning at the activity centre is fun and very interesting as compared to the government schools," she said.

Forty Two Girls receives financial assistance to continue education in Haveri district, Karnataka

Buddy4Study, a Noida-based NGO which works to extend scholarships to needy students, has provided Rs 690,000 for these activity centres. Also, they donated the amount of Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 to 42 underprivileged girls studying in classes 10th and 11th respectively.

"This helped in their education as they bought textbooks, notebooks, and could afford a nutritional diet," Baligar, the CEO of VRDS told Gaon Connection.

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