Carving an identity through education

Photo 1-Samuel teaching students at his home

The COVID-19 Pandemic has resulted in the closure of schools in most of the country and Jhabua too is not untouched by its impact. The state education department of Madhya Pradesh has made efforts to minimize the learning loss through digital platforms but its relevance in Jhabua cannot be overstated considering low literacy among parents and poor digital penetration in the district. For mending learning gap among pupils of primary grade, Samavesh has started an initiative called Hikwanu Aanganu (The learning courtyard) where our team trains youth for engaging children productively with the use of child-centred approach and also mobilizes resource in the form of books and posters. We are presenting one such story of a youth from Padalwa village of Ranapur block.
The idea of Hikwanu Aanganu was discussed with teacher Shree Shyam tailor by Ashok Mehadiya of Samavesh. Teacher readily agreed, and that led them to make a joint effort in locating a sincere and educated youth in the village who could implement this plan for benefitting children. It was not too late before they were approached by Samuel Vasuniya who expressed his desire to teach students. He learnt from one of his friends that teacher was looking for some college student. Teacher on his part to check the resolve of Samuel, reiterated that it will be completely a voluntary task. Samuel was not doing this for any emolument, he told them “I have just completed a BA and pursuing Bed. In future, anyway I am going to be a teacher so why not to gain the first-hand experience by teaching children of my village? Moreover, this will help me in establishing a new identity in the village. Since then Samuel is regularly guiding students from class one to eight at Padalwa Hikwanu Anganu centre.
It started with 4 students three months back and currently benefiting around 15-20 students each day. During a visit to the centre, Ashok from Samavesh observed that learning level of Maths among pupils was not up to the mark, and it was then, that, Samuel was trained in activity-based teaching to enable students in grasping the concept of number, place value, addition and subtraction. Ashok demonstrated the methodology to Samuel and students alike in the first three visits, since then youth is doing it effectively all alone, with little of our inputs.
The library books provided in the last phase of ALSS Program in Padalwa school have been relocated to this centre, students have a greater choice in books. Bhili language book More sore hu hikiyun is also being used to link language with child immediate environment. Samuel’s effort is reflected in the learning level of his students, in the most recent visit, Samavesh team noted improvement in learning level of students compared to what it was three months back when the centre was first established.
His work has drawn appreciation from various corners. Besides the parents and villagers, the centre has been visited by CAC and BAC alike. They believe that such youth should be awarded, their recognition will have a contagious effect in cluster and block. It will inspire more such educated youths to use their time productively and to carve a name of their own in society. On 5th September, teacher’s day, Samuel was felicitated by teacher and villagers for doing a commendable work in educating children during Pandemic.
His wish of carving a niche for himself seems to be fulfilled. The recognition has motivated him to continue good work with added vigour and four other centres have come up in vicinity taking a cue from Samuel’s effort.