What does it take to change someone’s life for the better? Arpna Chandail would have to say “140 characters”. A one-line message on micro-blogging site Twitter was enought to change the lives of not one but 36 children, who were otherwise looking a future filled with garbage.
Chandail, who teaches Ghazipur ragpickers’ children after her office hours, had put out a tweet a week ago asking for help to get the children enrolled in schools. On Monday, the 36 children got admitted to a government primary school in Bhovapur, thanks to the prompt response of UP chief minister Akhilesh Yadav.
In her tweet on June 7, Chandail had highlighted the plight of minor boys and girls who needed a formal education but were unsuccessful in getting admitted to a regular school.
Chandail, who works with a television channel and teaches children in a makeshift school in Bhovapur after office hours, tagged the tweet to the handles of HRD Ministry, Prime Minister’s Office, Delhi chief minister Arvind Kejriwal and Delhi education minister Manish Sisodia. Only the office of UP chief minister responded, and that too within 4-5 hours.
“We were working with these children since January and had put in a lot of effort to reach their families - to let them agree to getting these kids admitted to a government school. However, the school staff was apathetic towards the children and their admissions could not take place. So, I tweeted for help and the UP government responded swiftly,” said Chandail, who hails from Doda in Jammu&Kashmir and stays in Ghaziabad.
Following a survey, 36 of a total of 43 children from the area were admitted to the primary school in Bhovapur on Monday. The officials of the basic education department said that apart from free formal schooling, the children would also get free books, school uniforms and midday meals.
“Our teams surveyed the area and we got these children admitted to the government school. Those remaining will be admitted soon. Our teams are finding suitable schools in their locality,” said Vimal Kumar Sharma, district magistrate, Ghaziabad.
“I will still be going to Bhovapur daily as I also teach other students at my makeshift school. Apart from admissions, a lot of effort is needed to ensure that the children don’t drop out of school,” Chandail said.
Among those who got admissions on Monday were two children, Furkan and Burfan, who got admitted to primary school.
“The school was not taking them in. So, I started sending my children to learn Urdu. Now, they both have got admissions after a lot of efforts. Who will not want their children to study and make their parents proud? I will ensure that my children attend school every day and become better people,” said Mohammed Ramzan, their father.