Bala Vikasa Provides 1100+ Smartphones and Tabs to Orphans and Poor Students in Rural Telangana as COVID19 Disrupts Education
In an intervention that’s instilled new hope among poor orphans, widows’ children, and government school students in rural Telangana, Bala Vikasa has distributed 1,143 free smartphones and tablets worth over Rs 1 Crore, to ensure that these marginalized children do not lose out on education affected by Covid19 school closures and move to the online mode of education.
Bala Vikasa has given away 727 Smartphones worth Rs 65 lakhs, and 416 Tablets worth Rs 42 Lakhs, thanks to the support received from CSR partners - the Amazon Development Center and Franklin Templeton in India, and Sopar in Canada, and individual donors on crowdfunding site Milaap.
While 400 tablets were sponsored by Amazon India, our CSR partner Franklin Templeton provided funding for 16 tabs. Sopar donated 690 smartphones, while a crowdfunding campaign on Milaap helped Bala Vikasa give away 37 phones to orphans.
One of the largest nonprofits in South India, Bala Vikasa was quick to act upon witnessing rural students losing 4-5 months of academic learning, while children of urban private schools began the new academic year with online classes in June itself.
The state government has resumed classes in the online mode in government schools and colleges in October, but this presented a highly challenging situation to rural poor students, especially orphans and children of the impoverished widows.
With no access to smartphones/tabs/laptops or any smart devices, these children are facing the risk of being completely left out, giving rise to the frightening possibility of increased school drop-outs, and the risk of engagement as child labor.
Ms Sudeepthi Padma, Senior Manager, Amazon Development Center, said: “It’s a great honor for us to be able to help so many poor and marginalized students access education at such a distressing time as this. We believe that education is the foundation for a bright future and we are glad to partner with Bala Vikasa which has been working with orphans and disenfranchised students for decades.”
“Now, I too have an opportunity to attend online classes like my classmates who used to carry advanced smartphones, and am so happy and thankful to Bala Vikasa and Amazon for giving me this wonderful tablet that will make it possible for me to study further,” says Priyanka, an orphan student from Maa Illu Ashram in Zaffergadh, Jangaon.