Padmaja Krishna Singh from Pathways School Noida, has won international recognition with a project which shows heart as well as skill. This Grade 11 student participated in an international online competition on the theme of challenges for Covid and created an online support for students with dyslexia. The competition was organised by OWN Academy and had over 200 entries from 36 countries. Padmaja won the first prize and prize money of 380 USD. Apart from the prize money, she was offered the opportunity to implement the project idea, which was proposed in the competition by her.
This student used her ingenuity to deal with a very real problem which has hit students with Special Education Needs who often struggle with online learning.
In times like COVID-19, these students are vulnerable as it is difficult for them to cope with a change in their environment and lifestyle. Just like students going to extra classes, academies, and tuitions, her project strives to do the same for dyslexic students and to provide them with learning support. Such services will help them to get open to numerous experts and have more people to support and develop their skills faster. Her organization also wants to give advantages to parents, educators, and volunteers as they train them to learn and have experience in helping and supporting these special students. Now she is working with a group, namely, Block COVID and other groups of mentors, who are helping her in the incubation process, and launched the online organization for children with Dyslexia “EDUNATION” along with her cousin. The South China Morning Post- an English language newspaper in Hong Kong- published her interview in their forum as well.
Padmaja’s words about her passion towards creating Edunation:
I am passionate about giving back to the community and felt that this was a great opportunity to self-develop and volunteer. Due to this pandemic, we felt the lack of opportunities to benefit the communities around us and we felt that starting our own online organization to help children with dyslexia was a way for us to support the special education system. According to the National Health Services, Dyslexia is a learning difficulty that can affect the reading and writing abilities of a person. It is a lifelong problem but some skills can be improved with learning support. Dyslexia does not affect one's intelligence, unlike a learning disability. A person who has dyslexia may struggle in the aspects of planning and organization as well. During this pandemic, many schools are using online sources for education. There are some special schools that are not able to provide the correct amount of attention knowing that the children need additional training in order for them to learn in the best way possible. In such times, these students are vulnerable as it might be more difficult for them to cope with a change in their environment and lifestyle. The idea was borne out of passion, psychology, to deliver something unique, a whole new idea of online classes by experts for dyslexic students in an online NGO that also awakens other inspiration and interest. It is about a progressive adaptation and would prepare the community for future pandemics in this field as well. Making a website where volunteers and educators provide services for these students can help them learn in a more efficient manner and our organization is also open to donations. Just like students going to extra classes, academies and tuitions, our project strives to do the same for dyslexic students and to provide them with support. Such services will help them to get open to numerous experts and have more people to support and develop their skills faster. We also want to give advantages to parents, educators and volunteers as we train them to learn and have experience in helping and supporting these special students. As a student led organization, we want many students to volunteer with us to build a larger platform and spread awareness about Dyslexia. Student volunteers will help organize, plan and create different “at home” activities that will help Dyslexic students stay engaged with their syllabus. This organization will also help volunteers build their communication, self-management, research, social and collaborative skills as these skills are vital to have as they help one grow as an individual through meaningful deeds.