Child rights in times of Corona – A Sparsha story

The whole world is facing a pandemic unlike anything before. There’s no sphere of human activity or business that has not been impacted by the crisis. At Sparsha, we’ve always looked upon organisations and individuals around us to support all our child rights and child development endeavours. However, the current situation has rendered nearly 60-70% of our supporters helpless in extending any assistance in our efforts to protect child rights.

Crisis or no crisis, the mission of child rights and child care must go on. So, at Sparsha, we are taking all steps possible to keep our children safe and secure. For the short term, we have reintegrated a large number of children with their families, as it’s practically impossible to care for all of them during a lockdown. Children with no home to go back to or those whose parents are staying far have been accommodated in Nisarga Grama. Currently, this multi-dimensional child development centre hosts 100 children along with 20 staff members of the Sparsha Trust, including the founder and his family.

Child development – activities galore

Child rights demonstration and act perfomed on street with Sparsha underpriviledged kidsWhile the children stay isolated from the world outside, we have ensured that they don’t remain isolated from each other. To help the children lead an active daily routine, we are conducting several group activities for child development that keep them physically and mentally engaged. Towards this end, six groups have been formed, and each group has been assigned different tasks and responsibilities.

Yoga and exercise: Daily yoga sessions provide physical and mental fitness while inculcating discipline. The children clean the campus every day and engage in museum and classroom development. There are meditation and storytelling sessions where moral stories and
mythologies such as Ramayana are narrated. The children also say their prayers and sing devotional songs.

Sustainability activities: Children are taught to tend to the plants and different fruit-bearing trees using eco-friendly techniques and with organic compost made on the campus. The children get a firsthand experience of farming in a small way and proudly harvest the fruits of their labour. They also learn about the importance of water conservation by working on rainwater harvesting and borewell recharging activities.

Learning activities: Every morning, the children involve themselves in learning different subjects based on the class or standard they belong to – be it computer science, math, English, or Hindi. These educational activities take place in classrooms, the computer lab, the science lab, the art and crafts centre, the library, and sometimes even outdoors, affording children new learning experiences.

Creative activities: The walls of Nisarga Grama have turned into open canvases for the children to unleash their imagination and express themselves through paintings. Everywhere on the campus are their creations that range from beautiful Warli art forms to meaningful messages on conservation. And while they are at it, the children have also learnt to seal the cracks on these walls to prevent seepage and keep their paintings intact.

Sparsha children in annual sports competition in Bangalore playgroundSports activities: There’s nothing like a good team game to keep the children physically active and entertained. Fun games such as tug of war and musical chairs are organised in which the children and the elders alike participate. While the play area keeps many of the younger children occupied, the true sports enthusiasts indulge themselves in a game of cricket or football in the playground.

Child care in changing times

All through this tough and challenging phase, what has kept us going steadfastly on the path of child rights, child care and child development is the support we have always received from our partners and well-wishers. While the crisis has left us strapped for resources, it has also taught us many lessons.

We have realised the importance of maintaining personal hygiene both at home and outside. We have been reminded that our duty is not just to take care of our health, but also to help safeguard the society from life-threatening diseases. And most important of all, we have become more conscious of our role and responsibility in moulding our children into healthy, socially aware and conscientious citizens.