Four engineers from the village of Thondaiman Oorani, Pudukkottai, have taken it upon themselves to educate the children of farm labourers who can not afford online classes because they can not afford smartphones. Engineers and civil aspirants, these four friends, Aravind, Vignesh, Bhavanishankar and Sarathas have set out to bridge the gap between the reality and virtual reality that stares at those who can afford neither of them.
The four friends have prepared a timetable according to which they take turns in teaching the students studying in different classes. 12 students of class X gather in front of their houses at around 10 am and then their class continues till 2 pm. As they leave, 28 students from classes VI to IX start their session which goes on for four hours.
The four friends started taking classes on a July morning after schools distributed textbooks. Their students are all children of farmworkers, who cannot afford to buy smartphones. The young tutors have turned open spaces into classrooms, bought blackboards, notebooks and pens for the students.
They give maximum attention to students of Classes IX and X, conducting tests every Saturday. “While preparing for TNPSC exams, we were helped by our seniors. This prompted us to help children belonging to our village,” beams Aravind.
Echoing Aravind’s sentiment, Vignesh, a mechanical engineer, says, “This is a way of giving back to society. Class VI to X syllabus is very useful for us in our Group 1 exam of TNPSC,” stressing on the symbiotic nature of the exercise.
Most of the 1,500 residents of the village are farm labourers and MGNREGA workers. “Two of my daughters are attending classes every day. I was initially very worried as we could not make them attend online classes. These youths are Godsend for parents,” says Soundaravalli, a villager.