When Binitha A.S. donned the mantle of a Malayalam tutor for the migrant community in Muppathadam ward of Kadungalloor panchayat back in May, she hardly expected such an enthusiastic response.
She was even sceptical if she would be able to find the 25 participants required for a batch of the Hamari Malayalam programme of the Kerala State Literacy Mission (KSLM) aimed at equipping migrants in communicating in basic Malayalam. But to her surprise, Ms. Binitha found one participant more than the requisite strength.
She was so overwhelmed by the experience of teaching the migrant women, most of them housewives, that she posted a touching note on it on her social media. The post had since garnered much attention. “Most of them are from Bihar and Uttar Pradesh and mostly know Bhojpuri alone. They had either never been to school or dropped out quite early after being married off at a really young age. The textbook, Hamari Malayalam, is being taught with the help of Hindi, which they fortunately understand,” said Ms. Binitha who also writes short stories and articles under the pen name Binitha Sain.
The three-month course has now extended to the fourth month at the end of which participants will appear for an exam. While majority of the participants wanted to learn basic communicative Malayalam that will help them during their trips to neighbourhood shops and hospitals and aid them in reading the boards of buses, at least a few of them are genuinely enthusiastic about learning and want to continue beyond the course.
“I have been taking classes over WhatsApp for a few working women who confided in me that their husbands are also learning with them. Since most of the participants are housewives, classes are held on a daily basis according to their convenience rather than on weekends as was done initially,” said Ms. Binitha who also serves as a librarian at the Muppathadam Grama Seva Kendram.
As classes progressed, the women started sharing with her their life experiences. Most of them are in love with Kerala on account of the better educational opportunities for their children, especially their daughters.
Binitha is now toying with the idea of extending her role as a tutor if enough participants from the present course qualify for the fourth standard equivalent course of the KSLM.