Across the past months, especially with the ebb of the first wave and the onslaught of the second wave, we have witnessed and felt the seeming never-ending claustrophobia of staying indoors. The challenges have intensified when we consider the poor and when we see the state of children.
As social beings whose very survival throughout the centuries has been predicated on interacting and engaging with fellow beings, staying within a cocoon – with little or no social interaction – has a negative effect on well-being. The challenges, across the year, have been many. Families across the nation and world have faced loss, grief, illness, job losses and more…
Children from poor communities have faced the brunt of the pandemic in ways that are hard to imagine—cooped up in already-cramped living quarters, with little or no engagement with the world beyond and a loss of engagement, involvement and learning.
While pauses from work and study are essential for human imagination and creativity to flourish – the pandemic and the lockdown did not allow children from poverty-stricken backgrounds to continue with their schooling, to “stand and stare” or “to watch squirrels hide their nuts in the grass” or to be out and play about or to be with their friends or to engage in the multi-faceted forms of learning that are required for the all-round development of children. How can we address these gaps as we move ahead into an uncertain future?