Education, a prized possession, is still a distant dream for millions across the world. A child born into an impoverished family is thrown into a whirlpool of injustice right from its birth. They lack the opportunity to hold their heads high in the society. This serious issue became a major concern for a Ludhiana-based advocate, Mr Hari Om Jindal.
To give more opportunities to the economically backwards children, 50-year-old Hari Om has started a school in a slum in the Dairy Complex Area of Hambran Road in Ludhiana. Here, he teaches children who used to be ragpickers and beggars. They are now learning Math, English and other subjects that have great significance in our day-to-day life.
With his classroom set up in a small hut in the middle of the slum area, Hari Om ensures that nobody there is deprived of primary education. To do that, he has to convince the kids. He said, while speaking with The Logical Indian, “Whenever I come across children who are rag-picking or collecting garbage, I stop to have a conversation. I ask them questions about themselves and their families and try to win their trust by distributing sweets and toys among them regularly,” says Hari Om.
But the most difficult task is to convince their parents. “For this, I help them by providing any legal assistance. I assist them in making their ration cards. But mostly, I keep visiting them and make them understand the importance of education and how their children will benefit from this.”
Hari Om’s single-handed effort to provide education to these children is now bearing fruit. The school which started with 12 students, now has 40 students in the age group of 4-14 years.
The interesting element of this school is that the students get to learn many things more than what a typical school student learns at their age. Apart from their regular lesson on English and Math, they are also taught about democracy and its functions, taxes, governance, voting, Constitution, rights, etc.
Seeing the popularity of the school, some of the women from the slum have also joined as students. Hari Om has now hired some teachers to conduct the classes, as he is not always available in the town.
“It was a challenge for me to hire teachers for a school in an area like this. So I figured out it would be a superb idea to hire some of the students as teachers who can teach younger kids. This gives them the opportunity to earn along with preparing themselves for higher studies.”
Hari Om is also making a great effort to enrol some of his students — who are capable of following an English medium education — in CBSE board schools of Ludhiana. Several kids have already been enrolled in computer classes.
Once a successful businessman, Hari Om decided to quit his work and study law in 2008. He is now writing a book about the current situation of children and their requirements in India. Not only did he use his savings to set up this school, but he also provides school bags, uniforms for these kids.
The Logical Indian applauds Hari Om and the great work he is doing to provide education and a bright future to these children.