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'Never want to go back to that life': 21-year-old Rajesh on how Satyarthi Children's Foundation helped him

When Rajesh was eight, the volunteers of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation spotted him working at a brick kiln and advised his parents to let the boy enter school.

Published: 06th February 2021 10:23 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th February 2021 10:23 AM   |  A+A-

Rajesh (extreme right) with Kailash Satyarthi and his Mukti Ashram friends

Rajesh (extreme right) with Kailash Satyarthi and his Mukti Ashram friends

By Express News Service

On February 04, a tweet from the Nobel Peace Prize recipient Kailash Satyarthi, grabbed attention for starting off as “Proud of my dear son Rajesh...” Satyarthi was referring to Rajdhani College (Delhi University) student Rajesh, who with the support of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) had just cleared his BSc (Electronics) with first division.

​Scores of children clear this degree, but this 21-year-old had to beat many odds to do so.

Speaking at UN South Asian
Forum on Business and Human Rights

“I am the first graduate in my village, and I hope other children will get motivated to opt for higher studies,” says a beaming Rajesh, now preparing for his PG entrance in Electronics from DU. He wants to enter the teaching profession as “then my words will carry a greater weight when I advise young boys and girls to study”. Rajesh hails from a village Akbarpur near Virat Nagar, Rajasthan. Youngest of the five children of Jagan and Machla, he began working at the brick kiln where his parents worked like his elder siblings at a very young age.

When he was eight, the volunteers of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation spotted him and advised his parents to let the boy enter school.

“Both Bhaisahebji (Kailash Satyarthi) and Mataji (Satyarthi’s wife Sumedha) spoke my parents. Since my parents couldn’t afford even a twosquare meal a day, they agreed to let me go live in Bal Ashram, set up by the KSCF,” says Rajesh.

The rest, as they say, is history. After a period of initial non-formal education, Rajesh was finally enrolled into formal education in Class 5.

He excelled in studies and kept moving up classes because of his good grades. In his Class 10 examination (2015), he secured 81 per cent, and two years later in Class 12, he got 82 per cent.

​Both the times, he was rewarded by the Rajasthan Chief Minister with a laptop. Seeing his dedication towards studies, KCSF enrolled him under its ‘Freedom Fellows Education Fund’ that supported his undergraduate studies.

“Since 2017, when I entered college, I have been living in Mukti Ashram at Keshav Nagar in North Delhi. My stay here is free, and all my needs are fulfilled. I cannot thank Bhaisahebji enough,” he says, adding, “I miss my parents and home, but I never want to go back to that life. My sisters are married, and parents still work in the brick kiln. After I become a professor, I will get them to quit working there.”

In a nutshell

Rajesh hails from a village Akbarpur near Virat Nagar, Rajasthan. Youngest of the five children of Jagan and Machla, he began working at the brick kiln where his parents worked like his elder siblings at a very young age. When he was eight, the volunteers of the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation spotted him and advised his parents to let the boy enter school.



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