Manzil During Covid
Manzil During Covid
“Where there is a will, there is a way” – William Hazlitt
And that is the philosophy that has brought us here today. 2.5 years of the pandemic has crossed by, but our zeal to continuously reinvent ourselves and enable shared learning for Manzillions in the virtual world has only picked up more pace.
Manzil is a space where we constantly embrace opportunities to learn and grow. Pre-pandemic, we have always worked in a physical space, so It was quite challenging to transition to online learning modes during Covid. There was limited access to digital devices in most of our students’ homes which made it even more difficult. Nevertheless, our crew and our teachers persisted. We initiated a campaign to provide students with access to digital devices while developing strategies to make our virtual classes more interactive and engaging. Consequently, we were able to connect even with students living far from Delhi while also delivering all of our ongoing lessons virtually.
This opened so many doors for us. It:
- Reshaped the way our admission processes work.
- Inspired us to initiate several new programs to enable our students learn and grow better
- Widened our reach to create a learning space for students all over the country
Reshaping our Admission Process
Before the pandemic, Manzil had a traditional admission procedure that required each prospective student to complete and submit a hard copy of their application. Then, on the first Sunday of every month, interested candidates would get together in a physical space for Manzil’s orientation program.
Post pandemic, we streamlined our admission process using online video conferencing solutions like Zoom and Google Meet. The revised process involved:
- Release of an application notice 1 week prior to the admission date, along with a Google form for application
- Review of these applications by a team of form checkers until the admission day
- Online orientation on the first Sunday of every month for all interested applicants
The best part about reshaping the admission process through the use of technology was that we were now able to enrol students from any location, as long as they had access to a smartphone and an active internet connection. Learning at Manzil is no longer restricted to the limits of nearby neighbourhoods.
Shared Learning via Online Classes
During Covid, the spirit of learning at Manzil did not fizzle, just the medium changed. We shifted all our classes to online to continue the learning for our students. Zoom or Google Meet was used to conduct lessons, and teachers started making use of PowerPoint, virtual games, and eBooks to take their classes much more effectively. Art students studying dance, theatre and kathak also started using technology to learn more effectively.
Here are some of the ways we were able to positively impact our ongoing initiatives with online learning:
Hello Zindagi program enabled us to help the youth and teach them skills related to self-introspection workbooks, time management, resume making, and professional conduct at the workplace. This has impacted 130+ students, paving the way for both their personal and professional growth.
Our founder, Ravi bhaiya, started a fortnightly meeting with all teachers to give them a space to learn and support each other. They shared challenges, discussed ideas, and grew together. Occasionally, we also invited guest speakers to share their life journey and motivate the teachers.
With Covid forcing us to turn everything virtual, we began to organize our events online. The students got to learn a whole new way of managing events. But the best part was to see people from different age groups participate with enthusiasm, and have such a fun time together!
As a result of online learning modes, we saw:
- Several students from outside Delhi join Manzil classes. Our numbers increased to 400 per month.
- New learning possibilities with outstation mentors & volunteers.
- No more constraints with respect to a specific number of students to be enlisted in a physical class. We could now conduct classes with a sizeable number of students as there was no need for waiting lists anymore.
What makes our heart flutter with pride is the glowing feedback we received from our students.
New Program Initiatives at Manzil
From access to digital devices, to addressing mental health concerns, making classes engaging or providing opportunities to learn by doing – the Manzil team rose up to challenges due to online learning during the pandemic and introduced new program initiatives to mitigate them.
Teacher’s Well-being Sessions
These monthly sessions were started to enable teachers to handle their emotional needs better. This not only made them aware about their mental health, but also guided them on how to address specific mental health issues among students.
Kotla School Theater & Storytelling
Dramebaaz – a theatre group of Manzil, helped organize a 10-day online theatrical workshop for 3-5 year olds to educate children with storytelling and basic theatre skills while making it fun and interactive for them.
For the first time, Manzil invited students to be a part of the team through internships. The idea was to take their learning a step forward by giving students exposure to the actual work and train them through learning-by-doing.
How Manzil Has Evolved During the Pandemic
Looking back, Manzil has come a long way ever since the pandemic first broke out. There are countless ways we have been able to impart learning and wellness for our students as well as teachers. But none of this would have been possible without first ensuring a safe and healthy environment for them. As for most of our beneficiaries, it became difficult to procure food at regular intervals during the pandemic. And as such, learning became secondary to them as well as other countless families suffering at that time.. So our first challenge during the time was to keep the community together, provide them with ration kits, offer relief, organize consultations, oxygen cylinders, hospital beds, and deliver medicines to the needy.
Several Manzillions – students and alumni – came forward to volunteer during those times. They were leading this initiative and creating a safety net for everyone in the community. Students learnt to be sensitive to others around them, even if they themselves came from difficult economic backgrounds. Their selfless spirit to serve in times of needs, acts of kindness and compassion by being a catalyst of change, all of these demonstrates that Manzil must be doing something right.
Here are some of our blogs that will give a detailed perspective on how we evolved together during the pandemic:
How we went overnight from physical spaces to online classes for students to give them a space to learn, and provide any support their family needed.
The second wave saw several of our Manzillions volunteer to provide help and assistance to other Manzillions as well as those in need.
“No matter what the troubles are in front of us, we will fight those challenges and win in the end.”