Regular observation and learning of Manasa Institute has been revealing that the most families with the one or more persons/children with disabilities and chronic illness also suffer from poverty as financial difficulties and often fail to afford proper food, shelter and medical and health facilities. Many have lost their jobs and income due to Covid 19. The Covid 19 -2nd wave has doubled their vulnerability.
Therefore Manasa Institute has resolved to offer them extended support by providing 100%free
- Protective Gear ( N95 Masks, Face Shields, liquid Sanitizer )
- Dry Ration ( Rice, Lentils, Tamarind, Wholegrain Atta, Salt, Onions, Chilli powder and spices)
- Smart phones for the special children to get access to online special education and clinical services.
Over 300 families have got benefitted by this program and it has been continuing; and also taking up
- Online counselling & orientation programs for parents better psychological resilience
- Online Training programs for medical & professionals on Covid specific Strategies in service delivery
- Post Covid Rehab program for revitalization of Physical & Mental Health.
HOW DID WE COPE WITH COVID & CONTINUING OUR SERVICES ?
MAJOR CHALLENGES DUE TO COVID -19:
- Lock down and sub-sequent cessation of all the activities at once. ( March 20th -2020 to April 15th 2020 )
- Declined support from the donors and partners.
- Demand for the restoration of services has been increased from the beneficiaries.
Special Education, Guidance & Counselling:
Parents started calling MANASA expressing their helplessness and anxiety; as the behavioural problems of the children with intellectually challenged are well managed through regular use of behavioural shaping, modelling and conditioning etc in special school, and the abnormal movements, tone and contractures paralysed limbs of cerebral palsied children can be better managed through regular class room physical activity and the progress in their cognitive, social communication and self-help-skills will be ceased with stoppage of special education. All this is very well observed /realised by the parents and during lockdown this made them worried.
RESUMING OF SPECIAL EDUCATION SERVICES THROUGH ONLINE:
STEP- I: The staff of MANASA was quickly re-organised through multiple teleconferences and with few online orientation programmes on delivering the ‘Online Special Education’.
STEP-II: All the parents were contacted in three days over phone about this and we realised that most of them did not even aware –“what an online class could be?’. Even bigger challenge was few of them did not even have a smart phone. From April 15th to 20th we were after parents to make them learn using ‘whats App’ video call and pursued them to get a smart phone; those who don’t have one. The analysis as follows:
The good thing: Over 90% of the parents possess the smart phones
The bad thing: Over 5% of them DO NOT have the smart phones.
The good thing: All those who have smart phones do have internet.
The bad thing: 90% of those with smart phones DO NOT know using any app for webinar
The good thing: Over 85% of those are already using ‘Whats App’ application.
STEP-III: A process plan was designed and empowered the staff with role clarity and methods of taking the help of the parent in educating and training the special child. And initiated the online activity on 1 teacher is to 2 children (calls) per day.
STEP-IV: While continuously obtaining the parents feedback, learning the lessons out of mistakes the online programme was improved many times and today despite the lock down each teacher is able to make 6 call a day. New strategies adopted like involving the siblings in the process of special child’s learning and making use of mothers’ daily routine or fathers’ pass time and kitchen or living room or bathroom as the class room in the process.
RESUMING TRAINING PROGRAMMES THROUGH ONLINE (WEBINARS):
The training programmes were made online through “Google Meet” webinars.