The picture you see is of eight-year-old Sangharsh Kumar, onboard a train that will take him back to his native residence in village Gohana in Uttar Pradesh. Sangharsh’s father has been a factory worker in Ghaziabad for the past 10 years. Like lakhs of other children belonging to migrant families who are travelling back to their hometowns, Sangharsh’s family, too, is affected by the COVID-19 lockdown as his father has lost his job.

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Loss of livelihood equally translates to a loss of access to quality education for the children.

Lack of awareness, poverty and missing identity documents are some of the reasons due to which children of migrant families remain deprived of education. Same was the case with Sangharsh.

“Since the economic condition of my family was not good, I could not get a chance to get admitted to a school,” he says.

Sangharsh and his sister, Khushbu, were identified during a survey of out-of-school children conducted by Humana People to People India (HPPI) in Karkar Model area of Ghaziabad, following which they were enrolled in the organisation’s Kadam Programme for out-of-school children.

Pointing the efforts made by Anjali Rawat, a Kadam teacher, Sangharsh goes on to tell how he finally got enrolled in the Kadam programme in May 2019.

“During the survey, Anjali madam convinced my parents and helped me and my sister to attend the Kadam Centre. At the Centre I learnt to read and write along with various other interesting things through a number of activities I participated in with my classmates. Each day, I would look forward to going to the Centre for what was new in store for us and to meet my friends.”

With the COVID-19 lockdown, however, many things changed.

“While the Centre was closed, on Anjali madam’s suggestion, I kept continuing my studies at home and helped my sister every now and then,” says Sangharsh.

“Anjali madam was teaching us online via WhatsApp. Through video calls, madam would solve all my queries related to the exercises in the Kadam books. She even encouraged us to attempt some theme activities under my mother’s guidance which both of us quite enjoyed.”

The unique toolkit provided to children as a part of the Kadam Programme enables them to study at their individual learning level and progress at their own pace.

While on his journey back home, as he continues to work on the exercises listed in his Kadam workbook, Sangharsh is also anxious about internet availability in his village so he can to connect with his teacher on WhatsApp.

“Now we’re heading back to our village. However, I would like to continue my education and, also, keep supporting my sister in her education,” says the determined boy.

Nearly 83,000 out-of-school children have been a part of the Kadam Programme since the year 2016, and have been assisted with guidance and appropriate tools to close their learning gaps so they can be integrated into age-appropriate regular classes in formal schools.

India, just as several other developed and developing nations, has been promoting digital literacy and ICT-based education for the last few years. HPPI’s Digital Classroom Project being implemented in Chhattisgarh aims to create a technology-enabled learning environment where a student’s learning of concepts and interaction with the teacher is supported through the strategic use of Information and Communication Technology (ICT). However, with the nation in lockdown and schools and universities closing down as a response to the COVID19 pandemic, digital education has seen a sudden upsurge in India.

Since March 2020, several schools and colleges are continuing giving lessons via Google Classroom, Zoom, Microsoft Teams and other such platforms. Several schools located in remote or rural areas with limited availability of electricity and internet are using WhatsApp to stay connected with their classrooms. With this new way of teaching and learning, digital education is becoming more relevant in the present times.


Students and teachers now have groups where they exchange notes, queries and finish tasks. In HPPI’s Necessary Teacher Training Programme, 2 online classes of 1½ hours each are being conducted every day for the 1st and 2nd-year students so that they are able to continue learning and finish their D.El.Ed. course in time. The teachers send study tasks to each batch and provide feedback to the 85-90 students who attend these classes everyday through various messaging and video conferencing apps. The student-teachers are completing their training through this e-learning course with full guidance from all 13 faculty members. However, access to requisite hardware remains a challenge. As many as 64 NeTT student-teachers could not participate in these classes due to the lack of computers, smartphones or the internet.

The issue not only limited to rural areas. Recently, it was reported that around 9,000 Class XII students registered for the Delhi government’s online classes, though there are 1.6 lakh children in its schools.


As beneficial as digital education is, there is also a prominent digital divide between the urban and rural students in terms of devices, access to the internet and even availability of electricity. Only 36% of the Indian population has access to the internet, according to the India Internet 2019 report by the Internet and Mobile Association of India and Nielsen. However, the access is not uniform with 27 percent in rural areas and 51 percent in urban areas getting access to the internet, according to the same report.

Students across the world are today using educational apps more than ever before. Teachers are promoting the use of educational technology including online learning, texting and group learning to support access to learning during this global pandemic. But, as the world is swiftly shifting to online teaching, students without access to broadband are the ones who could be left behind.

In an effort to promote the use of digital education, the Ministry of Human Resource Development has shared various free e-learning platforms that students can use to continue their learning during COVID-19 based school closures. Some of the platforms, such as DIKSHA, are also available for use offline, while apps like e-Pathshala by NCERT offers content material for classes 1 to 12 in multiple languages including Hindi, Urdu, and English.

“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.”

-Nelson Mandela

As rightly said by the former President of South Africa and anti-apartheid revolutionary, education is one of the most important tools that can empower people with knowledge, skills and values they need to build a better world. The belief that quality education can help reduce poverty and inequality comes from a recognition that education is a basic human right, similar to food and shelter.


