Jaga and Balia: Sons’ Learning Progress Brings Hope To A Single Mother
Twins, Jaga and Balia, transformed from struggling readers to enthusiastic learners at CAMaL ka Camp
Jaga and Balia Swain are 12-year-old identical twins from Khosalpur village, Odisha. Two years ago, their father passed away from a heart attack. Their mother, Manjulata, who worked as a domestic help, became the sole breadwinner of the family. Burdened with familial and financial responsibilities, Manjulata constantly worried about Jaga and Balia’s future.
Despite the daily travails, Manjulata firmly believed that the education of her children will uplift them from their miseries. She was confident that if her children studied, they would be able to secure jobs with good income. The constraints of their financial situation did dampen her aspirations until the day she discovered Pratham’s “free” CAMaL Ka Camp, as Manjulata likes to describe it. The CAMaL Ka Camp is a summer camp by Pratham that aims to bridge learning gaps and help children, transitioning from primary to middle school, catch-up on literacy and numeracy skills.
With renewed optimism, Manjulata enrolled Jaga and Balia in the summer camp. An initial assessment at the beginning of the camp revealed that Jaga and Balia were struggling to read the most basic of sentences and solve simple division questions. Under the guidance of Pratham’s volunteers, the two boys embarked on a fun learning journey. Every day, they participated in warm-up games like “Fire in the Mountain." They loved the story activities too, where they could listen and discuss stories with friends. These engaging and simple learning activities sparked a love for learning in Jaga and Balia. As days passed, Jaga and Balia’s confidence bloomed. Within a few weeks, they went from struggling with reading comprehension to reading stories fluently. Even the once-daunting division problems became easy for them to solve.
Manjulata didn’t just stand on the sidelines; she was actively involved in the camp, just like her children. She attended classes to learn the camp’s teaching methods. She learnt how to use household objects to teach children at home. The camp made her realize that as a mother she plays a critical role in her sons’ learning journey.
“I used to think that I was not capable of supporting my children’s education since I wasn’t educated myself. But Pratham’s summer camp gave me the confidence that I could also make a huge difference in their learning journey. Through the summer camp, I learned how to teach my children basic concepts using simple tools and life experiences," Manjulata said.