India: A small yet great victory over the pandemic
Their classrooms were locked and online learning more fantasy than reality because cell phones and laptops were often simply too expensive or teachers just not prepared: for millions of girls and boys, the coronavirus pandemic has meant no school at all, often for months at a time. And for countless children this is still, or yet again, a reality.
Sadly, it is already clear: the pandemic has caused a global education emergency with results that go beyond students no longer getting to learn their ABCs. In many poor countries, closed schools also means that children no longer get their only regular meal of the day. It also means that child labor and early marriages are on the rise again.
But there are wonderful exceptions as well! For example, the initiative of Indian teacher Deep Narayan Nayak, who simply moved the school in his village outdoors. He transformed the walls of the houses into blackboards. He painted the precautions against infection on the walls and he teaches his class how to wear masks, allowing them to attend school outdoors while keeping a safe distance from each other. He even teaches them biology including letting them look through a microscope.
Indian photographer Sourav Das has captured scenes from the everyday life of this unusually creative and lovable village school. According to UNICEF, 1.5 billion children were unable to attend school at the height of the global lockdown - with a third of them lacking access to distance learning.
Photographer: Sourav Das, India
Sourav Das, born in 1987, sees his camera as an instrument of learning. He invokes the famous Henri Cartier-Bresson when he says: “With one eye the photographer looks at the world, with the other into his own soul.”
Following his Master of Arts degree in 2011, he has put his focus on photography. He sees himself as a ‘street photographer’ and wants to document social change in the society he lives in. Sourav Das is convinced that photography can be as expressive as a novella, a song, or a painting.