Monday, 30th October 2017

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Teachers reach out to pupils in need in Calcutta

Most of the students are children of daily wage earners living in tiny houses with their family members

By Jhinuk Mazumdar in Calcutta
  • Published 1.04.20, 2:18 AM
  • Updated 1.04.20, 2:18 AM
  • 2 mins read
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The school has been helping some of the families financially. Representational image from Shutterstock

Teachers of a school for underprivileged children are calling up students to address their apprehensions at a time when they don’t have enough to eat and their parents can’t go out to earn.

The one question that every teacher of Future Hope School calling the students has been facing is “kab khatm hoga (when will this end?)”.

“Mentoring is the most important aspect of child development and parenting and more so in such unusual times. These children do not have anyone at home to tell them why this is happening and one call from the teacher can reassure them and lend psychological support,” said Sujata Sen, the CEO of Future Hope.

Most of the students are children of daily wage earners. living in tiny houses with five, six, or at times even more, family members.

In one home, the mother — a widow bringing up two daughters and a son — could only buy grocery that will last a couple of days. The woman goes door to door, selling clothes for which customers pay in instalments. “She had asked the grocer to give some items on loan but was refused,” a teacher who spoke to the mother said.

The son, a Class XII student, was reluctant to share the family’s plight but the teacher suspected that they needed help and spoke to his mother.

Out of work because of the lockdown, many are afraid they will not find employment even after the restrictions are lifted. Most have little or no savings.

The school has been helping some of the families financially.

Sen has created a record book where teachers make note of their conversations to help the school authorities understand the family’s needs.

The teachers have been calling up to 200-odd day scholars aged five to 21.

“We talk to them to reassure them that this is a temporary phase and it will pass. We are also conducting online classes but many do not have money to recharge their phones,” said Samrin Mumtaz, the middle school coordinator.

Psychologists said it was important to reach out to people, especially those in need, in such trying times.

“The marginalised feel isolated and rejected and under such circumstances their insecurity increases manifold. It is important to talk to them because they need positive thoughts. Positive thoughts will also give them the energy to fight this crisis,” psychologist Ishita Sanyal said.