Dynamic online platform for children ends

‘Kuttikalude Charchavedi’, launched last year, hosted student discussions and expert lectures

Kuttikalude Charchavedi, an online collective formed by four schoolgirls during last year’s pandemic, lowered the curtain on its activities with a podcast on a translation of Anton Chekhov’s “The Bet” into the voices of students.

The goal is to have podcasts by 100 students on the Malayalam translation of VR Santhosh’s work, says Abhirami S., one of the girls behind the initiative. The collective produced an e-book of the work, using free software, as well as an audio book.

Like other children, Abhirami and his friends Devika Santhosh, Gouri Priya PS and Asna SN, then students in Class 10 of Government Tribal High School, Meenankal, were stuck at home last year. Tired, unable to meet, close friends recalled their school life, the discussions over lunch at school, and wondered if they could be relaunched online. The girls started chatting online. On the proposal of a former teacher, they decided to also open the platform to other children. Adults, they realized, had platforms to hear and express themselves, but children not.

On containment

Their initiative received support from teachers and parents, and during the Malayalam month of Chingam in 2020, the platform was officially launched by Asna with a conference on Lockdown Experiences.

With the support of their teachers, guests such as Anvar Ali, PK Rajasekharan, Anitha Thampi, Biju Longhinos, EA Antony, S. Gopalakrishnan, Anjali Rajan, SD Biji, KK Krishnakumar, Vijayakumar Blathur and SL Sanjeev Kumar addressed topics ranging from basheer and poetry to the environment, malayalam computing and employment. Students from schools in other districts also participated in these discussions.

Abhirami said the four friends would discuss any topics or areas they wanted to know more about. Depending on the availability of speakers, the themes were finalized. More than 10 discussions took place over a four month period. They also conducted reviews of the discussion to determine how these could be further improved.

While the children’s podcasts still arrive, Abhirami, who is now in grade 11, says the girls have not decided what to expect for “Kuttikalude Charchavedi”.

Stephen V. Lee