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Pandemic induced school closures have left some 1.5 Billion students out of classrooms without access to a household computer, thus increasing the digital divide. In India, school closures have affected 320 million children, further increasing educational inequity and adding to stress and/or anxiety levels of learners. Educators globally face the major concern of prioritising student well being, with learner loneliness increasing due to the lack of social interactions and creative output. Nationally, 24% of households in India have an internet facility. While 66% of India’s population live in villages, only a little over 15% of rural households have internet access. For urban households, the proportion is 42%. However, India itself has more than 400 million active WhatsApp users. 53% of Indian phone users use non-internet enabled phones. Given differing technology access across households in India, our intervention allows for flexible hosting across different platforms to reach the most vulnerable children.
Arts For All is India’s first COVID-response project that leverages art and low tech mediums to focus on children’s well being and SEL skills, at a cost of almost USD 0.50 per child per month (other organizations in the same field start at costs of about USD4-5/child). With 50% of India's internet-enabled audience (over 400 million users) having access to WhatsApp, and 75% of children in our programs having access to their parent’s WhatsApp accounts for at least an hour/day, Arts For All makes use of WhatsApp as the most immediate medium to reach children. We deploy content in various formats such as text, image, video, and voice notes to make for more equitable learning opportunities for children with diverse learning skills and needs, and ensure that these are made available free of cost. Our intervention is highly scalable with content that is flexible, age-appropriate and contextual. With a robust monitoring system, our program has already been disseminated to 4.7 million children across 19 countries.