At present, India has a total of 28 States (Major Provinces) and 8 Union Territories (Smaller Provinces). In terms of area, it is the seventh-largest country in the world (3.287 million km²) and is the second-most populous country in the world after China. At present, India has a population 1391 millions. Tamilnadu has a population of 78.5 million. Tamilnadu is constituted by many villages rather than cities. The income of Tamilnadu people mostly rely upon agriculture. Last year Covid 19 affected many people. So government announced full lockdown from March 22, 2020. New situation started. On the one hand people had to get commodities for living and on the other hand people had to save themselves using various techniques and medicines. The hand-to-mouth living people suffered and struggling hard to earn money for their livelihood. The situation of children became very pathetic. Schools and colleges were under lockdown and remained closed for months. Teaching was done online. Since this teaching methodology is very new to Tamilnadu people, participants faced problems. For smaller children of illiterate parents it was very strange and difficult. Rich families provided smart phones to their children. But poor families could not provide smart phones. For teachers too, this online teaching methodology is very new. Thus the learning process was totally affected. This is the general situation in the first wave of Covid 19.
With the support of sponsors we distributed books, note-books and other school materials for the children. This helped the children physically a lot. Our academic year is 1st June to 31st May. We managed to teach online. It was partially good. In the mean time government announced that 9th, 10th, 11th and 12th standard children should attend classes in the school by giving physical presence. This situation started from January 9, 2021. Unfortunately, it did not last long because of the second wave of Covid 19. Since the schools could not finish the academic year 2019-20 by conducting final examinations in April 2020, Government declared all pass for the children (except 12th standard. Because they had already written some papers previous to lockdown announcement) and they were promoted to the next class. But the lockdown continues.
Situation of Island of Hope orphanage in Virudhunagar
The children of this centre are studying in the local schools and colleges. Due to pandemic situation, they remain closed. Further, government directed all charity homes to send the children to their families/guardians temporarily until further orders. Accordingly, we made arrangements with the families/guardians to keep the children temporarily in families by giving financial support for giving food and accommodation. However, few children could not be sent to families. So they are living in the home. We are happy to announce that all our children are safe. All kinds of precautionary support, sanitary support and school materials are given to them. Also we have given the name list of the children to the respective local authorities to get the children vaccinated. At the moment children are in the summer holidays. But college girls are attending regular online classes by staying in Island of hope. They are going to write exams online from 25.05.2021. Government’s teaching program through TV channel is not successful. In the mean time government announced compulsory pass to all children without writing exams so that they are deemed to have been promoted to the next class with the exception of 12th standard. Government has decided to conduct exam for 12th standard later.
Situation in Ave Maria Centre
Ave Maria Matric Higher Secondary School remains closed due to pandemic situation and lockdown. Next academic year begins in June 2021. Lockdown may continue. We have to arrange online classes to the children until physical attendance is allowed in schools. Online classes can be followed by the children who have smart phone. We have sent gentle instructions to the parents to make arrangements for their children to attend online classes at their level best. Further, our teachers are making neighbouring group system to make all the students participate in online classes. At present they are doing the grouping work so that the children who do not have smart phones also can participate in the classes from June 2021 onwards. This is the situation of our child development projects. Only the care takers are living in Ave Maria Home.
At present the following are our challenges.
1. We have to follow and support the children of our homes from here.
2. Parents of school children don’t have income sources.
3. Books and note-books for the new classes to be supplied.
4. Salary to be given to the teachers who handle online classes.
We are very grateful to the sponsors who are supporting our child development projects by their generous donations continuously. We thank Energia per i diritti Umani for taking all possible efforts to support our child development projects. We assure ENERGIA of our fullest cooperation in the selfless service being rendered for the children. Thanking you.
With love and unceasing gratitude
S. Peter Raj, General Secretary