After he learned that many children living in slums don’t have access to education, Delhi shopkeeper Rajesh Kumar Sharma started running a school under a metro bridge.
He calls it “Free School: Under the Bridge” and teaches hundreds of poor children who live in shacks and hutments dotting the banks of the Yamuna.
Daily around 270 children gather under the bridge for two hours to attend the classes.
Though the school doesn’t have walls, desks, or windows or even a name, students are still enthusiastic to learn.
Children sit on mats, attendance registers, and school records are kept in steel trunk boxes and coats of black paint on the boundary wall act as black boards.
The school runs in two shifts- 9:00-11:30 am for boys and 2pm-4pm for girls.
Despite having no government approval, or fixed syllabus, the school still imparts knowledge and is also developing confidence in the children.
Sharma, who is a college dropout and owns a general store at Shakarpur, has been teaching poor children since 2006.
Earlier he used to teach students under a tree but, he was facing many problems there.
In 2010, when he saw a place under the bridge which was appropriate for the students, he shifted his school there.
Metro authorities have also extended their support to the school.
According to Sharma, “They constructed the platform for the teachers to stand on and teach, and gave the coats of black paint on the wall to create five blackboards for our school.”
Few well-wishers also donate footwear and snacks for the children. Two more teachers also joined Sharma to help in providing education to the poor.
One such teacher Laxmichandra, told TopYaps News, “Education is the fundamental right of every child. It has been 6 years that I am teaching these students. It gives me spiritual satisfaction.”
Kanchan Yadav, who has been teaching these children from last three months, says she feels it is her responsibility.
Another teacher Shyam Mahto is of an opinion that only education can change the fate of these poor children and hence, he is just trying to help them.
Watch how the school operates here: