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Several children in India continue to be deprived of their right to education despite various government schemes in place. School education still remains a privilege for children coming from poor backgrounds. Quite often, these kids are forced to beg on the streets. After seeing one such sight near the police lines in Churu district, Rajasthan a police constable probed deeper into the situation and even went an extra mile to change it. After learning about the situations in the kids live, constable Dharamveer Jakhar started teaching in a nearby slum. Soon the word spread in the locality. With his efforts, he was able to establish a school ‘Apni Pathshala’ to impart them primary education.
Started in 2016 by Dharamveer Jakhar with just five kids, today the school has over 450 students and runs in an old building. Surely, it has motivated many others to come to school and work towards the betterment of their future. As per Dharamveer, the absence of government school is one of the major obstacles faced by poor kids in that locality. But he feels that together as a community, we could come together to ensure that no kid is denied from getting a basic education so that our future generations could be led in a positive direction. His noble initiative was joined by three female constables later who assist in managing the daily activities at school.
In conversation with The Logical Indian, Dharamveer shares, “There were hardly 4 or 5 kids when I started teaching in their locality. Since they do not hail from privileged backgrounds, they have to be motivated often to keep coming to school. Providing them essential daily items was one of the important things which allowed them to come to school. I spent my personal savings to cover the expenses when I initially started it. As the school has expanded, now it has become difficult to fulfil the minimal requirements of each and every child.”
Although many kids who work as garbage collectors or cleaners even continue to work to contribute towards their household income, he ensures that they do not skip a day at school. The school has expanded upto class VII now. Classes are held separately for students of different grades. In case they observe that the student is absent from the school often, then they try to communicate with their parents and get them back to attending school regularly. He feels that communicating with them is very crucial as they could be made to understand the need for attaining education and how it will benefit them.
“It hurts me to see young kids begging on the streets and being denied their educational rights. Many of them are talented kids and learn new things quite fast. It seems unfair when they won’t get the chance to attend school. The journey of establishing this school would not have been possible without the support of my closed friends and members who are constantly working on improving the day-to-day functioning. However, I have not received any support from the government till now. I feel that the authorities could play a pivotal role by helping such underprivileged kids, and it should come forward for contributing towards this cause.” Dharamveer said.
Every afternoon the students are served with nutritious meals at the school. The school has also arranged a school van for the kids. Also, they have helped many brilliant kids to get admission in private schools for completing their senior secondary education. The expenses for running the school accounts for Rs 1.5 lakh per month approximately, and it gets difficult for them to manage with limited funds. But Dharamveer is juggling hard to keep his job, and the school going and is determined to keep it going. The school runs on donations presently, and Dharamveer has tried to reach many such organisations to help them continue their education.
“The orphan kids have no one to look after, and I feel that it’s my responsibility to give them the right direction for a better future. I want to build a residential school for them so that they could reside and study there freely without facing any harsh situations that they daily encounter in slums. More government schools should be opened in remote areas so that every kid gets a chance to attend school. Education has the power to change the future of underprivileged kids, and we should work together as a society so that each child receives basic education,” said Dharamveer.
With thousands of kids forced to drop out of schools at an early age, making education accessible to the underprivileged remains a challenge. Thanks to the initiatives like Apni Pathshala, which aims to address the issue. The Logical Indian salutes the efforts of Dharamveer Jakhar and others running ‘Apni Pathshala’ for ensuring that underprivileged kids get a chance to attend school and change their future with education.
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