About Footpath School
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When there is a will, there is a school on the way!
You are waiting for your friend under the shadows of a coffee joint. A 10 years’ kid moves around the joint picking up stray plastic bags in his back-pack. The back-pack is bigger than his back and forces him to bend. Bending helps him pick up the stuff on ground faster. You start thinking about the boy’s future. Your coffee gets cold as you get lost into these thoughts. Your friend arrives and pulls you back from your world and you are back into business. You get going with the life.
You are writing take a break at neighborhood tea-stall. A spontaneous call comes out of you “E chhotu, Ek Chai dena”. A despondent school-aged ‘chhotu’ is washing dishes. He stands up and gets you a cup of tea. It is taken for granted that ‘chhotu’ will only man the tea stall, why not they go to school?
You drop your daughter at the school gate and wave until she disappears in the realm of education. A roadside kid, right behind you, watches you and then your daughter with deep curiosity as to what happens inside the ‘school’…
Your vehicle stops on a road signal as you are on your way to drop your kid. A feeble boy pops up in front of your car windowpane from no-where. You can hardly hear his sound as your window glass is closed. But your heart is not closed and you can hear from what the boy murmurs. The boy is begging for help. The boy has short time span to make the mark, till the signal light turns green. Perhaps he is trying to explain how long he does not have food, how his family suffered …he now turns to other members in your car hoping to convert them. Suddenly he spots your kid in the backseat. The begging boy is now lost with eyes wide open at the virtues your son enjoys. Your son is dressed in a ironed school uniform, playing on an i-Pad, adorned with a colorful school bag and laced polished shoes. The begging boy starts thinking why can’t he have the privileges of going to school in this manner. You connect with the boy’s thought process well and turned back. Your son is innocent and gives a smile to you as well as the begging boy. The signal turns green and you get going. The boys as well as you are dumbstruck.
We always wonder that we are the privileged lot with access to education for ourselves and our kids …some may even have access to the best tools for learning. Does any one of the above incidents sound familiar to you? Ever wondered what country is not doing enough to expand this privilege lot? Ever wanted to have such kids also able to study and enlighten themselves? Why can’t government schools cover such kids?