The year 2020 was a challenging one for everyone. But the most affected individuals were children, even though they were proven to be at a lower risk of contracting the virus. With no school, no outdoor play and increased screen time, no socialization and peer association, the outcome of an ongoing pandemic had many dire mental health effects on children.
Amongst the chaos that was ensued in the year gone by (almost!), there were some inspiring stories of children who showed their resilience and strength in surmounting obstacles and coming out ever more victorious. From developing apps and devices to raising money for others less fortunate than themselves, these children proved they were had left the pandemic behind.
1.A 15 year old becomes the first ‘Kid of the year’ by TIME Magazine
Gitanjali a 15-year-old scientist and inventor who also identifies herself as a fencer, dancer, singer, author and baker became the first Kid of the Year on TIME magazine cover in 2020. Gitanjali is the brain behind six innovations which mainly focuses on social issues and aims to create a social change with the help of science and technology. Tethys one of the devices developed by her, helps in the detection of hazardous chemicals present in water. Kindly, a chrome extension, helps in identifying cyberbullying with the help of AI technology. Epione, a device used by physicians to keep a check on their patients’ medication intake. Along with these innovations, Gitanjali also hosts workshops on STEM sessions which have reached around 28000 students globally. Gitanjali’s main aim in life is to “Be a scientist superhero, solve real world problems and save lives.”
2.Donating their piggy bank savings towards COVID relief
The children in Gujarat, donated their piggy bank savings towards the covid-19 relief funds with the hope of helping the poor and needy people who have affected the most during this pandemic. Pari Vyas says that she wanted to donated all the money from her piggy bank as she had seen on TV how famous people were donating money. Moreover, three other childfrom Gujarat too walked into the police station to donate their savings towards the relief fund. The overall donation went into helping the migrant workers whose life turned upside down with the implementation of lockdown. “Everyone should help the government in fighting the coronavirus” says Pari.
3.Phone schooling from different parts of India connects for the children of Ladakh
Ladakh being a village with no stable internet connections and frequent power cuts and the implementation of lockdown, it became difficult for the school authorities to teach their children as they were taught with the help of volunteers. As online schooling was not possible, the next best option was to start phone schooling, which connects volunteers from various parts of India to the school going children in Ladakh. The volunteers would call them and teach them over phone calls, which initially was challenging due to the language barriers. But with time, the children were looking forward to getting calls from their respective volunteers everyday and were eager to learn even if it is over a phone call. This step has been a huge learning experience for both the children and volunteers and with an exchange of ideas, culture, challenges faced, the village life, the city life etc.
4.Developing a COVID-19 detection application – LungAI
Aryan a 17-year-old student, studying in class 12, is the Winner of HRD ministry’s Atmanirbhar Bharat Ideathon. He developed a web-based application called LungAI which helps in detecting the Covid-19 virus as well as 16 other lung disorders in just three to five seconds. The acute spread of pandemic encouraged Aryan to come up with a solution and thus the LungAI was developed. The user has to upload a CT-Scan or an X-Ray on the application and it detects the lung disorders in less than 5 seconds with 90% accuracy. It also displays further information regarding the treatment in case of Covid-19 and the nearby hospitals treating the patients. LungAI is a combination of six machine learning detection models which gives the results of the various lung diseases. The most interesting part about this application is that Aryan never had a formal training in the field of machine learning and he trained himself and read up on the subject from various online resources. Currently, the government assisting Aryan in further development and is planning to implement this application on a national level. “The unhindered merging of technology with sustainable environment is what excites me” says Aryan.
5.Co-founding an NGO that empowers physically challenged children
Jordan is a 14-year-old designer and an activist from Columbia. Jordan was born with a left arm that stopped growing beneath her elbow but that didn’t stop her from being herself. Her physical difference helped her discover her passion for designing and she now is a co-founder of BORN JUST RIGHT an NGO, which helps the children who are physically challenged in creating their own solutions with the help of STEM resources. Jordan also creates 3D printable prosthetics for these children in various designs and celebrate them and empower them. She also hosts digital design workshops and has also co-founded an organization STEAM SQUAD which introduces children to STEM systems. Currently, Jordan is working with Microsoft in designing a guitar which anyone with a mobility challenge can play.
6.17-year-old girl shows extraordinary determination saving her village from famine
The pandemic has been a challenge this year, amongst the most affected were people living in villages with no steady source of income and mostly relying on the government and subsidies. As the lockdown hit, Gayatri’s village faced an acute shortage of food and the ration through the Public Distribution System was not reaching them from January 2020. Gayatri after getting no help from the local authorities, with the help of an NGO and her girl group, made a list of all the 910 houses in her village and published her story on social media, but things didn’t work out well. She then finally decided to write to the District Collector regarding the issue the villagers are facing and soon got a positive response. The District Collector visited the village and the villagers are provided with free food and hygiene support since then. Gayatri’s never giving up attitude worked wonders for the entire village and saved them from hunger.
7.Filling the gap of learning for dyslexic children with the DYSXA app
Souradeep developed an app for the dyslexic children of India who face acute problems in learning and there is little to no help provided for these children. Souradeep an 8-year-old student started learning coding and came up with an idea to develop an app called DYSXA for the dyslexic children and help them in learning numbers and alphabets. Once the user logs in, this app has different exercises which helps in forming words, has pictures or different objects associated with words which makes it easier to remember these words. At the same time, it has various sounds for all the letters and various colours. The overall colourful and fun theme of the app makes it user-friendly and eases the learning process for the children in need.
8.Class 12 student invents headband tool designed to relieve ear pain from wearing masks
Digantika Bose a class 12 student invented head bands that reduce the pain and pressure on the ears while wearing a mask. “Health workers, people and many others have to wear face masks for long periods of time.This leads to constant pressure and pain in the ears. To solve this problem, I designed these bands with the help of discarded plastic or flexible board,” the 17-year-old said. Digantika was a winner of the National Science Competition award and this is not her only innovation. She has five other special research and prototypes which are related to Covid-19.