A 12 grade girl studying at Modern School, Vasant Vihar, New Delhi volunteers at occupational therapy centre and school’s Orkid centre for special needs.
Tarini has been helping children for their rights to education as crores of children in India have been impacted by the various restrictions since the pandemic hit the country and the world as a whole. The marginalised and underprivileged lot has been at the worst receiving end due to online modalities of education.
Tarini used her experience from her early years as a volunteer in the field of special education to create a catch-up programme for these vulnerable children suffering from staggering schooling and extended the scope of her work vastly for increasing their access to the digital domain. She started helping them through ‘Star in Me’ (YouTube Digital Library and App). ‘Star in Me’ by Tarini Kapur, is a learning resource, which includes an App including ‘Chitrakatha’ (Picture Story) videos with a Hindi translation narrative, downloadable picture story PDF versions, MCQ based Video Games and downloadable question answers of the Grade 10 English Literature section (as per CBSE Curriculum). The project has gained recognition and an impetus on various platforms consequently. It began in 2020, and is still doing well.
The unique problem-solving approach lies in the application of richly visual illustrative descriptions which combine visual and audio learning modalities used in special education to bridge learning gaps suffered due to interruptions in schooling experienced by children due to digital poverty.
She carried out the work with constant feedback from the students and teachers in the village. She also started with creating animation videos on a dedicated YouTube Channel covering the Poetry Section, English Literature, for the Grade 10 CBSE Board Exam. It was followed by video games for practising objective type questions, downloadable PDF corresponding to the picture story video along with important question answers as per the latest pattern for 2020-2021.
Till date, nearly the entire grade 10 Literature section has been covered. More than 900 hand-drawn illustrations and computer-generated infographics, and, 32 videos on the YouTube Digital Library. The channel has garnered 350,000 views so far and as per YouTube support data has a projected viewership of nearly 1,000,000 views by the end of 2022.
More than 4000 students have downloaded the app, and almost 350,000 (and still counting) have watched the videos on the YouTube channel. The App has been channelized through teachers of 7 villages namely Thapaliya Mehra Gaon, Surya Gaon, Tirchha Khet Gaon, Chunautiya Gaon, a nearby town, Haldwani within Uttrakhand; Kami Village and Pilli Beeth in Uttar Pradesh and Rohad Village in Haryana. The App has been very well-received by the Gram Vikas Samiti Anwarpur NGO from Pilkhuwa who are associated with nearly 60 schools. Over 40 NGOs have been contacted using the App with the students they are working with.
Tarini’s second educational-cum-social initiative is “It Takes a Village.” In this project, She mobilized local support and voluntary donations to set up the ‘Panchayat Ghar’(facility for meetings of the village administration) as a Resource Centre at the village. The centre has three rooms and an open space, replete with school furniture, a library of over 1000 books, printer and copier facility, an electricity connection, 5 tablets to borrow, swings for children, regular suply of stationary and teacher volunteers to help students.
Consensual support of community elders was key. The Panchayat Ghar, which was the erstwhile meeting point for panchayat meetings was not being utilized anymore as the village was now under the jurisdiction of the Nagar Nigam. Being the nerve centre of the village in essence, it had the advantage of being equidistant for all the residents. NGO partnerships were fostered and voluntary donations were channelized through social media campaigns.
Under the ‘It Takes a Village’ initiative, the number of children visiting the Resource Centre regularlyisapproximately 35.There is a tie-up with almost 15 NGOs for usage of the App and several government school teachers too.
Tarini also supported village students through skill enhancement and craftmanship programmes. Cone of Vision, a project initiated by her is on skill development for self-sufficiency for students from grade 3 to grade 12. The ubiquitous local craft of Aipan was incubated through a series of product development. The price range of the products is between Rs 200-Rs 1800. The pricing on Etsy is in USD (ranging between 2.50-25 USD), and the products have been sold internationally, too. This improvement stands tall as against the products made earlier including painted terracotta diyas and small cloth bags, where the children earned a maximum of Rs 10 on the diyas to Rs. 200 on bags. The products have been sold at eight hotels and cafes, and 6 stalls at different tourist hotspots in the district.