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Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation Partners HMD Global To Enable Online Education For Children Through Nokia Smartphones

KSCF will provide Nokia smartphones to the members of Bal Panchayats of the villages and urban slum communities where the BMG and BMM programmes are operational

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Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF), founded by Nobel Peace Laureate Kailash Satyarthi, and HMD Global, the home of Nokia phones, have announced their tie-up to enable online education for underprivileged children in India. As part of this initiative, over 1,740 new Nokia smartphones worth over Rs. 1.65 crores would be distributed to children across rural areas and urban slums, survivors of child exploitation, as well as the first-generation learners of the Banjara community.

The phones have been donated to children who are beneficiaries of two flagship social interventions of KSCF:

1.                   Bal Mitra Gram (BMG)

2.                   Bal Mitra Mandal (BMM)

In addition, the phones will also be distributed to the residents of Bal Ashram, a long-term shelter home near Jaipur for child survivors of exploitation, run by Bal Ashram Trust (Trust), a sister organization of KSCF. Also, the phones will be given to first-generation learners of a Banjara community that lives near the Bal Ashram. Children of this community are presently receiving non-formal education in the 11 Banjara Educational Centres run by the Trust.

The donation across these programmes will benefit over 6,000 children belonging to marginalized families across Delhi, Karnataka, Bihar, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, Rajasthan and Jharkhand, whose education was disrupted due to the closure of schools on account of the pandemic.

Impact of Lockdown due to Covid-19 and Economic Disruption on Poor Rural Households with Special Reference to Children: Study by KSCF

During lockdown, KSCF conducted a study on ‘Impact of Lockdown and Economic Disruption on Poor Rural Households with Special Reference to Children’. During the study, a primary survey was carried out with 53 NGOs working with children across the country, and a survey of households from rural areas of five states of India – Assam, Bihar, Jharkhand, Chhattisgarh and Rajasthan.

85% of all respondent NGOs and 89% of NGOs working on the relevant themes (Education, Poverty & Livelihood) felt that school dropouts were likely to increase in the post lockdown period. Also, during the household survey, six percent of the respondents reported that due to their poor financial condition they would not hesitate to withdraw their children from school. Another 14% household respondents stated that they were ‘not sure’ as to what they do. Hence, potentially school going children of 20% households were at the risk of dropping out from schools.

Speaking about the initiative, SC Sinha, Chief Executive Officer, KSCF said: “Closure of schools due to lockdown has affected adversely, the access to education of the poor and the marginalised children the most. The education of these children has been disrupted completely as due to non-availability of smartphones, they are not able to access online education. These children having nothing to do may go astray, many of them may become child labour, and some may even get trafficked. Thus, many of them may not go back to school once the schools reopen. Such children, once they have smartphones will be able to access online education and get reconnected with their schools. These phones are likely to be a source of empowerment for them. Once the children are accustomed to the use of phones for educational purposes, they are likely to continue using them for greater learning even when the schools reopen.”

Sanmeet Kochhar, Vice President, HMD Global said: “When it comes to driving positive social impact, education and skill development for the youth, has always been a key focus area for our CSR efforts in India. Our efforts towards education take inspiration from the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 4 (SDG 4) focused on ensuring inclusive and equitable quality education. We believe that smartphone technology contributes to SDG 4 by enabling unhindered access to educational content, anytime, anywhere.

Through our association with Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation, we are keen to play a part in helping our country’s underprivileged children and youth realise their self-confidence through undisrupted access to education.”

KSCF will provide Nokia smartphones to the members of Bal Panchayats of the villages and urban slum communities where the BMG and BMM programmes are operational, after loading relevant educational apps. The phones will be provided to the children only with the consent of parents and the Bal Panchayat members will ensure that all the children in their community derive educational benefit from these phones. KSCF will also provide training to all the children who are given smartphones on handling them and accessing educational content online responsibly and safely.

Additionally, KSCF will provide Nokia smartphones to children living in the Bal Ashram rehabilitation centre and also to those children who studied in Banjara Education Centres and have already moved to or are in process of moving to formal education.

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Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation HMD Global