For most of us, the moment we hear the phrase ‘police station’, a sense of concern necessarily crops up in our mind. However, for over 50 children from Nanda Ki Chowki slum in Dehradun, police station is an abode of joy – where they are learning 2+2 and A for Apple, with special ‘protection’ from the police uncles and aunties.
The free school run on the premises of Prem Nagar police station is operated under the Street Smart Project of Aasra Trust, a Dehradun-based NGO working with underprivileged kids. The school today constitutes 51 children of all ages between 4 and 12 who are given lessons on Hindi, English, Arithmetic, History and Geography, for six hours every day, reports The Times Of India.
Police protection helped to attract more kids
“When the school started in March this year, the volunteers from Aasra used to teach the kids on the pavement by the side of the busy main road. There were only about 10 children then. Thinking about the safety of the students, we decided to shift the school into our campus,’’ Inspector Mukesh Tyagi from Prem Nagar police station shares with The Logical Indian.
He also added that the assurance of police protection helped to gather the attention of more parents who started sending their children to the school. Within a few months, the student strength soared from 10 to 50. “We learnt that some of the students face a lot of difficulties to come to the school. To make things easier, we arranged a van service to pick up and drop the children. Soon, word started spreading and many localities came forward to pour in their support. One person donated school bags for all” shares Inspector Tyagi.
The police station staff continues their support through regular contributions, be it arranging meals for the students or donning the roles of their teachers in spare time.
Many little lives have changed
Gayatri is a little girl of 6 whose day used to start by begging on the pavement or assisting her father in rag picking. Now she learns alphabets and numbers at the Aasra school. The story is similar for 5-year-old Archana whose father is a plasticware vendor. This is her first experience of going to school and she couldn’t be more happy about it.