It was a calm Sunday morning in Mendukuli village, one of the remote areas in once Maoist-dominated district, Malkangiri, in the eastern Indian state of Odisha. Cutting through the calmness of the morning, chants of 20-odd highly enthusiastic children were reverberating in the village community centre. They were learning backward counting through a song while around 40 others were busy doing their class-appropriate studies.
It was the picture of a learning centre set up by the villagers. Mendukuli under Dalapatiguda gram panchayat in Mathili block is one of the few tribal-dominated villages, where residents took upon themselves to compensate the learning loss of their children incurred during the school closure due to the Covid-induced lockdown.
A coordinated approach
“We are not alone. School teachers, members of the School Management Committee (SMC), parents and civil society members constantly support us in this endeavour,” said Jhunubala Maharana (19), a village girl. She was appointed by the community people as Gaon Mitra to teach the children in the learning centre, along with another local resource person (LRP).
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