Santa Khurai, a transgender activist from Manipur, has started an online campaign to provide education facilities to poor students amid lockdown due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Santa, a Nupi Manbi (transgender woman) who herself braved countless obstacles, has come forward to help the kids in her neighbourhood after realizing that a good number of kids do not have access to smart phones and internet.
“This way, these kids are missing out on online education being provided by the schools,” Santa told The News Mill.
So, she started the campaign to raise Rs 2.25 lakh through Ketto to buy smart phones for the kids.
Santa lives in Khurai Sajor Leikai, in Imphal East and there are around 200 families in her neighbourhood. Since the imposition of the lockdown, all the schools are shut down. And the teachers have started sending all home assignments through WhatsApp messages.
She added, “Some fortunate families have multiple smart phones, and can access these daily assignments. However, there are a few families run by widows, single parents or working class parents. These families do not have smartphones, and often have just one basic keypad phone for everyone in the family, just for basic communication. Many of them lost their jobs because of the lockdown, and in the meantime their children’s learning has stopped since they cannot access assignments on WhatsApp,” Santa added.
So, she lends her personal smartphone and tablet to some of the nearby mothers and their kids to note down the assignments.
“However, since I only have two gadgets, not all of the mothers are able to note down all the assignments. As the notes are sent daily, many are pending and piled up. This burdens the children and stops them from learning on time. I asked these mothers what could be a possible solution to enable the children to access their home assignments regularly. They have told me if they had a mobile phone with a large screen then it would definitely help. These mothers helped me reach out to other parents who have the same struggle. Together, we identified 15 lower-income or single-parent families in my locality,” Santa said.
Now, she will buy a Samsung tab to each 15 kids with the fund so that they can continue their study without much difficulty.
“My activism has helped me connect with several communities, and has enabled me to understand many diverse issues and problems. I am sure there are millions of children across the globe who face a similar struggle. There should be more global attention to poor children, especially in the time of disasters. However, I am trying to help the people connected to me, in a way that’s within my capacity,” she reckoned.
So far, she has been able to raise Rs 1.50 lakh from 44 supporters.
Santa, a writer and an artist besides being a gender rights activist, has pioneered the trans revolution in Manipur in the 1980s. She personally had to undergo various challenges from various sections. She is also the founder of All Manipur Nupi Manbi Association (AMNMA).