The award is for her efforts to teach children through her initiative, Ente Naatile Smart Class

The award is for her efforts to teach children through her initiative, Ente Naatile Smart Class

A thatched roof shed in Anaikatti comes alive with giggles and voices of children. It is from here that 13-year-old S Anamika runs Ente Naatile Smart Class, an initiative that won her the Youth Icon Award issued by the Universal Record Forum in West Bengal. “It is an honour to receive the award,” she says.

Anamika S

Anamika, who is from Anaikatti, is a Class VII student at Jawahar Navodaya Vidyalaya, Thiruvananthapuram. She came to her hometown during lockdown. “Our village has poor network connection and power supply. Most students don’t have access to smart phones or TV to attend online classes. I decided to help.” She set up the shed near her house. “The location is accessible by all students. There is a black board and we sit on the floors and learn together.”

Anamika teaches English, Malayalam, German and Hindi. “I have put together a time table. While the young ones learn alphabets, I teach lessons from textbooks to older students.” All her students are aged between six and 13. “I follow a few basic rules. The students have to be punctual. They should wear masks and maintain social distancing,” she explains. After classes, there are sessions on storytelling, folk songs and art and craft. “We observe butterflies and flowers and learn about biodiversity. Then, we play till evening,” she says.

Anamika says that when she has online classes, her father Sudheer M who is a folk singer takes over. She also receives help from Shymala D, a local teacher who volunteers there. Ente Naatile Smart Class also provides mid-day meals for students. “My mother cooks our meals every day,” she says. Anamika plans to continue till her regular classes resume. “My efforts have made my parents proud and that is my biggest achievement,” she smiles.