Teachers Visit a Bridge Everyday to Create a Classroom for Children of Migrant Workers Stuck in India’s Lockdown

For months during the pandemic, the people of India woke up to news regarding the plight of migrant laborers.

Stranded on their way home due to stringent lockdown restrictions and the lack of basic amenities brought us harrowing tales of human suffering.

However, the news also spurred heroes into action.

Under the bridge in the coastal state of Kerala, a heartening sight awaits those who are passing by in Kochi.

Underneath the Bolgatty-Vallarpadam bridge, teachers can be found engrossed with students of all ages, deep in study.

Ten children of migrant laborers had been living under the bridge with their families. Now that temporary ‘home’ is doubling up as a classroom, thanks to the dedicated teachers of St. John Bosco’s UP School.

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When the government ordered schools to close, and classes began commencing online, the teachers realized that some children had no means to attend online classes, and would likely discontinue their education if the situation persisted.

Armed with laptops and drawing sets, three teachers—Shamiya Baby, Neema Thomas and Susan Mable—and the school headmistress Elizabeth Fernandez, came to the rescue. Since the beginning of June, when online classes officially began, these teachers have been downloading classes on their laptops and heading over to the bridge to teach the children.

‘They also carry masks, biscuits and sweets for the young kids every day,” reports Mathrubhumi News.

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As technology seeps into the education sector, stories like this serve to underscore the undeniable value of human teachers—and their selfless kindness… Priceless.

We applaud our health workers and doctors, but let us also spare a thought for society’s teachers who help keep the lamp of hope brightly lit within the minds and hearts of its youngest citizens.

– Edited from an original article submitted by Gayathry Rajeev in India 

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Watch Notre Dame Cathedral Bell Ring Out for Healthcare Workers on the One-Year Anniversary of Its Fire

Yesterday marked the one-year anniversary of the fire that came within 30 minutes of destroying the beloved Notre Dame cathedral in Paris.

Now as a means of honoring its survival and encouraging locals to remain unified in the face of the novel coronavirus lockdowns, the cathedral’s bell rang out across Paris for the second time since the fire.

On April 15th at 8PM when city-dwellers typically take to their windows to applaud healthcare workers on the frontline of the pandemic, three people donned hazmat suits to protect themselves from the toxic lead particulates released by the fire and spent five minutes ringing the iconic bell—which is reportedly the second largest in the country.

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As reporters captured the iconic event on camera, hundreds of French citizens could be heard cheering and clapping from the streets for the duration of the homage.

“The restoration of Notre-Dame… is a symbol of the resilience of our people, of their capacity to overcome hardships, and to recover,” said French President Emmanuel Macron.

Although the structure of the bell’s belfry was undamaged by the fire, it has been rung only once since the blaze, and that was to honor the passing of former French president Jacques Chirac in September 2019.

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President Macron originally planned to have the cathedral fully restored within five years of the fire, but the pandemic—coupled with poor winter weather—has put the initiative behind schedule.

Regardless, restoration managers told Reuters that they at least want to have the cathedral ready to host Easter mass on April 16th, 2024.

This is just one of many positive stories and updates that are coming out of the COVID-19 news coverage this week. For more uplifting coverage on the outbreaks, click here.

(WATCH the AFP video below) – Feature photo by David Merrett, CC

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Chinese Company Ships Crates of Masks to Italy Covered in Italian Poetry: We Are ‘Leaves of the Same Tree’

A Chinese company has shipped crates containing tens of thousands of respirator masks to Italy in her time of need.

And it has done so with the artistic flair of a true Italian romantic.

Consumer technology giant Xiaomi mailed the shipment to the Italian Civil Protection Department, and they stapled to the side of the crates an ancient line of poetry from the Roman philosopher Seneca:

We are waves from the same sea, leaves from the same tree, and flowers from the same garden.

Siamo onde dello stesso mare, foglie dello stesso albero, fiori dello stesso giardino

The European country has had a terrible time of the pandemic, and Xiaomi International (pronounced Sheeow-mee) announced the donation on its Facebook page March 5, saying the company felt a responsibility to a market which had welcomed them so warmly when the smartphone maker expanded into Italy two years ago.

“Since we arrived two years ago, we have felt loved and deeply integrated into the life of the country. This is also why we felt the duty to support Italy in the management of the COVID-19 epidemic, by donating a first important quantity of FFP3 masks.”

