Standard five teacher Melissa Dwarika said she would be only able to buy two tablets for her students with the money she raised from a soup sale on Saturday.
Last Saturday, Dwarika had a mission: to make enough soup to ensure that none of her students are left behind now that the educational focus has shifted to online learning.
So she hosted a soup sale to raise money to buy electronic devices so they could study online.
Giving an update on Monday, she said she would be able to buy two of the eight devices she had planned to get.
“We didn’t secure the amount we were hoping to. Persons made orders but didn’t come to collect the food. So from the money collected, we’re able to get two tablets,” she said.
She had hoped to raise enough to help eight children in her class who do not have a smartphone, laptop, or even internet access.
Dwarika said since Newsday’s story on Friday about her charitable effort, she had been inundated with calls offering help, even from the US and UK.
“I have groups working to try to get devices shipped to me. I also started a GoFundMe TT for those who want to make financial pledges,” she said.
Dwarika said Secretary of Infrastructure, Quarries and Environment Kwesi Des Vignes was a patron.
Since schools were closed in March, she said, she has embraced online teaching and tried to make it fun and engaging for her students.
She had wanted to continue the soup sale on weekends until she could help all her students.
“I was really hoping. I’m not sure...given the sales, I’m really not sure. I don’t mind doing it again, it was just that the turnout was a little bit disappointing."
But someone who runs a grocery in Tobago had called her. "He is willing to assist me with the materials, if I have to do it again."
Next time, she said,"Rather than soup, I might do a curryque or a barbecue.”
He students called too, she said. "They were really thankful that I am trying to assist, and they promised to really work.
"These children, some of them have been talked down to so much and really discouraged that they didn’t think that somebody would have been helping them in this way.”
Dwarika held the soup sale at her house on Collier Trace, Glen Road.
The mother of three said the covid19 pandemic has put families under pressure and with classes now being online, a home computer and internet access are no longer a luxury, but a necessity.
“Today was the start of school and there were ten of my 14 students online."
She said she would have to log back on later for another four who were unable to get online, because they were using devices borrowed from their parents or someone else that might be available then.