39-year-old social worker comes to rescue of 30-plus students in Ulhasnagar hamletUpdated: Sep 20, 2020, 00:54 IST
More than 30 students from a small hamlet in Ulhasnagar with no access to the new digital mode of learning are no more devoid of education for the last two months. Thanks to a good Samaritan in Ulhasnagar, these students are now being given quality education minus the electronic gadgets.
Since March, schools have gone digital, adapting to online learning to reach out to the students who cannot attend school. However, not all children have access to smartphones and WiFi.
It’s the same story for the 30-plus students from a small hamlet Asele Pada in Ulhasnagar, for whom education stopped until Sunil Ahire, a 39-year-old social worker took matters in his own hands. He started teaching the students, whose parents work as domestic help, vegetable vendors, daily wagers or auto rickshaw drivers, in his free time to ensure they get the education they deserve.
Ahire said, “Parents of these children mostly go out to work taking their phones along. Thus, there is no access to online education to these children. I work with an NGO and do most of my work from home due to lockdown. I came to know about these children missing out on online classes. So, instead of sitting at home, I decided to teach them.”
Ahire, who has a Masters in Sociology, expressed that it was difficult to convince the students to come to him or trust him.
“The students are from Classes 5 to 7, from semi-English and Marathi-medium schools. Most of them who joined my classes are girls as boys were still unwilling to give up their free time to studies.”
He took the first lecture in the open to attract other children to his classes. Two days later, seeing these classes, a villager offered them his house as he was leaving for his native. This made it easier for Ahire, as he could take classes even in heavy rains. Ahire watches online sessions of each of the children and then teach them according to their syllabus.
The parents are elated since their children started learning again. Sachin Lokhande, 36, an electrician from the village, leaves house early in the morning and returns late at night. He said, “I have two daughters. The elder one is in Class 7 and the other in Class 4. I am the only one using a smart phone. Hence, both used to skip online school. However, for the last two months, Ahire had started teaching my girls and we are happy that they are seeking education.”
Maya Sawant, 26, who has three daughters, was also facing the same issue. Her husband is into furniture business and is out most days. “The only smart phone we have is with my husband. All the three girls had online sessions at same or different times. With no phone, they were missing their classes. Now, they’ve started attending Ahire’s classes and we are happy they spend time studying,” added Sawant.