Our Coronavirus Response

How we're supporting our community members in Bakhel, India with access to healthcare and education during the coronavirus crisis - and how you can help

Families in need of support
Team members on the ground
Support packages, including food relief, washable masks, soap and detergent distributed
Prominent walls painted with public health messages

Our Coronavirus Response – Supporting Community Members

We are working with our local partners in India to ensure that community members in our project areas are supported. We are committed to ensuring that our beneficiaries can access healthcare and that children are able to access learning opportunities, despite changing and challenging circumstances.

Providing Primary Education

In March 2020, all schools in India were closed as part of Government of India measures to contain the spread of Covid-19. Hunar Ghar Primary School has been mandated by government officials for use as a quarantine centre.

There is much uncertainty about when schools will reopen. We anticipate that even when restrictions are lifted, there will be times when they will be reinstated to contain new outbreaks of the virus.

We are planning with our partner, RBKS, how we can adapt our primary education programme to continue to provide education to Hunar Ghar students when the school is closed and how we may need to adapt provision, even when the school is open.

A number of our Hunar Ghar team members are resident in the community, and some have been granted permission to carry out essential work as agreed with government officials and community leaders. This includes home visits to school students to provide learning materials, stationary and books, whilst also carrying out a student welfare check and even some teaching, in line with social distancing guidelines.

One challenge we face, is that most of our students do not have access to smartphones or other devices to benefit from digital learning opportunities. However, most households do own simple mobile phones. So, teachers are remaining connected remotely with students through regular phone calls.

We are closely monitoring the learning opportunities each student has access to, as well as responding to any additional needs their families may have at this time, including a need for food aid, soap, washable masks, detergent and phone credit.

Community Health Outreach

A priority at present is to ensure understanding and awareness of Covid-19 amongst community members so that people know how to keep themselves and their families safe.

We have developed and delivered training to local team members. This has covered: general information about Covid-19; actions to prevent spread of the virus; what to do if you become unwell or suspect someone has the virus; how to engage and support community members.

We have created information packs for all households to share health advice and information. These are being distributed along with support packages containing soap, detergent and washable masks.

In addition to this, walls are being painted with key messages and images at prominent sites in the communities we serve. A jeep is also circulating in the area, making loudspeaker announcements to share information. Handwashing stations are also being set up.

Mobile clinic visits to the community have been temporarily suspended, however, our Safe Motherhood and Safe Childhood Programme work is continuing. Pregnant women are being supported, in person and remotely, by our dedicated and trained community health team workers. In the past six weeks, there have been ten new births.

Improving Secondary Education

The two government secondary schools which we have been supporting through our partner Kshamtalaya are closed and end of year exams either cancelled or postponed.

We are therefore reviewing with our partner, Kshamtalaya, what learning opportunities and educational support can be provided to students now, and in the next academic year.

Initial plans include: socially distant home visits by teachers, preparation of resources, phone calls when students have access to a simple mobile, and use of a community radio station to broadcast lessons. A survey is underway to collate as many mobile contact details as possible and to check in with all households about understanding and awareness of Covid-19 and any needs students and their families may have.

How you can help – donate today

Any donation you are able to make will help enable our response to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic in and around Bakhel, a rural community in India. Thank you for your support.