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COVID-19 update on the Illam
Karunai Illam Trust
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COVID-19 update on the Illam

Kia ora and Namaste – we hope you are all safe in your bubble.

As a result of the coronavirus lockdown in India (23 March – 3 May), at least 320 million learners including tertiary students have been affected (UNESCO). Tamilnadu (where the Illam is located) had the third highest number of confirmed cases (1173 on 14 April) among Indian states. We are happy to inform that all our Illam children have safely returned to their families.

The academic disruption has been somewhat minimal as the academic year usually winds down by April. The main year end public examination is for students of Year 12. All these students had completed their public examinations in March barring one paper and have graduated from the Illam. The other public exam is at the end of Year 10 and these have been postponed. Children studying in other year levels have had to miss out on some final lessons and tests but they are likely to be promoted en masse to the next level. What this means is that for most of our Illam students the annual holidays have started earlier.

The Illam staff remain on the premises and are waiting to hear from the state authorities on next steps and whether they can proceed with new enrolments and re-opening of the Illam in early June as happens every year. There is no provision for distance learning for our Illam children.

You may know that our partner DHAN Foundation work in around 84 districts across 14 states of India. Their field teams are doing rapid assessments at the grass root level and help support members in need. For instance, DHAN is working with tribal communities in Kalvarayan hills of Tamilnadu. Workers from these tribal groups undertake seasonal work in plantations in neighbouring states. Under lockdown these workers are in a precarious situation and DHAN field staff are in constant touch with their families and doing the best to support them.

We will keep the Illam community of supporters updated as more information becomes available. What we do know is that the need for your continued support will be more than ever as current inequities and poverty are bound to escalate after this crisis. Should you wish to support through donations, please use this link.

Stay safe, The Trustees - Karunai Illam Trust, New Zealand

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