A big thank you to everyone for their support of this project over the last few months.
The number of people infected with the new coronavirus continues to rise in India, with daily infections exceeding 360,000 on April 28. A curfew has also been imposed in the state of Telangana where the project operates.
In the village, before the second wave hit, schools resumed in February and March for those in grade 6 and above.That also meant our bridge school was allowed to reopen and children returned to the classrooms.
Today, I would like to share with you the story of two siblings, a 13 year-old sister and 11 year-old brother who both returned to our bridge school from mid-April. I asked a staff member of our partner organization to connect me to them and we talked via video call from Japan (hence the poor quality of the images).
They had previously worked in the cotton fields and only started attending the bridge school in 2019, when the school was closed in March 2020 due to the covid-19 pandemic. Whenever the staff conducted home visits to their house over the past year they would be asked, "When will the school open again?”
Since the school reopened in March, they have been going to the bridge school every day. They told me that they are just happy to be able to play with their friends now. But they can't play together in large groups. They also told me that they have to wear a mask. “I have to change my surgical mask every day, so except for the days when the teacher gives me a surgical mask, I use a cloth mask that I wash myself. The tailor in the village makes the masks”.
The virus has also changed their lives in other respects. They can no longer travel outside the village, and the festival that they were looking forward to attend was cancelled. When there was no school, they stayed at home every single day to take care of their family's chickens.
“During the school closure, I studied using a home study kit provided by the PEACE-India project. My big sister also showed me her school notes on Telugu and English words [the official languages in Telangana state]". She went on to say, "I am sad because I can't see the people I want to see and I can't live in peace. I am sad. I wonder why the coronavirus came to us.”
Thank you for your support. It has allowed us to help these children during these unprecedented times. We will continue our operations while taking countermeasures against the spread of the infection.