A group of young people in Hyderabad launched an online Twitter community called ‘The Edu Helpline’. The group aims to help students and their parents with educational access and solve issues they face. The initiative also includes ‘Dr Helpline’, which provides free online consultations for minor illnesses.
Sai Charan Chikkulla, an entrepreneur, started the helpline. He said that students, especially those in rural areas, face issues that often go unnoticed by government officials. He added that individuals across Telangana and Hyderabad coordinate with each other to help students facing issues. However, it is crucial to form a community to solve these problems collectively. Therefore, a few like-minded individuals started ‘The Edu Helpline’ in the second week of April to work together on issue-based advocacy and stakeholder engagement while providing immediate material relief to students.
Hima Bindu, a child rights activist, who is a field worker in the Jawaharnagar slums, has seen many marginalized children struggle with their educational needs due to the lack of access to proper resources. She explained that the primary goal behind the initiative is to build a network of individuals from diverse backgrounds with a shared purpose to improve educational access for everyone, irrespective of socio-economic backgrounds. The Edu Helpline intends to work with government institutions and mechanisms and have a rights-based approach to bring about change.
Regarding Dr Helpline, Charan said that during Covid-19, online medical consultancy resolved many citizens’ minor queries. He wondered why they couldn’t start such a consultancy on the online community. Thus, they are providing free online consultations for minor ailments. Charan collaborated with a few doctors who are solving the queries of patients in the community. If necessary, they are also recommended to visit nearby hospitals.