As the clock hits one in the afternoon, students of class 6th of Government School, Gigemajra, settle down in front of an LCD screen in their Learn Lab. Within few seconds, they see the face of an urban 22-year-old girl smiling from the smart screen. It is Jaanvi Kataria connecting from Mumbai via Skype for an interactive session with students of this village of Punjab.
Jaanvi hails from Amritsar and is pursuing her Master’s in Public Policy from St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai. “For the first time, I came across an organisation doing such impressive work for the children of my state,” says Jaanvi. She is delighted to have the opportunity to contribute to her home state while continuing her education in Mumbai. Jaanvi is working with RoundGlass Foundation as a Learn Pal volunteer for our Learn Labs – SOLE initiative. In the SOLE lab initiative Learn Pals volunteer from all over the world to interact with children over video calls to help them improve their communication skills and aid them in their quest for knowledge.
After Jaanvi finishes introducing herself in this session, she drives the conversation by asking all the 14 students to introduce themselves in English. “Introduction is the most important part. This is the first step where one can help these children in building their confidence and communication skills. They are already getting an education in school but who looks after their communication skills?” questions Jaanvi.
All her about-30-minute sessions are fun and diverse. From mathematics to science, from English conversations to new games, from reading books on culture to experimenting with new technology, Jaanvi tries to open for these children a new world beyond their village.
In today’s session, Jaanvi is talking about the environment. She has quizzed children about different forms of wet and dry waste. When the children finish coming up with different examples, she explains the difference between biodegradable and non-biodegradable waste. Jaanvi also has green and blue coloured dustbins in her apartment. She quickly pans her laptop camera towards the garbage bins and shows them how she segregates waste before the garbage collector picks it from her.
“These sessions give a lot of confidence to the children. By interacting with young people based in different cities and countries, these village children start looking up to us and want to reach where we are.” shares Jaanvi. Excited about helping children reach for their dreams while she gets the fulfilment of helping her community, she states, “I look forward to every session as there is immense love and respect I get in return. It makes me forget all my worries. In fact, my friends feel I’m doing a wonderful and noble job. They are amazed to see how I am uplifting my community despite staying in a completely different state.”