Omega Village resident helping to tutor children amidst pandemic
THREE days of the week, Rowena Rodrigues, a Community Services Officer (CSO) would leave her village and go to Tigerbone Banakari Village where she would assist schoolchildren to complete their worksheets.
The group of CSOs, some parents and children of Tigerbone Banakari Village, would meet at the village pavilion and there they would hold group sessions with the children. Rodrigues is a resident of Omega Village, a few villages away and she would often walk to ensure she reaches on time to assist the schoolchildren with their Ministry of Education-issued work sheets.
The 22-year-old is very passionate about her role in the community and acts as a tutor for the children, all of whom have been away from school for more than a year due to the pandemic. Rodrigues is one of 10 CSOs that are attached to the Tigerbone Banakari Village and they would participate in community-based activities to enhance the lives of villagers and the village itself.
They have embarked on several fund-raising projects such as a barbeque and beverage sale to garner funds to get tee-shirts with the logo of CSOs and to buy other things for the group. The CSOs are also geared towards the completion of a tourism site in Tigerbone Banakari Village, which will serve as an attraction spot where plants, trees and other things will be installed to beautify the place.
The worksheet session with schoolchildren at Tigerbone Banakari Pavilion
Rodrigues told the Pepperpot Magazine that she is helping the group of Year One to Grade Six children with their work sheets, which were distributed by teachers of the various schools they attend in other villages.
She reported that the exercise is held with about 25 children from Tigerbone Banakari Village but the community has a lot more children; some don’t show up for the event. Rodrigues disclosed that the face-to-face exercise started last week and they will continue until further notice, since the children cannot go to school.
The initiative was launched because some children need the extra help to complete the worksheets, since their parents are working. The learning sessions are held on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays from 09:00hrs to midday.
Rodrigues is one of many volunteers who have been instrumental in overseeing many community-based self-help projects and volunteerism and reaching out to assist in the community is her true passion.
“I feel good that I am doing something worthwhile to lend support to the children in this community, because it is a difficult time and we all need a little bit of help along the way and the children is[sic] gaining some one-on-one attention in the sessions, since they cannot benefit from virtual teaching,” she said.
Being a far-flung village, Tigerbone Banakari is not easily accessible and there are no internet services except on cellphones and it is costly to buy data to do online classes. The people of this community do not live near each other and are scattered in this large village, so the worksheets exercise is a good thing to keep the children occupied.
Rodrigues reported that in her village, Omega, which has a small population, the children are home-schooled by their parents, but if the need arises she can always pitch in to assist, but her services are needed more in Tigerbone Banakari Village.
“As you can see we have a good turn out with the children and they are cooperating and willing to learn, despite the challenges,” she said. The children seemed engrossed in the face-to-face learning session that day and were well-behaved.
Some were even happy to get out of the house and be around their peers in a somewhat normal classroom setting, even though it was in a school.