“Vyayaam Se Vikas”- An initiative with project Akshar, of Chitnavis Trust, Nagpur was launched in the middle of the second lockdown imposed due to Covid 19 in May 2021.
This was inspired by Ilishaa Nerker’s personal experience of using the power of physical activity to reduce problems such as exhaustion, lack of focus, anxiety and aggression, issues that rose exponentially amongst children during the lockdowns and limitations due to Covid-19. Since exercise benefited her so much in her life, she decided to pass this takeaway on to many others.
“Vyayaam Se Vikas” is a digital platform that started providing free online physical activity classes for children who had been trapped at home since Covid -19 started. The idea emerged from a casual conversation that Ilishaa had with Project Akshar Team.
Ilishaa, is a student of the Bombay International School, Mumbai, Grade 11. Her family hails from Nagpur and hence from childhood, her summers were spent in Nagpur and some summers with Akshar kids, interacting with them and teaching them English.
After inquiring about the wellbeing of the Akshar children, she realised that they were missing their studies and unable to make the most of online school as this did not inspire them and were generally feeling emotionally down.
They wished to study well even during the pandemic, which Ilishaa realised, they could not do so due to distraction, laziness and attention problems faced as a result of being stuck at home. Her personal experience of using physical activity to deal with these problems emerged as possible solution to help these children during this crisis.
It was launched during the peak of the second lockdown on a small scale with online dance and yoga classes daily. The dance and physical exercise teachers who were selected for Vyayaam se Vikas were known to the Akshar Project coordinators, and had both lost their source of income due to Covid.
Parents were initially more keen on restarting tuition support online but through discussion and information session were guided about the immediate need for the children to do physical exercise which would also eventually lead to higher concentration, happier emotional state and better study outcomes.
Through a previous fund raiser and donation, some kids had smart phones which they were using for doing online school but not enough for everyone. Kids in the same home learnt to share one device, making the most of it and having fun. We had initially 45 plus kids registered with us, working out 6 days a week online either dancing or exercising or doing asanas and pranayama.
For 10 months this continued online.
Now, this exercise class has become physical and has been integrated into the Akshar classes on the insistence of the kids and the parents, as they too have benefited from exercising. The new format will have the kids exercise before their tuition classes and study well thereafter. This month, Vyaayam se vikas celebrates its one year anniversary!
The main achievements have been awareness on importance of exercise, increased focus, stress free attitude of kids , inclusion of exercise in daily classes at Akshar, increased donation support towards this project and the ability to have this channel to reach and spread this message to others.
The youtube channel “Vyayam Se Vikas” will aim to create awareness amongst children and parents across the country, helping them believe in the power of physical activity. In March this year, there has been an appeal filed in Supreme Court to make Sports a fundamental right including compulsory exercise everyday in school. Hope this gets adopted as a right for every child. Only when we exercise and release our stress, increase our focus can we do better in our studies as well.