Bihar teacher dedicates first salary to slum children's education, fuels local initiative

A young government school teacher in Bihar devotes her utmost means to provide essential supplies to children in a slum, highlighting the transformative power of education, says Ramshankar
Bihar teacher dedicates first salary to slum children's education, fuels local initiative

BIHAR : The significance of one’s inaugural salary in their professional journey is universally acknowledged, but a government school teacher in Bihar elevated its importance by dedicating her month’s earnings to procure school bags, water bottles, and other essential stationery items for children residing in a Begusarai slum.

Meet Sneha Sharma, a recent addition to the teaching staff at Radha Devi Kanya Madhya Vidyalaya, a government-aided school in the Naokothi block of Begusarai district. It was touching when Sharma visited the ‘Baccho Ki Pathshala’ in the slum and distributed bags, water bottles, and study materials to 120 children.

Until recently, Sneha had been teaching children from a slum near the Lohianagar railway overbridge, which connects to NH-31 in Begusarai town. The ‘Bachho Ki Pathshala’ operates within the slum premises after regular school hours, from 5 pm to 6.30 pm daily, while mornings are dedicated to Taekwondo physical training sessions.

Sneha was deeply moved upon meeting the children, expressing her immense pleasure in being among youngsters who lacked necessities for proper living. She emphasised her desire to allocate a portion of her earnings to support such children, who are integral members of society.

‘Bachho Ki Pathshala’ was established in the slum on May 5, 2019, by Sneha, alongside local youths Raushan Kumar and Kundan Kumar. Initially faced with the challenge of engaging parents who showed little interest in education, the team gradually gained trust and encouraged regular attendance. Despite existing government-run ‘anganwari’ centres in the vicinity, children remained disinterested.

The intervention of these youths proved crucial as they imparted fundamental knowledge and persuaded parents to send their children regularly. Sneha and her team dedicated 90 minutes each morning and evening to coach the children.

Raushan Kumar, who collaborates closely with Sneha, mentioned the construction of a shed, funded partly by local residents, providing shelter from extreme weather conditions.

The establishment of the ‘Maya Kaushal Foundation’ further solidified their commitment to supporting slum children. Former students of ‘Bachho Ki Pathshala’ who have successfully completed 10th grade now contribute by teaching younger children, preparing them for enrollment in government schools.

Vicky Bhatia and Mritunjay Kumar, who are also associated with Maya Kaushalya Foundation, said that many children from ‘Bachho Ki Pathshala’ have performed well in national level Taekwondo championships. Taekwondo classes are held in the morning on a regular basis they reveal.

Except for a brief period during the Covid-19 pandemic, classes have been held on a regular basis. Raushan, also the foundation’s secretary, revealed their efforts to secure government assistance for orphaned children through the district’s Child Protection Unit. District officials commended their initiative during a visit to the ‘Bachho Ki Pathshala’.

Despite lacking financial aid from government agencies, the initiative sustains itself through personal resources and donations from locals, Raushan said, expressing gratitude at local particiaption and support.

Sneha’s father, Rajesh Kumar, expressed immense pride in his daughter’s generosity and innovative approach.

From shelter to school

Raushan Kumar, who collaborates closely with Sneha, mentioned the construction of a shed, funded partly by local residents, providing shelter from extreme weather conditions. The establishment of the ‘Maya Kaushal Foundation’ further solidified their commitment to supporting slum children. Former students of ‘Bachho Ki Pathshala’ who have successfully completed 10th grade now contribute by teaching younger children, preparing them for enrollment in government schools.

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