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Man on a mission: Mechanical engineer on foot march to end child begging

A young professional returning home from work sees a thin and lean child with a bleeding hand, begging. Moved by the pathetic sight, the young man takes the child home, gives him first aid, some new clothes and gets him enrolled in a nearby school. But he does not stop here. Deciding to pursue this issue, he quits his job and embarks on a journey to cover the entire country on foot to create awareness against child begging.

lucknow Updated: Jun 08, 2018 14:06 IST
Oliver Fredrick
Oliver Fredrick
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Ashish Sharma,Multi national,Extensive research
Ashish Sharma.(HT Photo)

A young professional returning home from work sees a thin and lean child with a bleeding hand, begging. Moved by the pathetic sight, the young man takes the child home, gives him first aid, some new clothes and gets him enrolled in a nearby school. But he does not stop here. Deciding to pursue this issue, he quits his job and embarks on a journey to cover the entire country on foot to create awareness against child begging.

It may appear like a reel story but it is the a real story of Ashish Sharma, 29, who hails from Delhi and is a mechanical engineer by profession.

Sharma, who was employed with a multi-national company, met an injured child beggar near Rohini in Delhi, in 2015 and the incident changed his life.

“I got him enrolled in school and took care of his expenses. But the thought of other children trapped in a similar existence did not let me sleep. And I decided to launch a mission against child begging,” said Ashish, who reached the state capital on Wednesday on foot.

On Christmas day in 2015, Sharma decided to quit his job to pursue his dream—eradication of child begging. But till then, he was new to the subject so he decided to do some research first. “After doing extensive research, I concluded that the condition was going from bad to worse. The government-run welfare schemes were not reaching those who actually deserved them, because of lack of awareness,” he said.

Then he decided to embark upon the country-wide foot march to create awareness among the masses. “We cannot make people aware unless we meet them personally and a countrywide tour was perhaps the best way to meet the masses,” he said.

His started his journey from Jammu on August 22, 2017. “Journeying on foot was not at all an easy task but my goal to make India a nation free of child begging kept me going,” he said. Initially he received a solid thrashing from his parents but now they are proud of him. His father Suresh Sharma, who is working in the agriculture department and his mother, a home maker, had been a thorough support in his mission, he said .

He said he travelled around 30 to 4 0km a day and met thousands of people to make them aware of the welfare schemes that could change an individual’s life. So far, he has covered around 6254km in 54 districts and five 5 states. “I have also met the chief ministers of five states and handed over my proposal to make India a nation free of child begging,” he said.

Sharma he said he had also programmed a mobile application named ‘Duyaein’ in which he connected schools, hospitals, police stations, administrative officials and other government establishments. “The application is in the testing phase. I am planning to launch the application on June 19, 2019—the day when I will be celebrating ‘Unmukt Diwas’. The mobile applications can be of great use in identifying the lost kids and child beggars, helping them reach their homes,” he said.

On Wednesday evening, he reached the state capital where he met several people and spread awareness among them. He also appealed youths to travel at least 2 km a day to become a part of the drive to eradicate child begging.

First Published: Jun 08, 2018 14:06 IST