January 24 is recognised as the International Day of Education, a date proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in 2018 to honour education and its centrality to human well-being and sustainable development. This International Day, we will examine the many ways learning can empower people, protect the planet, build shared prosperity and foster peace.

Education to most represents the idea of going to school and learning about different subjects. However, it could be argued that the meaning of education is beyond just going to school. As the theme this year suggests, education or learning can impact many things.

To a child from a low-income household, growing up in a remote village, education can provide independence and promote independent thinking. By giving children the chance to develop skills, talents, personality and most importantly raise awareness regarding them, education enables them to change their lives, contribute to the society and most importantly, escape the shackles of child labour. Education gives a child the confidence and tools he/she needs to climb the social ladder and find opportunities suited to their talents.

Humana People to People India (HPPI) through its project ‘Action Against Child Labour (AACL)’ identifies children in textile industries and enrols them back into Government Schools or alternately, enrols them in HPPI’s Kadam Centres or in the newly established Sambhavna schools, designed to accommodate adolescents from Grade VI to VIII.

Learning has no age limit and HPPI promotes this thought through its several community-development projects and adult literacy programmes.

In the eyes of society, education means development. Educated individuals have the power to not only change their own future but with the knowledge and skills, they can elevate the society as a whole by impacting economic growth.

Young people without the right skills will never reach their true potential, which will ultimately lead to their exclusion from active participation in society. In HPPI’s Jeevika project, women are provided with entrepreneurial and financial education which helps them to start or scale up their own income-generating activities. With financial independence, women become active decision-making members in their family.

With education and learning comes a better understanding of the right and wrong which inspires problem-solving skills. In the present times, where the world is already facing the consequences of global warming and climate change, it comes as a fool-proof remedy that education and learning can change ones’ perspective and help them unite together to find better alternatives, innovate for change and work towards saving the only planet we have to call home. In several projects implemented by HPPI, environmental education plays a key role. From tree plantation drives to establishing fruit and kitchen nutritional gardens, children, as well as older members of the community, are introduced to the concept of being environmentally conscious and to take small steps in their everyday life to contribute to the larger green actions.

Education has the power to empower all. And the right type of education can make people more self-reliant, bridge socio-economic disparities and foster peace.

With this as our central thought, HPPI aims to continue providing education to all, in particular to the poor and rural population, to help them and their communities develop and certainly boost the economic and social development of India.


On March 24, a 21-day lockdown was announced in India to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus. The announcement came with a lot of queries, but with it came a lot of chaos and havoc among the thousands of people who come to find work in the cities or who work as daily wage labourers, dependent on their day’s income for their next meal.

In a crisis like this, it is often the poor and vulnerable communities who face the most impact. Migrant families in thousands started fleeing the cities, beginning their journeys of over 200-300 kilometres to their hometowns by foot and without any food or money to sustain them.

In these trying times, Humana People to People India aims to continue working and help those in need, especially the poor and vulnerable communities who are suffering due to loss of income under lockdown.

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In our attempt to do so, every project leader started by ensuring the safety of their team members and the beneficiaries in their projects. Students in the Kadam Step-Up Programme, women entrepreneurs in our Community Development Projects and Health Clubs, homeless TB patients, preraks (learning facilitators) in our adult literacy programmes, among others were contacted via mobile phones and was made sure they were safe and had the right information – the do’s and don’ts, helpline numbers, awareness on the signs and symptoms of the virus etc.

Along with sharing informative posters and government helpline numbers, the project staff continues to stay connected with the beneficiaries via mobile phones, available for any of their queries or assistance needed.  

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During this time, the teams also analysed and evaluated the needs of the most vulnerable communities and found that several families did not have the money to buy food or shops to buy them from. In addition, migrant families without ration cards could not access the benefits of government food distribution schemes.

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Teams across HPPI projects are now organising the distribution of food to some of the poorest families made possible through donations from individuals as well as some of the corporate partners and in many places in close cooperation with local government authorities. HPPI has so far been able to reach out to more than 2000 families under our projects in Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Haryana, West Bengal and Karnataka. Around 14kg of ration is being distributed to each family consisting of flour, rice, pulses, oil, soaps, toothpaste, among other essentials. They will receive similar care packages twice in the coming 15 days. HPPI’s team members who are working tirelessly in the field are maintaining all precautions and following regulations laid out by the government.

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In the education projects, students and teachers have found innovative ways to continue teaching-learning, keeping in mind the initiative launched by UNICEF, “Education can’t wait”.

Under the NeTT Programme, study groups have been made in social messaging apps which allows students to share their work as well as raise any queries with their teachers. Similarly, online classes have also been conducted via video calls.

We have a long way to go but we ensure we are doing our best and we hope to continue to raise funds and help the people in need during this health crisis. If you wish to support our cause, please visit

About HPPI

Humana People to People India is a development organization registered as a not-for-profit company under section 25 of the Companies Act, 1956 as of 21st May 1998. It is a non-political, non-religious organization. Its mission is to unite with people in India in order to create development in the broadest sense through the implementation of the projects that aim at transferring knowledge, skills and capacity to individuals and communities who need assistance to come out of poverty and other dehumanizing conditions.

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Humana People to People India
111/9-Z, Kishangarh, Aruna Asaf Ali Marg,
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