ASHA does miracles. Believe it! Nine children gave up begging bowls for books. That’s what Asha can do, while others kept hoping!
The lucky 9 will now join a mainstream school from tomorrow. That’s a miracle and there is a winning smile on Sonia Singh’s face. Sonia who? Sonia, the social worker with Asha—the NGO. Yes! The one who has been in news for her dauntless efforts to bring platform urchins and beggar children to school.
The nine hail from the bunch of 75 others who were picked for literacy programme by the NGO from Nadwa slums. Soon after their enrolment in Ram Bharose High School, the children, in civvies, mingled with their fellow students and felt a ray of hope for their future.
Bilal, 7 years, has been admitted to Class III says, “I want to become a teacher and spread literacy among my friends.” But, Radha wants to become a doctor.
Along with Bilal Umar, 7, Sonelal, 9 years, Saddam, 9 years, Ajay, 7 years, Ikrar, 9 years, Rahibulal, 7 years, Mahendra, 7 years and Radha 8, years joined the school in the third and second standard respectively.
Joy was writ large on their faces as they waited for their uniforms (in a combination of gray and white) and books. “Didi (Sonia) would give us books,” said Radha. These children were forced into begging, as their families did not have proper source of income. Parents of these children are either rickshaw pullers (hire rickshaws on rent) or daily wage labourers. “But watching their children go to schools would give them a sense of pride and happiness,” says a 27-year-old Sonia.
According to her one of the main conditions of the school was to send children tidy, “and we have taken care that the children go to school tidy and their parents have been briefed on importance of cleanliness,” she added.
The expenditure is being borne by Asha. The tuition for each child in the school was Rs 75/- while the annual expenditure would come to Rs 3000 per child.
“To ensure that the students fair well in schools, we would organise special classes for them. The space for the same is being provided by the Spring Dale College management.” “The management has been kind enough to extend cooperation and also provide all the logistics including snacks for the children,” says she.