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INDIA: Ensuring migrant youth have access to remote learning


Don Bosco KISMAT ensures migrant youth have the tools necessary to access remote learning

(MissionNewswire) Don Bosco KISMAT, operated by BREADS, the Salesian planning and development office in Bangalore, India, is helping poor migrant youth in Kerala access online education during the pandemic. Payal Kumari is one young girl supported by the program.

Pramod, her father, a daily wage worker from the state of Bihar, moved to Kerala for work. As a boy, he had to leave school early and wants to ensure his daughter is able to receive an education. With the onset of the pandemic and subsequent lockdown, Kumari faced challenges. As part of a migrant family, she already faced distrust from the local population, experienced scarcity of basic goods, and had anxiety and fear over not being able to go to her classes. In addition, Kumari was challenged by a lack of technology to be able to attend school remotely.

Don Bosco KISMAT intervened. The program identified 314 migrant children and older youth who were studying in government schools and who had absolutely no opportunity to attend online classes. They were provided with smart TVs, smartphones, textbooks, notebooks, bags and food kits.

Kumari was one of the students who received assistance and has been able to finish her bachelor’s degree in archeology and history at Mahatma Gandhi University. She was one of the best students in her degree program. Kumari said, “The result I have achieved belongs to my father, who worked very hard to make ends meet and faced many difficulties in life but never wanted to compromise on the education of his children.”

Despite all the difficulties faced by being the daughter of a migrant, Kumari never lost heart. She plans to pursue a master’s degree in history and archeology and is preparing for her civil service exams. Don Bosco KISMAT was happy to be able to support Kumari in her studies and noted the young woman is a source of inspiration for many migrant children who have trouble seeing past their current circumstances.

India has the world’s fourth largest economy but more than 22 percent of the country lives in poverty. About 31 percent of the world’s multidimensionally poor children live in India, according to a report by the Oxford Poverty and Human Development Initiative. A multidimensionally poor child is one who lacks at least one-third of 10 indicators, grouped into three dimensions of poverty: health, education and standard of living.

Salesian missionaries living and working in India place special emphasis on rescuing and rehabilitating children engaged in child labor. There are Salesian-run programs throughout the country that have helped hundreds of thousands of vulnerable youth through the years, and this work continues today.



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