Kerala people’s science movement empowers parents to hold pandemic-hit kids close

Makkalkkoppam helps pandemic-affected kids to look up to parents

The Covid-19 pandemic situation has impacted the lives of many over the two-year period ever since its advent. Among them, children have been the most affected, with schools, playgrounds and public parks remaining shut for months together. This scenario, in effect, has proved to be depressing for most of the kids across all geographies.

In Kerala too, school going kids have been relegated to stay at home, away from their classmates and friends. They are in a situation where they have been forced to stay indoors where they find it elders who cannot spare even a few minutes to play with them, let alone listen to their woes.

It is here that the Kerala Sastra Sahithya Parishad (KSSP), which literally means The Kerala Forum for Science Literature, stepped in. The realization that children across the state have been going through the worst patch of their lives owing to the pandemic situation, and that the kids need parental support now more than ever,  prompted the KSSP roll out measures to aid the children in the most effective manner.  

‘With Our Children’ aids parents to hold kids close

Born out of this thought was a unique programme called Makkalkkoppam, which translates as ‘With Our Children’, wherein issues such as depression, loss of interest in studies and other behavioural problems among kids were to be addressed.

KSSP, the people’s science movement unique to Kerala, leapt into action so that awareness among parents and their empowerment towards standing by their kids are ensured. The Makkalkkoppam program positioned itself as a parental support initiative so that children are provided with maximum support in their studies at a time all the joy of learning was being robbed by the coronavirus spread and the subsequent restrictions of going to school.

A KSSP study conducted some time ago in the Northern Kerala district of Kozhikode had brought to light disturbing trends among children. Prominent issues of concern included insomnia, laziness, anger, lack of concentration, and depression, Further, the study findings pointed out the ill effects of continuous use of smartphones among kids.

These problems had to be addressed effectively, and the best way to go about that would be to have parents hold their children close so that they find comfort during the difficult times they are in. KSSP decided to create comfortable learning environments inside homes where parents stand by the children at any time they need them. The Makkalkkoppam initiative was rolled out with this in mind.

Parents get to listen to resource persons including psychologists

The program was initiated across Kerala, and the Makkalkkoppam initiative was presented in the form of an online classroom environment wherein parents were educated on how to handle tough situations their children face at home. The classes were doled out over the online platform on August 5, and are expected to conclude on September 5.

The program has got the wholehearted applause from parents from all walks of life. Ever since its launch on August 5, the scenario has changed for the better. The KSSP has spruced up the Makkalkkoppam classes by bringing in resource groups comprising trained teachers and psychologists. The initiative has grown in popularity over the past few days, with government and private educational institutions keen on hosting the classes.

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