When COVID-19 struck and schools had to move online, many students in Puebla, Mexico, lost access to education because their families could not afford mobile data. Brandon, a fourth-grader in a class of 40, was one of them.
Only about a quarter of his classmates received lessons and homework via WhatsApp while learning from home. Scarce jobs and dwindling incomes made already-expensive data even less affordable. Even as families rationed data for their children’s education, they often ran out of data before their needs were met. Brandon’s father, Santiago, is not sure how parents would be able to continue paying for an education that relied on data and fears that for all their effort, their children will still be left behind.
Around the world, NIUs like Santiago and the people in his town find themselves more prone to all sorts of extreme conditions. This is chiefly a result of environmental and infrastructural limitations like inefficient transportation networks and poor access to the internet or life-impacting services, which make it more difficult for them to cope and stay well in challenging times.