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May 22, 2013 at 12:24pm IST

Bihar: Meet Ajit and Shabnam who provide education, meals to orphans

Barauni: Barauni railway station in Bihar is witness to a noble initiative. Ajit Kumar and his wife Shabnam take care of orphans at the platforms, and provide them education and home-cooked meals. And their efforts have now inspired railway authorities too, to support their cause.

"If government implements Right to Education and Right to Food properly then no orphan kids will be spoiled," Ajit Kumar said.

While Ajit, a government teacher, teaches the children most of the subjects, his wife Shabnab cooks and feeds them. She also doubles up as their Hindi teacher.

"My husband teaches orphan kids and I help him by cooking food for these kids and teaching them," Shabnam said.

"Masterjee teaches us at the railway station and I want to grow up and become doctor," orphan girl Masina said.

"Earlier I use to steal money but now I want to study," orphan kid Noor Alam said.

So why would Kumar devote his life to these kids? The answer - he himself grew up on Barauni railway station platform helping his father sell tea. He grew up seeing these children surviving on alms and eating leftovers. The moment he got a government job, he knew what he had to do.

"I have spent my childhood on railway platform. My father was a tea stall owner & I used to assist him. I had a wish to be a teacher, which I have fulfilled," Kumar said.

His make shift open air-class room started functioning at the platform. Initially railway and police authorities opposed his class room but later when they saw children benefitting from this initiative, they started supporting this cause.

But for Kumar, the biggest challenge is keeping these kids away from being addicted to drugs, gutka or cigarettes.