New Delhi: As the Delhi Metro from the Yamuna Bank station rumbles on every day, something extraordinary takes place under its tracks. Children from the neighbouring slum gather here to let their imagination take over. And helping their dreams take shape is a West Delhi shopkeeper Rajesh Kumar.
Rajesh said, "I would regularly see children idly playing in the dirt in the area. I asked their parents why weren't they sending them to school. I got no answer, so I decided to start teaching these children from then. We didn't have much, so with whatever I could get I started teaching them here."
Rajesh started this project in 2008. From two students, his classroom now boasts of 50 young minds. Local shopkeepers, rickshaw-drivers and daily wage-earners have started sending their children to his classroom.
Kumar teaches students of all ages - he tutors them in Maths, Hindi and English, equipping them to secure an admission in local schools which had earlier rejected them.
One of the students Bharat Mandal said, "I was weak at math earlier, but now thanks to the teachers I can ace tests in my school."
Another student Namita Kumar said, "We get to learn many things, much more than what I learn in school."
The Greek historian Plutarch once said that the mind is not a vessel to be filled but a fire to be kindled. Education in any form delivers knowledge but more importantly it hones a confidence in people to take on the challenges of the world, and tap into a potential to achieve horizons unimaginable before.
Even in this desolate corner of the capital, Rajesh Kumar and Laxmi Chandra are nurturing that very spirit in these children, pushing them towards a brighter future for themselves, their families and society.