Every day, for two hours, a vacant room on platform no. 4 of Varanasi railway station transforms into a bustling space full of students.
But it isn’t like any other school or classroom you may have encountered. Christened the Ghumantu Pathashala (Nomadic Classroom), this school is has a charm of its own.
The 40 students who attend this school are kids you see loitering railway stations, some of whom have been accused in petty theft cases, are addicted to drugs or mostly work as ragpickers to make ends meet.
The onus of transforming the lives of these kids in and around Varanasi station by teaching them basic writing and reading every single day dedicatedly for two hours has been taken up by the men in khaki.
GRP (Government Railway Police) jawans, sub-inspectors, and CO rank officers volunteer to teach these children.
This initiative first began under the leadership of GRP CO Vimal Shrivastav and SI Vinod Kumar reports The Navbharat Times.
They would often catch these kids at the station and counsel them to abandon their vices and give basic education a chance.
Though convincing the parents, family members or caretakers of these kids continues to be a humongous task, these officials continue to strive to take their mission forward.
What once started as a class with only five students, today has a total of 40 students, all in the span of a month.
These GRP officials not only juggle between their daily duties at the station and teaching the students, but bear the costs of the study materials and stationery for the students from their own pockets.
The aim of this school is first to help the students understand the basics, and once they have made suitable progress, plans to enrol them into good schools in the vicinity to continue mainstream education.
For classes held in the noon, these students are also provided with snacks. With the help of NGOs, the GRP officials are also looking forward to making clothes available for the students.
Currently, NGO Sathi and Dare has been working with the officials and have been helping them counsel kids to join the school. Since many of them are into substance and drug abuse, it hasn’t been an easy task to get them out of the vices and instil a love for education in them. But slowly and steadily the change in the lives of these students is reflecting especially in the way they have begun to work hard and concentrate on their daily studies.
We salute the entire team of GRP officials Varanasi for their selfless work and hope this unique school serves as an example for others to replicate the model even if in a small way to help transform the lives of such underprivileged children.
Feature In-set image credoit: Navbharat Times