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By UNICEF Office, Tamil Nadu
S. Deepika, 14, lives in the Government Slum Clearance Board tenements at Chemmenchery. She studies in Standard IX at the Government Higher Secondary School there. Deepika’s mother is a domestic worker, and her father is a coolie. Neither of them is able to earn due to the lockdown. She has a younger brother who is studying in Standard VI.
Deepika is afraid of the coronavirus. She feels that school is a crowded place and is hesitant to go there. She was happy when the annual exams were cancelled and the summer holidays were announced.
Even at home, she is conscious of maintaining social distancing. “My house is not very big. It is 158 Sq ft, and we are finding it difficult to maintain social distancing. But we are trying our best to keep safe. I feel that we must listen to the Government and remain at home. In my tenements, many children are playing outside. Staying inside this small house is hard. It’s very hot during the day. But we don’t have any other option.”
Deepika is happy that she can spend quality time with her parents and brother. “Before the lockdown, my father and mother would return very late from work. At times, I wouldn’t get to see them in the mornings as I would be asleep when they left for work. This lockdown is helping us to share many things and have fun. We are playing board games. I am finding it very interesting. It is more relaxing than playing games on the phone,” she says.
At the same time, the stress of missing out on so many days of school worries her. “I am stressed about my Standard X lessons. I am afraid that teachers will rush through the portions due to the extended holidays.” She feels that since she hasn’t written the Standard IX annual examination, the Standard X Board Exam will be even more stressful.
Mental health conditions among students preparing to take their Class X and XII examinations in India has been a topic of discussion for a few years now. In the light of COVID-19, the stress and anxiety are bound to increase among children, as in Deepika’s case. Have a similar experience to share? Write your COVID Diary today!