Wednesday, June 30, 2021

One Year of Virtual Manzil

This edition of our newsletter comes at a time when the whole country is recovering from the second wave of COVID-19 and in fear of the predicted third wave. The helplessness and the fear of losing near and dear ones during this pandemic has been a constant alive feeling for most of us.  
We are hoping that this newsletter brings a light of positivity and happiness to people’s lives through stories of hope, resilience and never give up spirit!

The saying of "where there is a will, there's a way", this is something I would like to say that defines Manzil’s philosophy. 
Initially nobody thought that this problem of Covid would open up so many doors of learning. We covered in our last April’s edition how we were figuring out things and coping up with the situation. Now we look back at the past and reflect on the new learnings that emerged during the pandemic.
In Manzil, we were not as tech savvy as we became after the pandemic. No matter how much we knew, this pandemic has taught us more and made us a self learner. If we talk about Manzil’s classes then we would like to proudly state that all the classes like English, Maths, computers are either running on zoom or google meet. Teachers have become tech savvy and have started taking the help of technologies such as PowerPoint, virtual games, eBooks in their classes much more effectively. Students of art classes such as Dance, theater and kathak have also started using technology to learn more effectively.
Manzil is a learning space where we always take opportunities from a learning point of view. When we started virtual classes it was not as easy as I am telling you. Issues regarding the network, limited devices and lack of technology were challenging for us. Teachers were taking their classes on conference calls and on WhatsApp chat. It was quite difficult. But our team and teachers didn't give up. We found ways to make our classes more interactive and tried to solve these problems and now all the classes are virtual and people are connecting with us from all across the country. 

It has been a year of Manzil being totally virtual. Now Manzil is quite suitable to teach and learn new things virtually. We used to have our admission every month with 50 to 100 people in a physical place. Now we have shifted this to virtual. We are able to organize virtual sessions and workshops quite successfully. 

Teacher meetings have turned out to be a very good learning opportunity for everyone in the pandemic as already mentioned in our previous edition. All the teachers meet and learn from each other’s sharing on every 2nd and 4th Saturdays. In addition to this every 4th Saturday we  got the opportunity to learn so many things from our guests such as, Megha, Prof. Anil Gupta, Sunita from We the people, Sanjivini, Abhinav, Sajeev Nangia, Sadanand ji from America etc. This pandemic gave us the opportunity to stay connected with so many amazing people directly with our teachers which could not have been possible in a physical space
We would like to share some milestones we achieved so far in this year.

Man Ke Sath: One of our core team members, Vandana, had started taking mental health sessions in
Manzil. Earlier she used to conduct it with Megha, a professor of psychology in LSR college, but now she has gained the confidence to conduct it on her own. It has been a two way learning for her as well as for the students.
In Manzil these sessions help us to make students aware of mental health and how to handle it. We had sessions almost Manzil's every classes and we also provide some series of sessions of mental health. You can read more about it here.

Safety at Virtual World
: Manzil has been actively making efforts and has made use of the technology available to provide the children with online sessions on different topics, one of them being “Internet Safety Sessions”, conducted by Anil Kumar, a core team member who manages computer classes.

Although the internet is amazing and has worked wonders in the fields of education, communication, banking etc., there have also been instances where people have been subject to financial fraud, identity theft and misuse of personal information. Thus he instructs the students about ways to safeguard themselves against such instances. He has made students aware about the following threats: Scams, Viruses, Firewall protection, Strong Password generation, Cyber-crimes, Credential safety, Cyber bullying, Harassment, Identity theft, Internet securities and Financial fraud awareness. 

These sessions have attracted an average of 140 participants ranging from 10 to 60 years of age and have received tremendously positive feedback from the attendees.
Kotla School Theater and Storytelling: The kotla preschool kids started a 10 days theater workshop
with the help of Dramebaaz where they learnt various stories through puppets. The kids, aged 3-5 years, really enjoyed the workshop with the facilitators Vishal and Balkumari. 
Their objective was to make children learn many things and skills through theatre in this online workshop like literacy, storytelling, basic theatre, self confidence etc. the result of which we actually saw through the online showcase at the end of the 11th day of the workshop where every child performed storytelling confidently. 

The facilitators also learned how to handle small children and how they can make their workshop more engaging and make learning filled with fun.
Internship: For the very first time, Manzil invited students to become a part of manzil’s team as a part
of internship program. The purpose of the internship was to
support Manzil students in their further learning through Internship. In this way, Manzil students get involved with Manzil in a way which is beyond teaching and this becomes a possible path-way for them to join Manzil’s team. The interns would be support systems for the Manzil Core Team to share their work-load. In the process, the core team will also develop its leadership skills through working directly with interns. Manzil could also find a potential team member for a long term during the internship’s 3 month duration. As a part of the process the core team members first gave their requirements in the area they needed help and accordingly made a JD for the same. According to the JD a total of 23 students applied for the internship out of which 4 got selected for the final round. As this was the first time, the process itself was a great learning experience.

As an ending note I would like to say “No matter what the troubles are in front of us, we will fight those challenges and win in the end”. See you all for more learning and stories in the next edition. 

Written by Vandana Arya and Tulsi Kohli (Core Team and NL Members)

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