TO bridge the gap in education that children often face during cancer treatment, an indoor classroom at the Tata Memorial Hospital (TMH) has now started attracting young crowds in their colourful basement where pediatric department is housed.
A total of 100 children, aged under-15 and mostly from outside the city, have now started attending classes during their visit to the hospital for check-ups or chemotherapy. “There are six teachers who come to the hospital every day. Since children are of different ages, we club them into different groups and teach them,” said Shalini Jatia, secretary at Impacct foundation that co-ordinates the education program.
According to data from the hospital, around 2,000 kids register with the hospital every year for treatment of which 70 per cent come from low-income group. With treatment requiring at least six months to few years, several have to drop out of school.
Sabrin Shaikh (4) is currently undergoing chemotherapy sessions at the hospital for Burkitts Lymphoma cancer. Her mother had to bring both her brothers from Manchar to pursue her to undergo treatment. Elder brother Sameer (7) now attends school five days a week, which he never got a chance to attend in his village. Sabrin has also been inducted at the school for play activity.
While young children are given puzzles or allowed to engage in art activities, older kids are taught science, mathematics, geography and general knowledge for two hours daily.
“We also engage few children in BMC run schools. About 25 children go there,” said teacher Priya. The BMC school, Canshala, runs from morning until late afternoon.