Dr Jawahar Surisetti is an internationally acclaimed name as a psychologist, TED speaker, bestselling author and advisor to the Government. He recognised early in the Covid period that the mental health of school children is going to take a beating the moment they get on to purely online education hooked on to their digital devices and confined to the four walls of their homes. And truly so, the situation aggravated as predicted, and the schools had to close down. In such a scenario, after receiving around 300 calls and messages on a daily basis for help from children, parents, and teachers worldwide. So he immediately took to trying to find a solution to this challenge.
He found not one but three issues: Firstly, the academic losses due to limited hours of online classes and the fact that the emotions in teaching in online classes could not match the face to face version. Moreover, peer learning was not happening. To engage children and help them have fun while learning, he invented a game called “Edutakshari”, which modifies the old Indian game Antakshari but with a twist. He would invite families with school children on his Facebook Page, and then they would play with the primary players being children supported by their respective families. It started with 1500 families on day 1 when Dr Jawahar sang a song, and the letter with which the song ended would be the cue for the next student. So the student would come up with a word from his grade level. For example, if the song ended with H, the student would pick a word starting with H from any of his subjects, say the Himalayas, and he would explain the word in two sentences. His family could supplement whatever information they had. Then the family would sing a song with the word’s last letter. In this case, it was S, and the last letter of the song would be the cue for the next family. This song and knowledge amalgamated game was so entertaining that what started with 1500 families went on to get 11500 families. Popularly known as “Jawahar sir Ki Class” this massively popular game became the lifeline for children and families locked down at home.
Secondly, Dr Jawahar felt that there was a considerable amount of digital addiction, especially mobile addiction happening at homes and offices. So the next innovation with his Jagrit was to ensure digital well-being of children for better focus, to restore the family relationships going awry with mobile addiction and increase office efficiency. The invention is called “Apprison”, and it’s an app on Google Play Store that empowers people to control their addiction in a gamified way.
Thirdly, he felt that in a grim situation with an uncertain financial future and health risks, people were slipping into depression and other mental health issues due to a lack of happiness and peace. Along with his son Jayesh, he created “Happea”, which denotes happiness and peace. It is an invention that tells people how happy and peaceful they are and the problematic areas. The idea is that children learn better when happy, families stay together longer when peaceful, and office efficiency improves when the state of mind is comfortable and relaxed.
These three initiatives by Dr Jawahar Surisetti have supported the children and families during the last 500 days of Covid and have spread widespread happiness across thousands of people.