Bridging The Gap: Giving Vulnerable Children An Equal Educational Opportunity
An SOS youth prepares for her online class using a laptop that was provided by SOS donors
“Distance learning is much more difficult, especially without a laptop or tablet. We really struggled to understand and absorb our lessons. But with the new laptops provided by the donors, distance learning has now become easier for us,” said an SOS youth who is a senior high school student.
This year presented us with this great irony that we must learn to keep a safe distance to show how much we care for one another. For this reason, establishments where people gather have been temporarily closed and replaced by virtual spaces. This includes schools.
The shift to distance learning has forced many children out of school due to the lack of resources or difficulty adapting to new learning modalities. In the eight children’s villages in the Philippines, while education continued during the lockdown, SOS children and youth also struggled to keep up with their lessons. Our SOS homes were not prepared for this sudden shift, and there were not enough e-learning facilities yet when classes resumed.
Our learners had to borrow their SOS mother’s mobile phones to attend online classes or consultations. At home, schedules were tightly kept to ensure everyone can use available e-learning resources. Thankfully, the ate’s and kuya’s at home were more than willing to help tutor their younger siblings. Helping each other made up for the lack of resources during the first few weeks of distance learning.
Ate helping her two younger brothers with their online lessons
But as more school requirements piled up, even the youths began to experience challenges in their own studies. No one at home could help out with their school requirements, and the poor internet connection deprived them of fully maximizing their online classes.
The pressing need for more e-learning facilities for the children has led us to knock on your hearts and ask for help. Through your support, we were able to raise funds to purchase 120 new laptop units and 18 smart TVs. By working together, we provided abandoned and neglected children with much-needed resources to continue pursuing their education.
College students can now attend online classes through laptops and access student portals to submit their projects and homework. Outside school hours, our youths initiate peer discussions with their classmates. This helps them better understand lessons and acquire the information they missed during class.
SOS mothers have to learn how to use laptops so they can properly guide their children
Parent-teacher consultations are also easier now for mothers. They have mastered using Zoom and Google Teams and can even readily assist when their children have technical difficulties. Some mothers have downloaded educational resources for their family to bond over and learn together with.
However, for many children, distance learning cannot take the place of traditional learning. Auntie Leah, an educator at the children’s village in Manila, shared that not all children could fully adjust to the new learning setup.
“Children have different learning styles and capabilities. Some have adjusted well, while others are still having a hard time and need one-on-one or group tutorial assistance. Children with special needs attend one-on-one classes, too. They need to be monitored daily and require assistance in completing homework,” said Auntie Leah.
SOS children doing a group online study
Amidst this COVID-19 pandemic, there are learning gaps that not even having sufficient e-learning resources can bridge. But this shouldn’t stop us from building a strong educational foundation for children, especially for abandoned and neglected children. We are extremely grateful to all our partners and donors who chose to help our SOS children so they can continue their studies. Your gift has helped many children have a chance at a brighter future.