As the Covid-19 pandemic struck every facets of life globally, many concerned citizens stood up as Covid-19 warriors helping out those in distressed and reaching those in need.
Mahima Singh, a student of standard VII from Singrauli’s Baidhan along with her teachers started running a library on wheels. The idea was to reach out to students with books using a scooter while the schools were closed during lockdown. The mobile library helped children with books while the students were engaged in online classes.
Mahima is a part of a group of girls in Madhya Pradesh living in far-off places, busy channelising their time and effort for the surrounding areas during the lockdown period since March.
The girls had recently participated in an interactive session organised by Child Rights Observatory, State Commission for Protection of Child Rights and UNICEF, where adolescent girls from Singrauli, Datia, Harda, Shivpuri, Indore and Tikamgarh in Madhya Pradesh shared their stories of change during the pandemic.
“We had been teaching school kids in different localities but when the schools were closed we started a campaign ‘Khoob Padho’ to instil reading habit among kids. We started a ‘running’ library with storybooks and general knowledge books for the students”, Usha Dubey, Mahima’s teacher said.
“Mahima and I carrying books on our Scooter to localities in Baidhan for kids,” Dubey said, adding that the initiative was a success among the local kids as they were interested to read these books during their free time in lockdown.
Brijjunwar Panchal, another young girl from Datia started awareness with her friends on the use of facemasks, washing hands with soap and other Covid-19 precautions. “When the testing team from Health Department came to villages, people were scared of testing. So, we went there and motivated people to join for Covid-19 testing,” Brijkunwar said. She along with the local kids also wrote slogans on walls to make the locals aware about precautionary measures from coronavirus.
“Perhaps, it was due to the awareness that no one in the village was tested positive for the virus,” Panhal said.
Many other girls started working on social causes during their free time. Jyoti Srivastava from Datia joined a movement to reduce plastic garbage from their village by collecting waste, making shopkeepers aware about polythene and encouraging locals to use substitutes.
Some girls took up the initiative of teaching kids deprived of gadgets for online classes. Radhika Kumari from Shivpuri said that there were many students who were not connected to their online classes, so a group of people including Radhika Kumari started teaching these students once every week so that the poor students don’t miss out in their lessons.
Kumari adds that the group used to follow precautionary measures including facemask and social distancing; educating the students about the practice to battle coronavirus.
While most of the girls were busy in educating and awareness practices, some of them decided to educate on gender equality and social evils.
Palak Rajput from Harda who learnt about constitutional rights during her free time, stated educating people on gender equality and against social evils including dowry.
Kranti Kevat from Tikamgarh started a support campaign for migrant workers. The local kids in the vicinity pooled in money for migrant workers who wanted to return home after the pandemic and distributed food, water and other necessities among the workers.
The group of girls received congratulatory messages and support from all around the country. Brajesh Chouhan, member of the State Commission for Protection of Child Rights congratulated the girls for their efforts and said that SCPCR will extend their support to these initiatives and recognise the girls behind these noble causes.
Child Rights Observatory said that it was powerful indeed to learn about these stories. Nirmala Buch, the President of the CRO said that she stands with these girls to strengthen their efforts and advocate for such initiatives.