COVID-19 Second Wave Diaries: How some government authorities responded innovatively to challenges | COVID-19

 

It must be fun studying while getting to play outdoors, under the sun and in the midst of a wide expanse of fields.  The fun must double if the school boundary wall is your book and life-size illustrations are your teachers. This is what Video Volunteers’ Community Correspondent Khirendra Yadav’s report from Kondagaon, Chhattisgarh, is about.  With children excitedly reading from the walls in the background, Yadav narrates the unique initiative  by the Chhattisgarh government to educate children who are falling behind because of the lack of access to smartphones and Internet. Although there is nothing romantic about poverty and this inaccessibility to what should’ve been a basic right, this out-of-the-box thinking is seeking to plug the gap until a solution is found in which children can study in these COVID times.

Over the last year, CCs shot untold videos of some such unique initiatives touching different aspects of life during the pandemic. 

At Adro village in Jharkhand’s Sahibganj district, the district collector installed a television set so villagers can access information related to the COVID-19 pandemic and dispel vaccination misinformation from the authentic source.  Shikha Paharin’s report from the village shows people falling for every trope that is being spread against vaccination across social media and likes. Shikha’s report goes beyond the initiative and studies the impact, if at all, it has had on people. One person just refused to be vaccinated, the reason being the many stories floating across the Internet about deaths of vaccinated individuals. “Television channels don’t show such news, but it is happening,” he says. The vaccine seems to be causing deaths, fertility issues, and may cause problems in future, is what people have come to believe.  Did the initiative succeed at all then? Well, with some help from the local community correspondent, it did!

In Chhattisgarh again, for the many labourers who lost jobs during the pandemic, the forest department is allowing them to collect tendu leaves. To add to it, the workers get hand sanitizers and masks. These leaves, which are found in abundance in Chhattisgarh’s forest areas, have been a major source of income for dwellers. Rajesh Gupta reports from Raigarh, Chhattisgarh, that people are earning up to Rs. 4,000 per month for collecting these leaves on behalf of the government. Gupta’s own family is engaged in the work of collecting Tendu leaves and he knows that even though Rs. 4000 is meager, in these times anything is better than nothing.

This article is part of a series called Second Wave Diaries that documents how the COVID 19 second wave affected the lives of millions in the hinterland and highlights stories of despair, hope, and everything in between across India after their migration from tier cities and towns.  Read the other articles in the series by clicking the links below.

Economic shutdown leaves rural livelihoods in the lurch | COVID-19

ASHA workers continue fight for better conditions and pay | COVID-19

COVID-19 Second Wave Diaries: The angels who walk among us | COVID-19

COVID 19 Second Wave Diaries: Are we prepared for the next wave? | COVID-19

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