Shyam Prasaad retired from BSNL in 2010 and moved to Delhi to spend time with his daughter and grandchild. But a few years later, he has taken it as his mission to teach underprivileged children on Delhi's footpath; and he considers all his students to be his grandchildren.
After moving to Delhi, Shyam was in the habit of visiting a temple near his house every day. On his way to the temple and while coming back, a group of children used to stop him begging for food or money. The 69-year-old believes that every child deserves a chance at basic education and these children roaming the roads without that chance disturbed him.
Hence, Shyam decided to take it upon himself to teach them the basics in all subjects - English, Hindi, Mathematics, Science and Social. Initially, it was very difficult to convince the kids to come to the class, so he started motivating them with chocolates and gifts. Talking about his initial days in an interview with India Today, he said,
When I started these classes, I had only one mat to sit on. Gradually a lot of people started noticing and started helping me by providing more mats, tables, chairs, blackboard, pencils, notebooks, copies and other forms of stationery and books needed for these classes.
The class takes place in Delhi's footpath and most children he teaches did not even know alphabets when he started teaching. But gradually they started paying attention to Shyam's lessons and are showing significant improvement. The number of children attending the class has also improved significantly.
The children also nurture dreams of becoming engineers, doctors and teachers. With no support from NGOs or government, Shyam most often uses his savings to buy books and other necessities for the children. Talking to Barcroft about teaching without a roof over head, he said,
I couldn't find any space that would accommodate poor and underprivileged children. And it is costly to afford a place on my own.
Though he makes use of the temple nearby when it rains, they still have no place to sit and study when the climate is extremely hot or cold. At those times, most children tend to miss out on attending the class.
Image credit - Barcroft
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