- Title: Wheels on the bus bring school to New Delhi students amid pandemic
- Date: 11th August 2021
- Summary: NEW DELHI, INDIA (AUGUST 9, 2021) (REUTERS) CHILD RUNNING WITH DISH IN HAND TOWARDS BUS CONVERTED INTO MOBILE CLASSROOM BY NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION TEJASASIA TEJASASIA STAFF CALLING CHILDREN TO ATTEND CLASS TEJASASIA STAFF WALKING UP ROCKY PATH IN SLUM WITH CHILDREN TEJASASIA STAFF WALKING WITH CHILDREN CHILDREN WALKING CHILD STEPPING INSIDE BUS / TEACHER AT TEJASASIA, MEENAKSHI, WATCHING CHILDREN SITTING IN BUS BOY READING OUT HINDI CHARACTERS CHILD WRITING ON CHALKBOARD (SOUNDBITE) (English) "HOPE" SCHOOL BUS PROJECT CO-ORDINATOR AT NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION TEJASASIA, EBNA EDWIN, SAYING: "Mainly with mobile school bus what we aim to achieve is to bring education to the doorsteps, that's what we call (it) actually. When we look at the slums and all the kids, they don't have that mentality that they have to study, if you study, you'll get a better job and if that happens you can get a better future. So, we want to make them realise, like you know, there is more to where they're from and there is a better future and they can dream big." VARIOUS OF MOBILE SCHOOL BUS REACHING SLUM AREA TEJASASIA VOLUNTEERS STANDING AT BUS ENTRANCE AS CHILDREN QUEUE UP FOR FREE MEAL CHILDREN REPEATING NURSERY RHYME AFTER TEACHER CHILDREN ATTENDING CLASS VARIOUS OF BOY'S POINTING TO CHART SHOWING HUMAN BODY PARTS CHILDREN INTERACTING WITH TEACHER CHILD STANDING AT FRONT OF CLASS WITH TEACHER REVISING HINDI CHARACTERS CHILDREN REPEATING GIRL READING OUT HINDI CHARACTERS CHILD WRITING ENGLISH WORDS ON CHALKBOARD VARIOUS OF CHILDREN SHOWING THEIR WORK DONE ON CHALKBOARDS (SOUNDBITE) (English) FOUNDER, NON-PROFIT ORGANISATION TEJASASIA, MARLO PHILIP, SAYING: "Also, (we face) problems when it comes to going into a community, it's very hard to get the kids to make them understand the value of education so we've got to work with the families first, create a lot of awareness in all these places and it takes about six months to establish our programme in one location." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN WATCHING ANIMATION FILM PLAYED ON MONITOR INSTALLED IN BUS (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) 10-YEAR-OLD GIRL WHO STUDIES AT "HOPE" SCHOOL BUS, AZMIRA, SAYING: "We really like it here and the teacher comes from very far away to teach us. She teaches us all the subjects like Hindi and English. She never beats us and when we don't understand anything, she teaches us with love." CHILDREN STANDING IN LINE FOR FREE MEAL TEJASASIA STAFF POURING LENTILS ON BOWL OF RICE VARIOUS OF MEALS BEING GIVEN TO CHILDREN (SOUNDBITE) (Hindi) WOMAN WHOSE TWO KIDS ATTEND MOBILE SCHOOL RUN BY TEJASASIA, MUMTAZ BEGUM, SAYING: "I send my children to the teacher to learn. My kids have changed a lot and improved a lot after coming here, they are getting a good education and we want our kids to learn and grow." VARIOUS OF CHILDREN PLAYING IN PARK ALONG WITH TEJASASIA STAFF
- Embargoed: 25th August 2021 10:36
- Keywords: COVID-19 Delhi School Tejas Asia bus coronavirus education mobile classroom non-profit pandemic poverty school on wheels slums
- Location: NEW DELHI, INDIA
- City: NEW DELHI, INDIA
- Country: India
- Topics: Asia / Pacific,Society/Social Issues
- Reuters ID: LVA001EPU370N
- Aspect Ratio: 16:9
- Story Text:A bus pulls into a slum in New Delhi and children flocked to it holding empty plates and bowls. For the next two hours, they would be filling their minds and stomachs in the vehicle.
Every weekday four buses head into the New Delhi slums to give the children of migrants, labourers, ragpickers and scavengers a chance at an education they might not get otherwise.
Each bus goes to two locations a day, setting up an onboard classroom to give about 50 children at a time basic lessons in math, English and Hindi, along with daily meals. Ages range from 3-13, and some activity-based lessons are held outside.
These "Hope Buses" of non-profit group TejasAsia are one of several grassroots initiatives in India helping to fill the education gap caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
TejasAsia has been operating the mobile schools a few years now, said Ebna Edwin, a project co-ordinator for the group, but they have become more critical since the pandemic struck.
"We want to make them realise, like you know, there is more to where they're from and there is a better future and they can dream big," Edwin told Reuters on Monday (August 9).
Schools across the country have shut and moved classes online amid repeated lockdowns to curb the spread of COVID-19 over the past year, impacting nearly 247 million Indian children from 1.5 million schools, according to UNICEF.
Even for children in the slums who went to regular schools pre-pandemic, their families are often too poor to afford the phones or other devices needed to study online.
For others, the two hours on the bus are time away from manual labour or scavenging the landfills with their families.
"It is very hard to get the kids to understand the value of education so we have got to work with the families first, create a lot of awareness in all these places," said Marlo Philip, the founder of TejasAsia.
"It takes about six months to establish our programme in one location," he said.
Mumtaz Begum, who lives in a neighbourhood of huts in northern Delhi, said her two daughters had improved a lot after they started attending school on one of the buses.
"We want our kids to learn and grow," she said.
(Production: Anushree Fadnavis)
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