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Original illustration by Devanshi Daga

Edited by: Ananya Khandelwal

              It is 4:30 in the evening, Ashokans wind up their classes and head towards the main gates. No, not to the dhaba or for a smoke! It is to meet the Neev children from Asawarpur. Neev is a club which provides children of the nearby village with an opportunity to develop knowledge, critical thinking, life skills, arts and open their minds to the world and its many exciting treasures. Ashokans teach the children Maths, Science, English, Computers as well as dance, crafts and music.

              At the gates, the children’s big grins and bubbling enthusiasm is infectious. As the Neev teachers approach the gate, the kids yell excitedly, calling out to their teachers and exchanging greetings. The Neev classes can be tiresome, but they transport the teachers to another realm, a world where they can forget they belong to the Ashokan world of rigour and delve into the life of a child – carefree and blissful. Apart from teachers, the content and the outreach team of Neev work very hard to ensure that the classes are engaging, interesting and beneficial for the children.

               Neev believes in continuous engagement and teaching, and  ensures that there is no gap in their learning. COVID-19 has hit the world hard, disrupting the lives of numerous people. The most affected have been the economically and socially weaker sections of society. Lack of access to the internet, medical services and daily essentials has pushed them into a situation of precarity. The children at Asawarpur are also one of the sections of people who are more socially and economically vulnerable . With schools going online, many are unable to keep up with their academics. This is a critical situation, especially in a country like India where everything that you learn and every  opportunity that comes your way decides your future in the competitive world.

              The pandemic has not dampened the spirits of the Neev members, for they have come up with an innovative solution - Online classes through videos!!! If you give a thought to it, wouldn’t it be lovely to see our school teachers making fun, activity-based videos for us?

              In this model of teaching, once the curriculum is decided, the Ashokan teachers are required to make videos of them teaching the content, using as many games, images and activities as possible to disseminate the information in a creative and engaging manner.

              There are a few important aspects of Neev’s idea that will hopefully prove fruitful. In every content created – whether it is “The water cycle,” “Indian Independence,” “Synonyms” or “Movement Therapy,” the videos address important real-life issues such as respect towards diversity, gender and caste. The aim is to create more understanding and awareness about these issues. Sitting miles away from the Asawarpur kids is sad, but technology beckons us to utilise it for the benefit of spreading knowledge.  A group of dedicated peer mentors will reach out to the students through video calls or normal calls and interact with the children to gauge their reception of the curricula, activities and any other general issues that may face due to the pandemic. The peer mentorship programme is also another significant feature of Neev’s project. The aim is to provide the children with a comfortable space to air their views, feelings and thoughts.

              The plan has been put into action, the curricula is being designed, teachers are making videos and fundraising activities have started for furthering the cause of educating the youth of India. Progress and a successful virtual project are what is now hoped for.

A hearty cheer to Neev and their students!!


A hyperactive, soft spoken, quirky girl. When not immersed in work, Upasana is dancing, reading about food, travelling and daydreaming.
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