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They also uploaded the photos showing the lovingly prepared crates in their post.

The company’s chief financial officer called it a “source of great pride” to be able to offer the help, and praised the Italian government’s “excellent job for the benefit of the whole community.”

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Medical shortages of masks, test kits, respirators, and other goods are one of the major reasons why a country might find it difficult to control an outbreak, and the quality of the FFP3 masks sent from Xiaomi are the most effective available.

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Across Canada, Scaremongering Becomes ‘Caremongering’ as Citizens Help Each Other In Challenging Times

Anyone who pays attention to mainstream media, especially these days, has experienced “scaremongering”—but what about “caremongering”? Even as I write this article my spelling software suggests that I change caremongering into scaremongering—because there has never been such a word.

Well that’s no longer the case, since Toronto residents Mita Hans and Valentina Harper set up the first of what now totals 35 Facebook “Caremongering” groups to help out people in Canada during the coronavirus epidemic in Halifax, Ottawa, Ontario, and Annapolis County, Nova Scotia.

People are joining the groups to either ask for help or offer help—particularly to people most susceptible to or most at-risk of the more serious symptoms of COVID-19.

Between the 30,000 caremongers of the 35 groups, a “Candemic” attitude has served to reinforce the image of the Canadian kindness.

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“Scaremongering is a big problem,” Harper tells the BBC. “We wanted to switch that around and get people to connect on a positive level, to connect with each other.

“It’s spread the opposite of panic in people, brought out community and camaraderie, and allowed us to tackle the needs of those who are at-risk all the time—now more than ever.”

On the Toronto Caremongering Facebook group, 10,000 members regularly write either one of three typical posts: #ISO which stands for “in search of,” #OFFER posts, where people offer goods or services to people trapped in self-isolation, and #SHOPS which gives info about shops that are open or stocked.

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However, there are also discussion posts like introductory video that Harper posted earlier this week about how learning the Cree language can be something that people can do while self-isolating.

“I think there is an international belief that Canadians are so nice,” she said. “And  I think there is something Canadian about this because as our population is small as a country, there is a tendency to look out for each other, even if there are a few bad apples who buy all the toilet paper!”

This is just one of many positive stories and updates that GNN is churning out with their COVID-19 news coverage this week. Click here to see more uplifting coverage.

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Guy Gives Up Christmas With Family So He Can Rally His Town to Feed 75 Stranded Travelers

Some bad weather turned into the “best Christmas Day ever” for one Canadian who chose to give up hours of holiday fun with his family to help 75 stranded strangers.

High winds diverted a WestJet airline on Dec. 25, a flight intended for St. John’s, Newfoundland that only made it as far as Deer Lake on the other side of the island province—roughly 400 miles (600 km) from its destination.

Local resident Brian Snow was friends with one of the passengers and realized that due to the national holiday, all the restaurants and shops in town were closed.

On top of that, the hotel where almost 80 people had been dropped off had no restaurant. Mr. Snow, who happens to be the community services coordinator for the Salvation Army, posted a call to action on social media: “Let’s show the true Christmas spirit.”

Within an hour, the Facebook post was shared 60 times and the community had spontaneously organized a delightful potluck in the hotel lobby. Residents brought sandwiches, platters of their own turkey dinner leftovers, freshly baked breads, and, of course, lots of cookies and desserts.

“I, as well as my entire family are beyond thankful for the beautiful souls who helped make a Christmas away from home just that much better!” wrote Kate Sexton from St. John’s, with gratitude that her aunt and uncle were being cared for.

With their bellies full and their spirits renewed, the kindness from the Deer Lake community didn’t end at the dinner table.

Dave Power, one of the stranded passengers who was flying with his wife to be with family in St. John’s, told CBC News, “When we finished eating, they said as soon as you’re ready, let us know, and we’ll take you to the airport.”

They organized a motorcade to get everyone back to the airport for their delayed flight.

“It was truly like a ‘Come from Away Christmas’,” said David’s brother Robert Power on Facebook. “That’s what the season is all about.”

Power was referring to the Tony Award-winning musical Come From Away, which tells a similar true story of the small Newfoundland town named Gander where nearly 6,600 passengers were welcomed after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 grounded 38 planes there. The famous news story details the efforts of community members in Gander and surrounding towns who took care of the thousands of travelers in churches, schools, and community centers for several days.

The loving care displayed by Deer Lake residents left some passengers ”bawling.”

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