However, the efforts are continuing unabated. Naresh Pal, a native of Uttar Pradesh, conducts a school beneath a bridge in Delhi that provides free education to the city’s poor youngsters. He is dedicated to the cause of children’s education and is working to ensure that children receive the fundamental education they require to succeed in life.
Every day, roughly 150 youngsters from the Yamuna Khadar region of Delhi attend a makeshift school to learn. Their education is free, and students no longer have to deal with being unable to enroll in online programmes.
All of this is thanks to Naresh Pal, a Badaun native. As a child, he saw how his parents, both farmers, were unable to provide him with a decent education due to their limited financial resources. Even when he was in college, he had to pay private tuition to pay for his education.
While Naresh has been teaching the kids on the banks of the Yamuna River for the past ten years, the ‘Free School Under The Bridge’ was born as a result of the educational burden imposed by COVID-19 shutdowns. He is now teaching these children while studying for his UPSC examinations.
There is no roof, no walls, and no tables and chairs in the school. It does, however, have stationery and bathrooms owing to gifts from generous strangers and well-wishers. Unlike other classrooms, this open school beneath the bridge has no building and only five blackboards, which are nothing more than a black coat of paint on the wall. It includes basic stationery such as chalk, dusters, pens, and pencils to assist teachers. The pupils are required to bring their notebooks and sit on carpeted ground.
The majority of the students are the kids of rag pickers, rickshaw drivers, and beggars who cannot bear to send their children to school. The children’s faces revealed a steely resolution and will to concentrate on their studies and not be diverted by their surroundings. Indeed, the ‘Under the Bridge School,’ which is located beneath the railway bridge, is all about challenging conventions.
Reading, writing, and the fundamentals of English, Hindi, science, mathematics, history, and geography are all taught to the youngsters. Despite the fact that the school has no set curriculum and no official approval, it fulfills the objective of a school by providing education and boosting children’s self-esteem.
“On occasion, some people come to the school and hand out biscuit packets, apples, water bottles, and other meals. Some teenagers sat beneath the bridge to celebrate their birthdays with the kids, cutting cakes and sharing snacks. Such events make kids feel like they are also a part of society, regardless of where they reside or what background they come from.”
Naresh had resumed his education after a four-year gap during the lockdown. The children sit in groups of roughly 25 on plastic chairs under five different portions of the flyover. Naresh also keeps an attendance log to keep track of his students, and if someone doesn’t show up for an extended period of time, he contacts the parents to find out why.
“Many kids here, even in classes VIII and IX, are unable to read their textbooks. I doubt they would have completed their worksheets if it weren’t for schools like ours “Added he. “It brings me great joy to teach these children.