March 2020 started in India. Life was on its wheels, keeping us on the daily challenges and beautiful night dreams. And what? NEWS started flashing on the television saying “Corona Virus has attacked the world and it is spreading across the globe, taking life away. And there is no cure for it.” In that news, listening to the death numbers and the message of no treatment, we were running to manage our lives with safety. Finally, the pandemic reached India, in the month of March, and, a word I had never heard before, the “LOCKDOWN” was announced by the Prime Minister.
How drastically our life was going to be changed was something we were unaware of. Everything shut down: industries, transport, and the daily race of human beings. For some people, this race is for food, and for some just to be ahead of others in finance or status. With this, the most beautiful place on the planet was closed for an unknown period of time, including that institution so important for us, school. The effects of this pandemic need not be explained since, although we are scattered across the world, one thing we share is that we all have to live with this virus until we find a remedy. But I will add that India suffered the worst in Asia and, by May, six cities in particular, Mumbai, Delhi, Ahmedabad, Chennai, Kolkata, and Pune, accounted for half the reported cases. Pune is where I live.
We sometimes say that nothing is born without blood and screams. What was born for us was a complete surprise. Corona virus opened the door for a global learning exchange which we never anticipated and, before that, this virus gave birth to our small group, the “Empty Bucket.” The mission of our group is to fill the empty buckets of knowledge for schools in distress: We offer professional support to those teachers from rural areas and low budget schools, as well as nourishing their online facilitation skills and helping them develop healthy life skills.
As for the global learning exchange, it happened after we met the BRAIN SIG through Professor Curtis Kelly. Since then, its members have done Zoom presentations in India for over 500 teachers, none of whom can afford the usual paid professional development programs. The BRAIN SIG also gave us three free registrations to the JALT conference.
This journey with BRAIN SIG and other Indian professionals who are living for others and helping them to grow professionally is going happily. Who is the instigator of this exchange? The corona virus.
We thank this bad virus for its beautiful gift that is letting us connect with the rest of our tribe, those who “Live for Others.”
 Editors’ Note: How our relationship flourished was a surprise for us as well. Six of us have already done weekly presentations for them, with as many more scheduled. The topics range from brain science to the importance of movement to storytelling. If you would be interested in talking to this group too, contact me at [email protected]
Sagar Junawane is a teacher and trainer. He is passionate about helping adolescents in developing life skills so that they can take ownership of their learning. He is a Co-founder of the group “Empty Bucket.” He has been a part of many educational conferences, workshops, and webinars. Recently, he attended JALT.