More than 10,000 families were taken care of and more than 1,500 hot meals were served. The rickshaw was free to use after the rations and hot meals were delivered. So, the organisers decided to make use of it and initiated a programme called Rickshaw Story Time as a part of the Rickshaw Feed and Read Program.
“Rickshaw Story Time is an outgrowth of the pandemic and a desire to reach out to 2,200 students who have now been out of school for seven months. We are traveling by rickshaw to each of the 22 schools where we work to distribute school supplies, masks, biscuits and storybooks donated by Pratham Books. Participating students are divided into small groups. Students receive temperature checks when they arrive for the program. They receive a face mask and are asked to sanitise their hands before finding their space on the ground outside and are kept at appropriate social distances. First, we spend time talking with the students to check in with them and see how they are managing during the pandemic. After receiving their notebooks, pens and drawing supplies, and biscuits, children enjoy several stories read aloud to them by our literacy coaches. Usually, the coaches ask them to draw or write in their notebooks about the stories they have just heard. After sharing their pictures and writings, they return home. The program lasts for 1-1.5 hours. We travel to two of our schools each week,” says one of the organisers.
Teachers from Communities Rising are planning to continue the program for as long as schools are out. In the next few weeks, they will be providing hotspot along with computers and tablets so that students can access additional Pratham Books stories that are available online.