October 23rd, 2014
It is an unusual school in an unusual location and is run by an unusual teacher.
Rajesh Kumar is a shopkeeper by profession but spends hours every morning teaching around 80 children from the poorest of the poor in India’s capital. Children from nearby slums have been receiving free education here for the last four years.
The 43-year-old visited the construction of the Delhi transit station a few years ago and was disturbed by the sight of many children playing at the site instead of attending school.
When he questioned the parents working at the sites they all said there were no schools in the vicinity and no one cared.
Consequently, his open-air class room was born – between pillars and beneath the tracks of the Delhi transit system, known as the Metro.
Every few minutes a train passes above, the children unperturbed by its sounds.There are no chairs or tables and the children sit on rolls of polystyrene foam placed on the rubble.Three rectangular patches of wall are painted black and used as a blackboard.
The children attend class for two hours each day where they learn math and basic reading and writing skills. Rajesh says his greatest achievement is changing the attitude of his students’ parents, many of them now encourage their children to study.