Wednesday April 8, 2020
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Education and dreams on wheels: Mobile Science Laboratory

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By Misbah Khan

Even in the twenty-first century, a large number of Children in India do not have the access to basic education. Children who are studying in government schools in far villages simply do not get to see much of facilities.

Most of such schools do not have libraries or the laboratories to do practicals. The presence of school is an achievement in itself.

20 years ago an NRI couple in Pune felt the need to provide these students a better chance. Thus began the campaign called ‘Vidnyanvahini’. Madhukar and Pushpa Deshpande who had been living in the USA came back to India and started this campaign. 

NewsGram talked to Pushpa Deshpande who is the President of Vidnyanvahini. She very proudly talked about the campaign. MSL, the Mobile Science Laboratory is the unique campaign under which a bus travels all over the state.

The bus usually has five to six teachers every day. The teachers are scheduled. Trust has almost 25 teachers and a properly planned schedule is kept of all the teachers.

This year’s MSL campaign finished just last week since exams of students are close now. The campaign starts every year in June.

The bus covers every village of Maharashtra. Pushpa Deshpande told NewsGram that the children take this very positively. They are taught science and Mathematics. Bus keeps all the laboratory equipment and usually, these children never have had the chance to see and use such things.

There is a TV, DVD player, laptop, projectors and wash basin. It is targeted at the students of 8th, 9th, 10th standard. The schools are selected by Vidnyanvahini on the basis of their needs, size and location.

Pushpa Deshpande further told NewsGram that most of the teachers are retired professionals and because of neither the money nor the time is an issue for them. She appreciated the enthusiasm of the teachers for the campaign and the hard work they put.

There are different professionals like teachers, professors, scientists and engineers who are connected with the campaign as the volunteers. All people have degrees in subjects related to science.

The trust gets the funds from a lot of Indians living outside the country. It has no financial support from the government.

Vidnyanvahini has all the information on its website. All the details of curriculum and the schedule of MSL visits. It deserves a lot of credit for the smooth functioning.

Vidnyanvahini is an attempt to provide the facilities to the many of the children who do not have enough resources.

Misbah Khan is a Second year B.com student. She likes to write on social and political issues.

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Focus on Your Child’s Mental Health Amid COVID-19 Crisis

COVID-19: Your child's mental health during self-isolation

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child emotional crisis
Self isolation can have a negative impact on your child's mental health amid the coronavirus crisis. Pixabay

Children and young adults account for 42 percent of the worlds population; this age group is very susceptible to entering into an emotional crisis while the world is busy containing the pandemic.

Children perceive changes in their surroundings as early as they come into this world. It is almost impossible to keep them in the dark about the pandemic, and also inadvisable.

It’s important to focus on our littlest and youngest members of society. Meghna Yadav, Head, Training and Development, KLAY Preschools and Daycare shares tips on how you can make kids and teenagers more aware.

child emotional crisis
Children and young adults account for 42 percent of the worlds population; this age group is very susceptible to entering into an emotional crisis while the world is busy containing the pandemic. Pixabay

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Provide age-appropriate information

It is not advisable to share all possible data and reports about the pandemic with children, but not sharing any information is not a wise decision either. So, the very first measure that adults need to follow is to provide age appropriate information to them. Providing facts to avoid confusion/misconceptions and explaining safety measures taken by family will help children stay focused on their contribution in fighting this virus.

‘Act like a soldier’

Children might feel helpless and anxious about the lockdown and the changes in routine. The best way to keep the positivity high in children is to provide them the feeling of being little soldiers fighting a battle, rather than the ones who are under threat. “To beat the virus, we need to stay indoors” is a better explanation of social distancing than to say, “We cannot go out.”

Social distancing does not mean social isolation

Socialising is the key for happiness of children and children may be feeling disconnected with their friends and peers while maintaining social distancing. As adults, we have to keep children socially connected with wise use of technology. Video call with friends and extended family members is a wonderful solution for maintaining human connection in the time of social distancing.

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Share the load

Parents are found to be under constant stress of not only protecting the family against the pandemic but also maintaining a work life balance in the crisis. Working for professional commitments amidst family chores is not easy to sustain for long durations. Sharing the load of household work is a win-win situation in this scenario. Asking children to help in daily chores like cleaning, washing, or mopping will not only reduce your burden but will also keep children busy and physically active while staying indoors.

child emotional crisis
It is important to take care of your child’s mental health to save them from emotional crisis and trauma. Pixabay

Know the 3 Rs

The mantra of Three Rs is found to be of great help for parents to maintain emotional stability of children in crisis.

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The three Rs include :

  • Reassurance
  • Routine
  • Regulation

Reassure: Provide age appropriate information and reassure them about their safety. Talk about ways to stay safe and keep expressing that you are there for them.

Routine: Routine gives predictability to children and this ultimately leads to a sense of control about the situation. Children might have a different routine than usual but providing a new routine through time zones like activity time, screen time, family board game time, cooking time helps in reducing their anxiety.

Also Read- Using Oats to Achieve Perfect Skin Goals

Regulate: Parents need to regulate their own emotions to teach children self-efficacy in tough times. Children keenly observe and absorb the way parents respond to changing landscapes. So, parents need to be role models for children by staying strong and calm in turmoil.

It is natural to have higher degrees of fear and anxiety during these uncertain times, but what matters most is to recognise what we can do and be grateful for what we have. Stay connected and maintain your social network while maintaining social distancing. (IANS)