Ever since we started Online classes at Vivekdeep four months ago in March ‘20, problems surfaced one after the other. But that is the norm and we are used to it.
The students were using their parents’ phones. And that is quite natural. At times, the recharge was not done, and sometimes the parents went out on work, with the phones. Also, there were situations when there were no signals in their phones. But we have had students whose spirits could not be dampened by such hurdles. They studied on their own, without the phones; and when either their parents returned or they got full signals, they reverted to us with their doubts. Ignited souls – that they are.
Simply feeling sorry for them wasn’t any excuse for me. I was running from pillar to post for financial help to purchase mobile devices, but there was no light in sight. Suddenly, I came across an organization in New York, who initially did not seem any different from several others I have approached earlier, without any success. I wrote to them explaining our dire need and they showed interest. Things started moving slowly.
I never realised August was such a short month. I wrote to them for the first time on 6th of Aug. As the days were passing, my anxiety increased. There were so many loose ends, and every day one new end was popping up. We could not accept the funds directly as we did not have an FCRA account ( Our application is in process). It has to come through some other route. Our budget was meagre, but the Tablet vendor was not ready to negotiate, obvious delay in delivery of consignment due to collapse of transportation system, and many more.
The climax was on 6th Sep – a day after the Teacher’s Day and exactly one month after my first communication. Everything was planned meticulously following the Covid 19 protocols and the responsibilities were delegated. Within two hours all the tablets were configured with SIM cards and distributed to the 1st batch of 11 students. We over shot by 10 minutes.
11 pairs of gleaming eyes gave us a shock of 11,000 volts. But that was a shock of ecstasy.
Fourteen Tablets more
After conducting online classes for almost a month, where our students joined using their Tablets, it was time for us to cater to the 2nd batch. The date was decided as Sunday, 11th Oct. Armed with our past experience, we called 14 students who were feeling left out till now. All the tablets were configured with SIM cards and handed over to the eager learners, but not before capturing their gratifying smiles.
All was done as planned. Now, when we face 25 young minds hungry for knowledge, each armed with a Tablet, we know our job is far from over!!
While we were satiating the mental needs of these young students, another group of our volunteers were cooking food at home, packaging and distributing them to the hungry street children of our neighbourhood.
Undoubtedly, both the activities produced a sense of immense satisfaction for us.
It was not Joy of giving. It was Joy in giving!