On the 5th of October, we are celebrating World Teachers’ Day, which is an international event launched by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in 1994. Before we jump into what we do as an organization, to understand the significance of this holiday, here is some context into this highly relevant day: This holiday marks the anniversary of the adoption of the 1966 UNESCO Recommendation regarding the Status of Teachers. The aim of it was to set some standards concerning the rights and responsibilities of teachers for their initial preparation, further education, recruitment, employment, and learning conditions.

The theme of this year is Young Teachers: The Future of the Profession. As an organization, we recognize how education can shape lives and create crucial opportunities for many if it is delivered the right way. Therefore, we would like to express our gratitude to all our teachers around the world who relentlessly strive to educate their students, support young people with their vision and act as reliable guides even when things get a little intimidating. The message from UNESCO outlines many issues, including underpayment of teachers, and calls upon governments to encourage young people to consider teaching as a career option. You can read further about the message here: https://bit.ly/2GDvJWK

A significant emphasis was the need for educational systems to inject fresh thinking on how to recruit, train, incentivize, and retain the brightest minds for 21st-century classrooms. The theme seems fitting considering the present scenario where factors like the lack of funding, human resources, inconvenient geographic location of educational centers, and gender-based education restrictions have deprived children of education, which happens to be a fundamental human right. This issue is bleakly apparent in India, the share of female teachers declines with the remoteness of schools, from 60% when the school is located at the local government seat to 30% when it is 30 km away.

We believe the ability to access education has worsened now that we are going through a global pandemic. We call upon governments to adapt to this new normal and refresh their education systems according to the needs of children. In these uncertain times, the SHAPE organization takes great pride in delivering quality education in innovative ways.

1. We have organized virtual classes to expand the perspectives of our children beyond the barriers created by the economy, culture, and outmoded educational system. The use of online education is not novel. Nonetheless, for many of these kids, it was.

2. We have also joined the Student Volunteer Network, Aussie, to organize educational workshops for impoverished children experiencing pandemic-induced illiteracy. The program is now a part of our ongoing Child Health and Education Development Project. We will be conducting more programs like this, as the lockdown continues to keep children idle.

3. Our promise to make education more accessible is not only limited to children either. We also train underprivileged women to generate income and provide free computer education, fashion designing, and entrepreneurship training to deserving women.

However, we cannot do this alone, so we need your support. We are too understaffed and underequipped to function efficiently.

Ways you can help:

Donate an old computer/tablet to help us reach more children or volunteer and remotely teach our children. Click on this link to donate: https://bit.ly/30CDDXz

We hope that every one of us has taken the time to appreciate the great work our teachers did even at the challenging times like these. They enable us to reach out full potential, discover many of our talents that no one has ever realized. Once again, we thank all the teachers inspiring many, including myself, to get better, teaching us to be kinder and help the less unfortunate.

Credits – Esma S. Adiguzel & Eden Samuel P

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