Around 30 children of different age groups gather in a tribal hamlet of Taralpada in Jawhar Taluka of Palghar district, around 130 km from Mumbai, at 9 AM every day.
The reason behind the gathering is an alternative school run by the older students of the hamlet. This is a fun school where they play informative games, sing songs along with regular studies.
Most of these children, aged six to 15, used to go to the residential school far away from their villages but due to the Coronavirus-induced restrictions, the schools are shut. So, the boys and girls, aged 16-20, whose colleges are also closed, have taken an initiative to teach this younger lot for two hours every day in two batches- Class 1 to 7 as one batch and 8-10 as another.
Palghar compromises of nearly 37 per cent of tribal population. Jawhar has nearly 90 per cent tribal population. Most of the land is covered with forest and they do not even have a proper phone network, leave aside internet connectivity.
The residents of Jawhar, most of whom are migrant labourers, find it difficult to even feed their families two square meals, making buying a smartphone a distant dream for them.
Now these children go to their alternate school every day and even their parents are relieved that the kids have started enjoying studies once again.