PHOTOS: How a pandemic changed everything for these students

A streetdweller takes it upon herself to homeschool her grandchildren; six year olds learn to take care of themselves—school's out, but there's a lot yet to be learned
By: Naini Thaker, Madhu Kapparath
Published: Jul 11, 2020
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Image by : Quest Alliance

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  • PHOTOS: How a pandemic changed everything for these students
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  • Ananya and Aditya
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  • Miraya and Keahn

Ajmer: Shivani (who goes by her first name only), age 20

Twenty-year-old Shivani runs up to the terrace with her phone and notebook. She is in the middle of an online class conducted by NGO Quest Alliance, but is facing a lag in the video. It is blistering hot, but she finds a corner with some shade, and continues taking copious notes. “If you think it’s hot, then you will feel hot. I try to focus on my classes,” says the ITI student who has almost completed her course and is waiting for exam dates to be announced.

The terrace, the stairs leading up to it, and a tree outside are her favourite spots for online classes, since they have the best mobile network coverage. Shivani's mother works at the local medical centre, and leaves soon after making breakfast for the family. Shivani takes care of the other chores, including her younger siblings’ education. When her mother’s working hours increased due to Covid-19, Shivani sacrificed a couple of her classes so that her siblings could take theirs. The data pack is expensive, but she says, “I manage”. In the same way that she manages house work and studies. “Even if I wanted to, I barely have time to watch TV."