For more than a month, the routine of HSP has been impacted because of the Covid-19 situation in India. To prevent the virus from coming into our homes, the staff and children have reduced their interactions with outside to the minimum that means mainly to buy essentials. In EPN, Baksara and Ashaneer where HSP runs schools as well as homes, the teachers were coming to give classes to the children of the homes. It has not happened anymore since April when the virus started spreading fast again. Therefore, we can say that a holiday routine began before holidays started.
Holidays have been decided for the children of Howrah for one month (from the 15th of May to the 15th of June). Nevertheless, some of them are staying in the homes, the situation making it difficult for their families to take care of them for one month or to pick them up because of the transport restrictions.
In Howrah, 36 children are currently staying in our Homes (two girls and nine boys at EPN, six girls in Lalkuthi, three boys at Baksara and 16 at Ashaneer). The children of Jalpaiguri all stayed in our homes. The staff is also staying to look after the children though some of them go back home to take some rest. They are all fine.
Raphaël, an French Volunteer staying at Ashaneer, adds a few words about the situation here: “Covid period arrived at the same time of holidays so it did not change much for Ashaneer Home. Two weeks before lockdown, we already set up new rules to prevent contamination. Teachers were not giving classes anymore and office staffs were not allowed to go to their workplace in Ashaneer. Going outside was regulated. Concerning the children, now we are 16 with 9 girls and 7 boys. Despite having a little slower daily routine, we do not feel much these dark moments for India. We have the great chance to have a beautiful playground so we can play many games such as football and Kabaddi. We take advantage of this situation to experiment new activities for children and they look happy! As Sabina said “we are very lucky to be here!”
Despite worries about lockdown, relatives and recently the cyclone Yaas, every home tries to be a cocoon where children can be less aware of this difficult time for India. Hopefully for HSP, the cyclone Yaas did not hit Howrah strongly and no damages can be seen.
Indirectly, the cyclone even was an occasion for the boys of EPN to enjoy the experience of sleeping two nights in a classroom, the school beeing the most resilient building of EPN. This change of environment made them very joyful. The school has already been used as a playground and a bedroom (what the children could hardly imagine before) for all the children successively to carry out a quarantine before returning to the hom
All the staff is doing their best to help the children to grow up well despite those difficult times.