FROM A room at the railway stadium to Platform No 9, and from the platform to the Khamman peer. And not there future is uncertain.
This seems to be the fate of the school for platform urchins run by an NGO Asha.
The school, started with the intention of educating platform urchins to keep them away from criminal activities, has been fighting for space. In 2002, the school was allotted a space at the railway stadium, but some of the employees raised an objection, despite the fact that former DRM (NR) R K Bansal had given the permission. The objection was that these children were thieves and the space was not meant for them. The children then along with their teacher Sonia Singh moved to Platform No 9. But even from here the school was shifted to the premises of Khamman peer.
“It’s not sure how long would we be here. I am being asked to move out of the premises,” says the teacher. Initially, there were 25 students in the school, but now the number has reduced to 15 as most of them find inconvenient to move from place to place. “In the last four years, the children have learnt to write,” says the teacher. “It is a matter of pride for us to learn, we are able to distinguish between what is right and what is wrong,” says Sonia. “I am teaching them letters without matras, and they are able to form a complete word,” reveals Sonia. Asha has planned vocational courses for the children so that they can lead a life with dignity.
On behalf of Asha, we have been giving incentives in the form of snacks of their liking, said the teacher. Sona wants to become a teacher like Sonia. While Deepu had opened his own tea stall in Gomti Nagar, but was later opposed by the residents. “The school has educated me, and I want to lead a life of self respect,” he said and added that he was trying to open a small shop. The classes have helped me understand the calculations, he added, and so is Khokhe.
Though the railways was adamant in conceding any space for the school, but Sonia was confident that the senior officers of the railways would consider and appreciate the effort and provide some space for the school.