Year 1 After Covid-19 Essay Contest in India: 500 submissions already received

The unprecedented COVID-19 pandemic spread rapidly across nations and country after country responded with lockdowns, making about 1.5 billion students globally remain at home.
Under these circumstances, and in order to engage students in a constructive reflection on current and forthcoming challenges, UNESCO and Takhte have organized a rolling essay contest entitled ‘Year 1 AC (After Coronavirus): Pan India Online Essay Contest 2020’. Children (aged 11–14 years) and youth (aged 15–24 years) have been invited to unleash the power of writing to combat isolation and stimulate creativity.  
During the first month since its launch, hundreds of young participants from across 24 states in India shared their meaningful and provoking thoughts through their essays. As of mid-May, more than 500 submissions were received, from children and youth, ranging from 11 to 24 years. Participants - notably young women accounting for over 67% of the submissions under the Youth category, have voiced their concerns about life after the coronavirus, especially on gender roles and stereotypes. 
The contest has captured Indian young people’s desire to express their thoughts during this period, visualizing the future they would like to build after the coronavirus fades away.
Following a thorough screening process, 35 winning essays have been showcased through the UNESCO website and social media channels. Each of the essays has something new and important to say. Here is what some of the young writers had to say.

The lockdown has made us appreciate our parents, who usually work day and night to fulfill our reasonable (and unreasonable) demands and never complain. Spending more time with them gave us an opportunity to understand them and to learn what quality time is.
Abhinav Goel, 11 years (Punjab)
The countless stories of humanity and generosity of all the volunteers distributing meals, essential medical supplies to the needy and poor are awe-inspiring. The precautionary measures of staying home and social distancing has transcended ourselves from thinking words like ‘I,’ or ‘Me’, to ‘We’ and ‘Us’. Sooner rather than later, we have understood the power of togetherness.
Aashta Behl, 23 years (Punjab)
A new era of gender equality after the coronavirus requires not just the sharing of home and family responsibility between men and women, it also calls for more work and education opportunities for women and the breaking of mental blockages.
Anika Kumari Berry, 23 years (Delhi)
Fighting an unknown, unseen enemy, with no definite cure in sight, lots of misinformation and disinformation is being circulated on the internet. The accidental spread of misinformation is a menace and causes fear amongst the people.
Suhani Sharma, 12 years (Chandigarh)
With the growing darkness of COVID-19 engulfing the entire world, forcing people to stay home, silencing the busiest places of the world with a wave of fear and death, there has been some ray of light on environmental issues…It is unfortunate that such a pandemic that claims millions of lives is bringing such a change on the environment when we should have acted long back, which would have prevented this in the first place.
Akansha Ghosh, 21 years (West Bengal)
Locked up in our homes with enough food to survive our families, we have been hearing stories of the migrant labourers who walked thousands of kilometers to reach their homes. This lockdown served as a mirror to our privileges. Therefore, the change has to come from the young. They will have to take part in policymaking either through direct elections, or social work or through civil societies.
Atif Yamin, 22 years (Uttarakhand)

UNESCO New Delhi and Takhte would like to thank all the participants and encourage the others to send their voices as the contest is ongoing and will continue to receive submissions until a date to be announced. 

Keep writing and sharing your thoughts on how to build a better future for all!

For winning essays click here.  To learn more and to make your essay submissions click here

Stay safe!