It takes a lot of courage and a big heart to continue to teach rural kids for years without receiving any monetary assistance. However, for Rajesh Kumar Sharma, teaching 300 underprivileged children for last 13 years has been the best time of his life.
Who Is Rajesh Kumar Sharma?
Rajesh is a resident of Delhi’s Laxmi Nagar area and runs a small grocery shop in the area to meet ends for his family of five. A native of Uttar Pradesh’s Hathras district, Rajesh started his open roof school in 2006 with only two students. Sharma’s initiative of teaching the underserved is partly stemmed from his pain of not completing B.Sc, due to his family’s poor financial condition and partly because he believes that no one should be deprived of education. Now, he not only conducts regular classes but also helps students enrol in nearby government schools.
The School Under The Bridge
Situated beneath a metro bridge in the Yamuna Bank area, ‘The Free School Under The Bridge’ has five blackboards painted on the wall of the metro complex and some stationary such as chalks and dusters, pens and pencils, where hundreds of children living in shacks and hutments close to the Yamuna Bank metro station receive education. The school has managed to sustain itself without any external support from NGOs or the government for the past 13 years.
The students who are mostly children of ragpickers, rickshaw-pullers and beggars sit on the ground covered with carpets and bring their own notebooks. Currently, Rajesh runs, two shift – one from 9-11 AM for 120 boys and second 2-4.30 PM for 180 girls, with the help of seven other teachers.
Laxmi Chandra, Shyam Mahto, Rekha, Sunita, Manisha, Chetan Sharma and Sarvesh are some selfless teachers like Sharma who do not get paid for their work and take classes on their free will.
Speaking to The Logical Indian, Laxmi Chandra, who has been teaching poor children since 1996 in Delhi said, “We don’t want kids to suffer what we suffered during our days.” Laxmi, a native of Bihar currently teaches Science, English, and Hindi.
Neither The Govt Nor NGO Helped
For the past 13 years, Rajesh has managed to keep his school function without any help. He told media that he never received any kind of help from the government or any NGOs. However, he has no complaints against anyone and believes that smile on the face of his students is enough for him.
Some people visit the school occasionally and distribute biscuit packets, water bottles, and fruits to the children. Some young girls and boys from affluent families celebrate their birthdays with the children, cut cakes here and have food together sitting under the bridge.
The Logical Indian Take
The Logical Indian salutes Rajesh Kumar Sharma for his noble and selfless work of educating the underprivileged. Sharma’s guidance will ensure a better future for these kids and indeed a better India. Rajesh reinstates our faith in humanity and goodness.