Kerala Teachers Ensure Children Living Under a Bridge Have Access to Online Classes #WATWB

Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan
Following the lockdown, keeping in mind the need for social distancing in these unique times, children across the Indian state of Kerala rejoined school from their own living rooms via online classes.

Not all were so fortunate though. Teachers at the St. John Bosco Upper Primary School in Kochi soon realized that a group of six children belonging to classes 5 - 7 were not attending these classes. Unlike the usual scenario where bunking classes would be the likely reason, here the answer was more heartbreaking. 

These six children of migrant workers from the neighbouring state of Karnataka had been living with their parents under the Vallarpadam Bridge in Kochi (literally, under the bridge with no wall, bed, door or electricity) for the last decade. They had no access to mobile phones, laptops or online classes and had instead taken to joining their parents sell fish at the market.

teachers in Kerala teaching children under the bridge

Determined not to give up on the students, the amazing teachers at St John Bosco decided to bring the school to the children instead! Four teachers took up the challenge, downloading the previous day's classes and even preparing charts and games to keep the children engaged.

“The first few days, we would come an hour early to clean up the area to create a classroom environment and boost the morale of these students.” 
Elizabeth Fernandez, headmistress.

After taking classes online, the teachers took all appropriate precautions and then traveled every day for long distances just to reach the bridge and take classes for these children using these charts and their own laptops. In addition to providing free education to these children for the last two years, during this unique phase, the school provided supplies like pens, notebooks, crayons, sanitizers and masks to the children.

Kerala Teachers Ensure Children Living Under a Bridge Have Access to Online Classes

"Every June, we join the classes at St. John Bosco if we’re not in Mysuru. But this year we thought we couldn’t because of the virus. We couldn’t even go back to Mysuru, so we were going to the fish markets with our parents every day. But by the time school was about to start, Elizabeth ma’am and Neema ma’am came and spoke to our parents and started taking classes for all six of us." 
 - Dhanya, Class 7.

John Bosco school Kerala Teachers Ensure Children Living Under a Bridge Have Access to Online Classes

"There are many things that were beyond our control when it came to the situation of these six children. But when it came to bringing a smile on their faces or providing them with an education, we knew we had the resources. This is why we continue to take classes for these children, even if it is just for an hour." 
Elizabeth Fernandez, headmistress.

John Bosco school Kerala Teachers Ensure Children Living Under a Bridge Have Access to Online Classes

What more can really be said? These teachers - Elizabeth Fernandez, Shamiya Baby, Neena Thomas and Susan Mable - are angels in human form. It is one of the easiest decisions for me to add them to the list of Heroes of Kindness who make the world a better place.

Author's note

For those who are new here, I have been writing about real life Heroes of Kindness for over 4 years now and have compiled over 200 heroes from all across the globe. It is my personal initiative to help dispel the negativity that surrounds us and help you have faith in humanity once more.

The ebook Heroes of Kindness by Dr Roshan Radhakrishnan

My first solo book, Heroes of Kindness, paying tribute to 50 real life heroes like these wonderful teachers of 
St. John Bosco Upper Primary School, is now available on Kindle


This post is part of the 'We Are the World Blogfest'.

On the last Friday of each month, bloggers from around the world join together, sharing news that warms the cockles of our heart. No story is too big or small, as long as it goes beyond religion and politics, into the core of humanity. 

All we ask is you link to a human news story on your blog on the last Friday of each month, one that shows love, humanity and brotherhood. Use the hashtag #WATWB on social media.
Keep your post to below 500 words, as much as possible.

The cohosts this month are: Eric Lahti, InderpreetSusan Scott Shilpa Garg, and Peter Nena

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Let me know what you think.

  1. Thank you Dr Roshan for this extraordinary post of showing these teachers and their concern for the forgotten ones. When there's a will there's a way. Will share -

  2. This is great. Thank you for sharing!

  3. It's so heartbreaking to see families, especially children, live without the basics, such as four walls and the opportunity for an education. The teachers here are what my friend calls "sheepdogs," or those who are willing to go above and beyond to take care of others and keep them safe. Many thanks to them for being kind to the family and giving these children an education.

  4. This is really touching, Roshan. In normal times too children of migrant workers suffer because of breaks in education. To reach out in this way, is truly commendable.

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