I volunteer a few hours per week to eVidyaloka, a non-profit connecting with volunteers to teach rural Indian kids. This year, I am mentoring two kids. One is an urban kid from a private and well-equipped school in Bangalore, Karnataka. The other is a rural kid from a government school in Chachgura village in Ranchi, Jharkhand. My role is to embrace their contrasting backgrounds and mentor them to select one of the following global challenges defined by the United Nations and develop a solution.
🌟 National Student Innovation Challenge (2020 - 2021) results
Our team is selected in top 12 finalists.
The United Nations global challenges
Clean Water and Sanitization
Good Jobs and Economic Growth
Innovation and Infrastructure
Sustainable Cities and Communities
Life Below Water
Life on Land
Peace and Justice
Partnerships for the Goals
The Global Goals for Sustainable Development
Preserve Local Occupation, Art and Culture
Which global challenge the kids worked on?
Both of them chose to work on Quality Education and Technology.
How did the learning happened?
Every week there are two online sessions via Google Meet. The urban kid already has access to the internet. The rural kid is assigned an eVidyaloka coordinator who provides him a laptop with internet access for a few hours every week to attend these sessions. The urban kid is fluent in English and his native language Kannada while the rural kid is fluent in Hindi and his own native language Bhojpuri. I am bilingual and can speak, read, and write Hindi and English; I employ this skill to remove the communication barrier and teach in their chosen languages. In each session, three of us meet and discuss topics of interest in technology. They ask many good questions, and I explain to them using either videos, illustrations, slides, and text notes. After every session, the tasks are split fairly among both. The rural kid does not have a computer or internet; he takes the responsibility of sketching the concepts or a topic (he is really good at drawing) and writes the details in Hindi. The urban kid takes up the computational tasks because he is fast and efficient in the tools. The urban kid also takes the responsibility to integrate the work to be utilized in the project.
Challenges I faced ?
Since the urban kid is far ahead in his knowledge and resources than the rural kid, my initial challenge was to figure out how do we build a project where the urban kid feels intellectually challenged. The rural kid gets the motivation to learn something he never learned before.
The internet in the rural areas is not great, so the videos are not very clear.
I learned how to initiate a talk about things other than the project, which helped them open up and build a relationship. Initially, they were scared.
What did the kids developed?
They are working to develop an app that contains computer fundamentals and concepts from computer science. It serves the children from communities with minimal mobile internet at their home in the villages. They can access the app using their browser with zero installation and learn the core concepts not taught at their schools. Usually, Indian village households have one mobile at home with a slow 3G cellular network, which this app can leverage. It is free to use and is free from ads. I explain every concept in English and Hindi with hand-sketched illustrations from these kids. The reason for choosing Hindi is because it is an official language and has a broader audience. Here is the quick demo of the application developed
Where can I read more eVidyaloka volunteering?
You can visit E-Vidyaloka website and find multiple volunteer opportunities to teach the rural kids in small Indian villages and help them thrive. The goal is to have an equal learning opportunity for all kids.