Home is a place four-year-old Vikas does not like coming back to.
Vikas, who stays at Block 28 in Trilokpuri, has to climb an iron ladder daily to get to his 8x10 feet first floor room that he shares with his mother Mithilesh, father Vijay, elder brother Vishal and sister Neha.
“I do not like to climb so many stairs especially after returning from Baalwadi. My parents tell me we cannot afford a room on the ground floor,” he says.
The family, which makes a meagre Rs. 4,500 in a month, dedicates nearly half of its income to pay the monthly rent of Rs. 2,000. The remaining money is used for food, basic necessities and sending the kids to a corporation-run school.
Vijay, a cobbler and the sole breadwinner, struggles to provide his family two square meals a day. The room where the family lives is a cluttered mess with a trunk, some clothes in a corner, a bedding, a mattress on the floor, a non-functional pedestal fan and utensils in one corner near a single burner stove. A portion of the roof is used as bathroom.
The asbestos roof leaks and the children often have to collect the dripping water in vessels when it rains. But they have refused to give up hope and believe education holds the key.
“Mummy told us that our present plight was due to the lack of education. She tells us they have different plans for us. We have to study so that we get a job and decent salary,” said Vishal and Vikas.
They diligently attend school and Baalwadi, a programme run by an NGO Pratham and funded by the HT under its initiative You Read They Learn.