Kerala

To an unknown child, a notebook of compassion

Photo for representation   | Photo Credit: H. Vibhu

“Shall we copy our class notes of social studies and science and send them to those children who have lost their notebooks in the floods?”

This compassionate suggestion from a band of children at Al Ansar Orphanage at Kizhissery in Kerala's Malappuram district gave the spark. The kids, gathered to discuss how to help schoolchildren in flood-hit villages, knew how hard it would be to go back to school after the floods without the class note books.

The suggestion ticked off the volunteers of Incubation, a Kozhikode-based education NGO, to launch a notebook drive on a small WhatsApp group in mid-August. “The response to the idea was swift and amazing,” said Nabeel Mohammed, head of education and training of the NGO.

“In just a few days, thousands of college students, ordinary people and members of residents’ associations, rural libraries and clubs offered to take up the challenge.”

From across country

Incubation was set up four years ago by a dozen Kerala students at Jawaharlal Nehru University, Jamia Millia, Hyderabad, Delhi, Pondicherry, and other Central Universities to provide educational empowerment to children from backward districts.

To an unknown child, a notebook of compassion

The 100-odd children in the orphanage sat down to copy by hand some 500 notebooks of social studies, science, English, Malayalam and Hindi from class 5 to 10 of the Kerala State school syllabus. Incubation volunteers scanned the best-written notes, turned them into PDF files and e-mailed to all those who had offered to help out. In less than two weeks, 10,000 handwritten notebooks arrived from Delhi, Pune, Chennai, Mumbai and other cities as well as from within Kerala.

“We have decided not to photocopy the notes which is a much easier task,” Mr. Mohammed told The Hindu.

“We wanted this to be an act of love and humanity by unknown human beings who cared for the unknown children. By insisting on writing the copies out, we wanted their emotional and physical involvement, which photocopying cannot.” The first page of each of the notebooks carried this: “To my dear friend, with love from...”

This way the children would know who had helped them in their hour of need and instil a sense of responsibility, gratitude, and affection in them.

10,000 books

On August 30, some 10,000 handwritten notebooks so copied were handed over to district education officials in Alappuzha and Wayanad, two of the worst flood-affected districts.

In a week’s time, many of the children who lost their class notes to the surging waters will have in their hands notes written with care and love.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 1:24:36 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/to-an-unknown-child-a-notebook-with-love/article24833073.ece

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