A Backpack That Turns Into A Desk Is Revolutionising How 5,000 Kids Study In Rural India

It was yet another rainy Monday when 7-year old Rahul walked into his classroom. As expected, it was dreary, cold, bare and flooded. Resigned, he joined the rest of his classmates under the tin shed outside for the first lesson of the day.

Sadly, this is the fate of most students in the remote village of Bhoola (Sirohi District) in Rajasthan.

As per the Census 2011, the literacy rate of Bhoola is 19.9%

The School (Rajkiya Madhyamik Vidyalaya, Akha Ji Ka Tiba) provides education to children from Class 1 to Class 10, but lacks infrastructure – it doesn’t even have basic chairs and tables. As a result, the students are made to sit on the floor, huddled together. During the rains, it becomes worse: the roof leaks and the classes are flooded. Children have no choice but to sit in the corridors outside.

This tragedy struck a chord in Deepshikha Chhetri’s heart. Deepshikha is a Public Health Nutritionist working with the NGO Kshamtalaya Foundation founded to support school children in disadvantaged settings, to bring a holistic development in the school and the community. She travels every day to schools like these to implement study programs.

She says, “After one month of class intervention with students and seeing the conditions of the classrooms, I realized that children need a playful and learning environment and infrastructural support like proper tables and chairs to write and study in right posture, which will not put stress on their back and eye. Sitting for long hours with hunched backs, along with putting a negative effect on health also strains eyes of the students.”

During her field visits, she realised that the children didn’t have a place to study effectively even in their own homes due to their poor financial conditions. They went from school to their homes only to return to studying in bad postures. They needed to be equipped with the right means to study, they needed motivation.

Which is why she plans to get them DESKits, bags that can double up as portable desks.

She further explains, “This will help them greatly in improving their posture and have the facility to study within the classrooms instead of sitting in the school corridors.”

These school bags have been designed and developed by a start-up social enterprise called PROSOC Innovators Pvt. Ltd., and can be used at home too! The table can be adjusted to different heights, is detachable and also can be used separately from the bag. Moreover, children will be able to carry their books in a waterproof bag during the rains.

DESKITs are being used by 5,000 students across eight different states in India. The expected durability of this equipment is two academic years. Help make this a reality for students who really need it, donate to Deepshikha’s wonderful cause and help these children come closer to their dreams.

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