There are the naysayers, and there are the go-getters. Kunda Rajendra Dhadwad of Pimpalgaon village, Pune, is amongst the latter. She is one of those educators, who’ve steered around the challenges the lockdown brought with it, and ensured her students received uninterrupted support in their studies.
After passing her second year in degree college, she started tutoring students. For the past two years, she has been working as a teacher under Mahindra’s Nanhi Kali program. Kunda helps girls polish their skills in Marathi and Maths – two subjects that are considered as crucial as they seem difficult. With the lockdown going into effect, the little girls were unable to visit the school and study with Kunda – who uses play-way methods to make the subjects seem easy and interesting for the girls. So, the enthusiastic teacher she is, she decided to use alternative methods of teaching. She has created a WhatsApp group with the students’ parents, and shares homework in these groups on a regular basis. The students are given a day or two to complete their assignments, click a picture and share the same on the group. Since they reside in a village, it’s understood that not everyone would have access to a smartphone. So, she has also appointed a person with a smartphone to deliver messages to the students whose parents do not own one.
“We could sit and cry about the lockdown hampering our lives, or we could get up and find alternatives. I decided to do the latter because continuity in education is crucial for the future of these young girls.”
Kunda’s husband, two sons and daughter, are all supportive of her work. She says that through the lockdown, the entire family has shared the responsibility of domestic tasks, and that has in turn helped her with enough time to plan the lessons and assignments better. Her husband and she have also started to use their phones for their children’s studies.
Kunda is passionate about educating young girls and supporting them in their studies. She has been helping shape the future of 50 girls by supporting them in subjects that they find difficult. She intends to expand further, to allow more students and so they can get help with more subjects.
Additionally, she has been spreading awareness in the village about the pandemic, through banners and street rangoli, and about personal hygiene and social distancing. She is happy to have the support of the parents and the local authorities, and hopes to leverage this to spread the message of girl child education further.
Project Nanhi Kali supports the education of underprivileged girls in India, through after-school education support programs. Designed to support girls from low-income families to complete ten years of formal schooling, the project has impacted the lives of over 450,000+ girls (called Nanhi Kalis) from underserved communities across the country.