Supported by: Wipro
Sahodaya Trust – impact of COVID
The year of the pandemic had most of us almost fully locked in our house, place or village. We couldn’t go out and interact much with the external world outside our village. We still enjoyed our work and lives, as we live and work, with minimum requirements, at a remote place surrounded by forest areas. Our activities, at home, farm, nearby forest, and village, still range widely.
We feel we have been doing better in terms of children’s number, quality, and pace of engagements, activities, and bounds of happiness. Children, especially the ones who have been living with us for last one or two years, have shown remarkable growth in terms of their active sensitive involvements with study, household activities, farming activities, community, and natural environment. Though a lot of work needs to be done, we feel happy and satisfied:
- When children study on their own at any time at any place inside the premises during the day, and interact with each other to learn their subjects (apart from the fact of children enjoying learning textual subjects and learning fast)
- When children enjoy doing household, farming, and ecological activities collectively, without any discrimination on any socio-linguistically constructed basis.
- When children take care of the plants and animals, and request the visitors not to harm any part of the plants or any animal.
- When children like Harsh or Sunil draw pictures and write stories about conserving nature and environment. Harsh wrote a story about two elephants saving the forest.
- When children converse, sing, and write songs in their own native tongue.
- When three and half year old daughter of Rekha and Anil, named Umang, cleans her own utensils, clothes, sows seeds, waters the plants, and even covers her stool with soil in the field.
- When children enjoy playing with natural materials like mud, wood, leaves or used materials, paper, slipper, or metal container, and playing traditional collective games like kabaddi, chhua-chhui (run and catch), chhuppa-chhupi (hide and seek), jhhudi etc.
- When children try to reduce the possibility of harming or hurting their friends, in any way, and admit their mistake when they hurt anybody unknowingly; and even ask for ‘punishment’ in the daily evening meeting, sometimes taking it themselves (like not playing or speaking for some time).
- When children look after each other’s health by preparing warm water for the wound, herbal medicine for fever or giving oil massages for the sick friend.
- When children enquire about anything lying unattended including money, and return it to the friend who lost it, or give it to Anil and Rekha.
- When children treat and speak about Sahodaya not as a school but a home where we learn, live, and do all activities together.
- When more birds are seen chirping around us, trees growing and giving fruits for the first time (like guava, papaya, banana, mulberry, and now mango as well), fireflies flying with their beautiful light in good numbers around our house.
- Most critically, children go ahead and share their views and opinions, take lead in certain activities, and do not fear resisting anybody on the issues they feel they should. (Sunil wrote about his father and showed his criticism and resistance of certain activities his father gets involved with, as he wrote in his diary; similarly, Harsh and others resist Rekha and Anil when they think they need to, with respect to the activities at Sahodaya)
Sahodaya current community
Natural diversity and beauty is getting richer and richer, at our Sahodaya Trust. At the time of writing this report, we have about 27 children. Out of them, 11 are girls and 5 are from three other villages. For the first time, we got children from some other caste-communities. Now, we have children from four communities. The age of children ranges from 4 years (Umang) to 15 years (Kajal). Besides them, now we have more swans, at present 5 in number, the same old dog, two cows (one is going to give birth), and newborn kitten friends since February 2021. More birds, insects, and indigenous plants co-exist with us at Sahodaya.