School Girls Takes COVID Awareness to Slums

By Tulika Bera

For last one year, the entire world is struggling to overcome the COVID Pandemic, which has so far claimed many lives destroying every structure, starting from education, economics, health-care, corporate and many more. In the process, we have learnt that awareness is the only key to stop the virus from spreading.

Taking the lead, Kolkata based non profit organisation Calcutta Rescue has taken up the initiative to reach out to the slums located mainly in North Kolkata and make the slum dwellers aware about the importance of wearing mask and using sanitizer. In this task, school going girls from these slums are imparting training and creating awareness among their neighbors and fellow members.

Calcutta Rescue runs two educational units, particularly in Tala Park and Girish Park area of North Kolkata. For this project, the non profit organization has trained ten girls and five of them are out everyday, these girls are studying in the educational units of Calcutta Rescue and belong to these two areas. They are being briefed and trained to cover one area each day. Accordingly, these students are reaching out to the slum dwellers and are imparting the message of how and why to use masks and sanitizers.

The brain behind this initiative is Ananya Chatterjee, the School Administrator of Calcutta Rescue. Speaking to News Sense, Ananya said, “The idea took shape, when we started a study to evaluate the awareness about COVID19 among the people staying in these slums, so we choose our students who stay in these slums. To our shock we found people are not at all aware of the importance of wearing mask and use of sanitizer. So we decided to take the help of these students in the awareness campaign, it will continue till May, also if required we may stretch it till the year ends.”

When asked about the risk of involving these students in the slums for awareness, Ananya said, “We take necessary and mandatory precautions, including assembly of people maintaining social distance, also the students who are delivering the awareness in the slums, divide themselves into groups. Each student gathers five people to talk and make them understand the necessity for masks and sanitizers. Moreover, the awareness campaign is done under strict supervision of two of our staff coordinator from our education projects

Calcutta Rescue is enlivened by Dr. Jack Preger who was a proponent of street medicine. He dedicated his life in lending his hands for the poor in the city slums. This organization now caters to plenty of facilities like vocational training, healthcare, social support, but the most significant is the educational section.

From a very tender age, grouping from four to five years, the organisation absorbs children as their students after a preliminary screening and educates them. With a proper pre-school curriculum, the organisation trains these students in every aspect and at the age of six, the students are shifted to government aided schools.

The organization ensures the entire education and medical care of the students including two nutritious meals a day. Till the age of nineteen, these students go through medical screenings every six months. After the pandemic hit the world vibrantly, these processes are all overseen online.

Everyone can grow equally in life and slum dwellers are no exception. The project not only breaks the difference but also throws light into the lives of people living in difficult conditions, helping them grow and spread their wings.