Thursday 21 February 2019
Kerala floods have been devastating – loss of life, loss of property, loss of livelihood, all this has hampered the normalcy of life in the state. Children have been largely affected by this calamity. Imagine what a child must have left when the rising water levels destroyed the books, school bag, drawing kit, uniforms, etc. 7-year-old Shivani who lives in a two-room Indira Awas house in Pandalam lost all her study materials in the floods, the flooding was so bad that the family had shifted to a local shelter run by a religious group Pathnamthitta District of Kerala. When the water receded, the family went back home to check their belongings. It was then that Shivani found out that she had nothing left to carry to school no books, no bag.
Shivani’s paternal aunt Ponnamma shares, “When we returned to our house, we had lost everything other than the gas cylinder. It was heart-breaking to see that Shivani had lost all her books and her study material”. This made the child shocked and frightened, so much so that she missed her school for two weeks. The family desperately wanted Shivani to get back to her normal life, at the earliest.
Deepa, her mother said, “She is an enthusiastic student, who loves to sing, dance and draw. She actively participates in all activities at school. Losing out on classes was a shift from the normal for Shivani and my child was in distress having lost all her study material.” The family wanted immediate means to be able to restore a sense of going back to the routine life of Shivani.
The child and her family were reached out to by our on-ground flood relief distribution staff. Sarasvati, our community volunteer supported the distribution of relief materials given out by Save the Children during the immediate relief phase. The child was provided with a bright red color school bag, filled with stationary, notebooks, an umbrella, water bottle, and a drawing kit. Providing this basic stationary material made a huge positive impact for Shivani.
When Save the Children's team went for the house visit to Shivani’s, the child was busy with her coloring book and was excited to use all the crayons from the bag. “I got the bag in school from Sarasvati aunty. They were distributing a lot of bags. All my school mates stood in a queue and received these bags”, Shivani said.
Sharing her experience Sarasvati said that the Education Kits that Save the Children distributed were a huge requirement as it caters to children’s needs in the design of relief materials. She further added that all the items in the kit have been thoughtfully picked and the children were thrilled to receive them to an extent that few children are even saving some of the contents for the next academic year.
Helping children like Shivani in the times of distress is what Save the Children aims to do through its humanitarian work. Watch out this section on our website for more such stories from across India.