DUBAI: More than ever, online schooling and digital learning have become great sources of knowledge. A high-school student in the UAE decided to help underprivileged students with online education by creating tutoring videos that are “by the children, for the children”.
Samarth Chandna, a Grade 12 student at The Millennium School, Dubai, is the founder of an online educational initiative that he named ‘Helping Little Gems’.
“I started a YouTube channel, making my own videos around April. By May, I had three-four friends who began contributing to the initiative, each creating content for different subjects based on their areas of strengths,” Samarth told Gulf News. “Today, the initiative has a team of 60 highly motivated children actively creating content, with over 120 videos uploaded and with more than 13,000 cumulative views on YouTube and Instagram.”
The student said he was happy that he and his classmates were able to continue with their school through online classes during the pandemic. He, however, realised that distance learning was not possible for students in schools and countries that are less privileged. “These children’s parents have helped us in countless ways — maintaining our homes and offices, building our city’s infrastructure, driving the public transport vehicles we use or even growing the food we eat. But sadly, their studies are at a standstill. This had been bothering me for some time and made me think of what we could do to contribute productively towards these children — not only during these [difficult] times, but continue way beyond that. ‘Little Gems’ sprouted from these unsettling thoughts,” Samarth said.
Contributing towards a noble cause
The initiative has now spread to many schools around the UAE, where students are creating content for this YouTube channel. Students in India as well as some in Oman are also contributing towards this noble cause. The aim of the channel is to ensure that the content created by the tutors is simple and easy for people accessing the videos online.
Students are contributing to the project in whatever way possible — creating more content, editing videos, providing subtitles or using their individual skills and strengths. “Soon, we all became teachers while pursuing our own high school education,” added Samarth.
Serving as a support system
There is a variety in terms of the topics provided as well as the different age groups that are targeted. Currently, the initiative has created videos in subjects such as English, Science, Social Studies, Mathematics and Hindi, along with other educational content that is not usually taught as part of school curriculum — such as social safety, origami and mental health.
Samarth hopes that this initiative will sustain for many years, past the COVID-19 crisis, and serve as a support system for teachers and students all around the world, helping create readily available learning content on a vast range of topics. ‘Exploring ways’
“I have reached out to various NGOs in India that are focused on child education. We have received positive response from esteemed organisations such as Cry India, Unicef India, Save The Children, Goonj, Bachpan Bachao Andolan. All of them are exploring ways of sharing these educational videos with the lesser-privileged children with the help of their colleagues/volunteers. Also, we are trying to contact schools whose classes are on hold so that these videos can help children continue with their studies,” Samarth said.