Activities on video calls to keep children from slums in Mumbai occupied during coronavirus lockdownUpdated: Apr 29, 2020, 00:22 IST
“What super powers will you use to defeat coronavirus? Would you like to share a story with the cloud:” these are some of the questions that six to eight-year-olds in some of the densest slums and neighbourhoods of the city in M ward are answering on their worksheets.
At a time when parents all over the world are finding activities to engage children during the lockdown, there are also children living in informal settlements with no means to access any open area. With an intention to help such children cope with the anxiety of the outbreak and the ensuing lockdown as well as to provide an outlet to their growing minds, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS) through its Transforming M-ward Project is engaging with around 800 children in Janata Nagar, Jai Ambe Nagar, Bhim Nagar, Indira Nagar and Vashi Naka areas of these suburbs.
“The lockdown has been especially difficult for the children who live in single-room houses in dense settlements. Keeping them indoors has been quite a challenge for the parents,” said Sabah Khan from the Transforming M-ward project.
Through its Saksham study centres, the members of the project are finding innovative ways to keep the children occupied amid the lockdown. All the activities are done via WhatsApp or video calls.
“We have divided the children into three groups according to their age. There are 15 teachers who engage with the children through worksheets, videos and group calls. Initially, we had limited it to two activities per week, but the children have responded so well that we are planning to increase the number,” said Srishti Jaitley, a counsellor from Transforming M-ward Project.
The children are also given ideas to make toys out of waste, engage in reflective thinking, write and paint about their experiences on the lockdown.