The fast-changing nature of the virus has made it clear that vaccination is our long-term defense to fight Covid-19 and return to a normal life. Marginalized communities remain at risk with limited access to vaccines and deep-rooted belief in misinformation surrounding the vaccine. Moreover, extended school closures have had a significant impact on a student’s day-to-day life, highlighting the importance of mental well-being and medical support.
While the global education community and the world come together to fight Covid-19, we are working hard to ramp up our vaccination, care and connectedness efforts.
Akanksha’s Covid-19 taskforce, Project Karuna has launched support efforts to ensure the physical safety and mental well being of our students, their families and the communities we serve. In the first phase of the pandemic, Project Karuna supported the Akanksha communities with hygiene and ration kits. This time, we are going beyond providing material essentials to investing in Covid-19 vaccination awareness, creating easy access to vaccines and facilitating counseling services.
The 3 pillars of Project Karuna are:
MISSION MAX VAX
Achieving our mission of ensuring maximum vaccination for Akanksha communities.
MENTAL HEALTH & WELL-BEING
Supporting our children, their families and our staff on dealing with Covid-19 anxiety, especially for those who have suffered pandemic-related losses.
Staying connected with our children through virtual classes to ensure that the learning never stops.
It is our mission to facilitate the vaccination of 50,000 Akanksha community members above the age of 18, including 70% of our students’ families byDecember 2021. The support of our social workers, helper didis & alumni team has been instrumental in organising vaccination drives for parents, alumni and their families, as well as staff members and their household members.
A majority of Akanksha communities are migrants & daily wagers, often belonging to minority households, which have limited access to internet services and vaccine supply. To safeguard our communities and reduce barriers to vaccination, Akanksha’s ‘Max-Vax’ is enabling priority access for the urban-poor through a 3-pronged approach -
Developing a database of beneficiaries segmented by age & eligibility.
Key messaging and correct information in vernacular languages through personal stories and regional media.
Creating easily accessible systems to facilitate registration on Cowin App and setting up of vaccination camps, arranging required logistics to facilitate vaccinations.
Our team in collaboration with Apnalaya, FMCH, MagicBus, SNEHA, Teach For India, and iTeach Schools also conducted a vaccine hesitancy and uptake survey for the urban slum communities in Mumbai & Pune. We reached out to 3675 individuals across 18 communities in Mumbai and 20 communities in Pune to understand vaccine uptake and individual reasons behind refusal and/or reluctance to taking the Covid-19 vaccine.
Find the detailed findings of the report here.
We are currently working on identifying student & alumni beneficiaries below the age of 18 years eligible for vaccination. So far we have organised vaccination drives for parents, alumni and their families as well as staff and their families.
73% Akanksha families vaccinated at least with 1st dose
14200 number of doses administered | 1422 eligible alumni and families vaccinated
More on Max Vax:
Extended school closures and online learning has created distance between our children and their school support systems. To safeguard Akanksha students’ well-being and ensure a safe and comfortable home setting for online learning, we are working hard to strengthen our systems of connection and care. A few initiatives include grief counselling and specialised interventions for the most vulnerable children and their parents, immediate financial support in case of loss of income/earning member, especially to Covid-19 as well as mandatory check-in calls with our students at a regular frequency.
The Covid-19 pandemic has redefined daily learning for our schools, students and their parents. We are committed to creating a seamless transition to online learning for our students so that they continue to attend daily classes from their homes. So far, we have provided access to digital devices and internet connectivity for nearly 15,000 children to equip them for the 2021-22 academic year. We are also supporting 88%-100% financial aid for Akanksha alumni to pursue college and vocational programs. As part of this initiative, Akanksha has partnered with Arpan & GiveIndia to raise funds for virtual learning and Covid-19 efforts.