A 24-year-old woman from Telangana, S Vanaja, has taken it upon herself to tutor as many as 20 migrant children under a tree, beside an open nala, every day of the week.
Vanaja, who runs a shop near the Asian Mall Road in Hanamkonda, imparts basic lessons to students from LKG to Class III who are not able to access online education amid the pandemic. Her lessons, which she gives in the mornings and the evenings, are free.
The migrant children attending the Telangana woman’s classes are mostly from migrant settlements near Asian Mall, and their families are originally from Chhattisgarh and Maharashtra. For the past two decades, they have been living in huts constructed on government land.
Vanaja is a resident of the same slum, and has migrated from Bhongir district in Telangana. She studied till Intermediate but could not pursue her education further due to her family’s poor financial condition, The New Indian Express reported.
“My father died when I was a child, and my mother was the sole breadwinner. I had to help her run the shop. So I could not continue my education,” said Vanaja.
Due to the coronavirus pandemic, education became accessible mostly online. However, several students from poor socioeconomic backgrounds cannot afford such education and have been dropping out of schools.
“The kids I teach don’t have Internet connection at home; their parents don’t even have smartphones. Some of them also find it hard to have proper meals, as they don’t go to schools with midday meals anymore. Their families are mostly street vendors like me,” said Vanaja, whose contribution during this time is very significant.
“Whatever I learnt in my school days, I am imparting to the children. I know the struggles of their families, because I’m also like them. I believe that it is my responsibility to impart education to these children, even though I have no classrooms to offer,” she added.