Rover Scouts in India offer non-formal education to stranded workers and families during Covid-19
India has a large population of migrant workers, who moved from villages and cities across the country for work in its major cities. When the government of India announced a nationwide lockdown to limit the spread of Covid-19, it impacted every aspect of its society, hitting migrant workers and those who rely on daily earnings the hardest.
The suspension of local commuting services left hundreds of thousands unable to go back to their hometowns, and thus take refuge in shelters that the government has provided, uncertain when their lives would resume.
The Ramjas Scout Group in Delhi decided to step in to help out a local shelter that housed 124 migrant workers and their families. The group is made up of 23 Rover Scouts, who divide themselves into shifts to visit the shelter, providing a wide range of activities to improve the families’ wellbeing and children’s development and education.
“At first we were strangers to them, and they didn’t accept our presence right away, so we started to provide them with assistance by giving them items that they needed,” said Himanshu, a Rover Scout in the group.
“Then they realized we are a good group of young people who are here to help, so we became like a family now,” he continued.
The Scouts emphasized the importance of social distancing and frequent hand washing, and have been demonstrating this throughout their activities at the shelter.
Since most of the children at the shelter did not have access to quality education, the Scout group focused on lessons and skills they can teach the children through non-formal education. This ranges from English lessons and Indian history to physical exercises and meditation. The group also engages the adults that focusing on their personal development and wellbeing, including valuable lessons on positive thinking and financial management.
“Everyone stepped up for their duty, the policemen, the doctors, and as Scouts it is our duty of service, and we helped out,” said Aakash, a Leader in the group.
The success of this project, has inspired the National Scout Association of India, the Bharat Scouts and Guides Association, to replicate this in other shelters across different cities, where other Scouts are now helping other migrants cope with this extremely challenging time.
Since the outbreak of Covid-19, Scouts around the world have been responding to the needs of their communities on an individual and group level from awareness raising to deliveries of essential items. World Scouting set up a Covid-19 Emergency Response Fund, where you can donate to help Scouts continue supporting their communities in need. All funds will be channeled directly to support National Scout Organizations.