Though the board exams are just a couple of months away, Afzal Mohsin Ansari, a class 10 student of a civic-run school at Mankhurd, is unable to study. For, Mohsin has lost his textbooks, uniform, and most importantly his shelter in the December 31 blaze at Mandala in Mankhurd.
Mohsin’s residence was among the 125 shanties that were destroyed in the fire. “My books, uniform and bag have been burnt to ashes. I cannot go to school without a uniform. We can’t afford to purchase new stuff now. With exam just a few months away, I don’t know how I am going prepare,” he said.
Just like Mohsin, the future of around 100 school and college students is now clouded by uncertainty. These students — most of whom have been rendered homeless — have stopped attending their schools and colleges. Mohamed Afzal Abdul Hooda, student of class 12 in a Navi Mumbai-based college, said, “HSC exams play an important role in veering your career in the right direction. But, given the present condition, it seems that I may have to wait for another year to take the test.”
“We cannot borrow books from our friends who stay in other areas as they too have to prepare for exams,” said Anjum Shaikh, a student of class 9 in a BMC-run school. Though tense about their children’s future, the parents are feeling helpless.
“There is nothing that we can do now. Even if we get money, our priority would be to rebuild our shanties and arrange for food,” said Mohamed Rafiq Ansari, father a boy studying in class 10.