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  • Writer's pictureTheresa van der Merwe

Welcome back, dear children!

We are hopeful that the pandemic is ending soon as most people in India are now vaccinated against the virus. The impact of the pandemic is very much seen in key areas like the economy and education. Children in our care were sent back to their families in March 2020 due to the pandemic and the consequent closure of the schools. Learning activities have been badly affected despite serious efforts by the government and schools to reach out to students via online classes and telecasting lessons. Though the overall economy shows a strong recovery, the situation of people dependent on daily wages and various other forms of manual labour has been hit hard by the continued lockdowns and suspension of work in major construction and infrastructure projects.

We initiated catch-up camps in most tribal villages in our project area and informally brought the children together to help them continue their learning activities. This way, we helped them sustain their learning spirit during the schools’ closures. The programme reached 246 children in sixteen of the villages TORP support. Our primary school teachers worked in their own villages and were able to provide an education for 84 children. Such commitment is a real testament to Goodwill teachers who know that it is education that so often is the vehicle to changing an individual’s life. We saw the positive impact of these efforts when the schools and colleges reopened. There was a tremendous response from the children and the school attendance is remarkably higher in our project area compared to other schools in the near vicinity. The Goodwill Homes reopened on the 7th of November and more than 90% of the children returned by the 15th of November.

We cannot underestimate what the impact of missing such large chunks of education will have on the future lives of our children and how very important health is to ensure they really will be able to flourish in the future. It is for this reason, that our Christmas Appeal this year is to raise funds to support our Catch-up Camps for Health and Education so that we can continue to provide regular health checks for all our children and students and to put in place continued catch-up-programmes, focusing on literacy and numeracy skills. We hope that extra support will help close the educational gap that will have inevitably developed due to schools being closed. [extract from winter newsletter]

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