IMPARTING EDUCATION IN TIME OF PROTESTS
Updated: May 18
In the later part of 2020 when the farmers’ protest had started, many families from across Punjab and Haryana came to the Delhi borders and decided not to leave the sites until the time their demands were wholeheartedly met. On one hand, these protests have shaken the core of the Indian government and on the other hand, they have also impacted the day to day lives of these protesting farmers, including the education of their children.
But this did not deter the children or the farmers from their fight for justice. While analyzing the complexities of the protest, farmers and volunteers decided to open a makeshift school – a temporary learning space dedicated to children. These schools, which initially started with around 15-20 children, are now imparting education to more than a hundred children.
Since the onset of the pandemic, many children were forced to abandon their education as they were unable to afford digital education. The online classes required smartphones, and the parents of these kids didn’t earn enough to provide that for their kids.
The makeshift school which was opened in an attempt to provide education to children of the protesting farmers, soon invited kids from the lower economic background who couldn’t continue their education.
Most of the volunteers at these schools point out that it is the enthusiasm of the kids that keeps them going. The students at these makeshift schools are brave and do not let any sort of adversity hamper their courage. They know the cause their parents are standing up for will create history, and these kids will be an important part of that history.
Apart from makeshift schools at Singhu, Tikri and Ghazipur, you will also find libraries that have been set up by the farmers and the volunteers. There are tents filled with books and crafts for children. In Sikhism, it is taught that one should love everyone equally irrespective of gender, caste, color, creed.
The farmers at these protest sites are imparting education to children from all communities and backgrounds. The principle of education here is inspired by the principle of langar, imparting education to all.
The schools usually at the protesting sites function from 10 am – 2 pm where children study under tents. They also indulge in extra-curricular activities.
The farmers’ protest does not seem to end anytime soon. The talks between the farmer unions and the government have come to a halt. Due to the ongoing state elections, the media has diverted the attention from the protests. But this doesn’t mean that the protest has lost its importance, it is more important than ever.
These farmers are standing strong and will not leave without defeating the government.
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