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How an 18-Year-Old Domestic Help Started a Makeshift School for 60 Kids from Slums in Ranchi

Suchita Baraik, an 18-year-old resident of Ranchi, Jharkhand, goes out every morning to work as a domestic help that enables her to earn a living for herself and her parents.

But every evening, she takes up the role of a teacher for the 60 children who come to her house to study.


Source: Tom Maisey/Flickr

“My father is bed-ridden. My mother brought me up and encouraged me to study. I studied till Class VIII in Hinoo United High School, but was forced to drop out as money was a problem. I wanted to become a teacher,” she told The Times of India.

Suchita’s mother met with an accident a few months ago, because of which she had to take up odd jobs to support her family. In January this year, she started a makeshift school with the help of another daily wage labourer, Sikandar Lohra. They started by visiting slums around the airport located in Hinoo area of the city, where they tried to convince parents that they should send their children to school. Residents who are rickshaw pullers, domestic helpers, daily wage earners etc. were initially reluctant about this proposal, but many of them agreed and started sending their children to the school that Suchita conducts on mats outside her house. In three months, 60 children in the age group of six to 14 years were enrolled in the school. The duo started with the help of many people who donated old books, registers, stationery, etc. They now plan to include children from all five slums in Saket Nagar area, and to ask the district administration for help.

“It is difficult to teach children in the rain. My house cannot accommodate more than 10 students. I have asked my former teachers to allow us to use two classrooms in the evening for two hours. The school administration has agreed to consider our request. I also plan to approach the local ward councillor for help,” says Suchita.

She visits two houses everyday where she works as a cook, then she attends her coaching classes to prepare for her matriculation exam, after that she cooks for her parents, and then starts teaching at 5:00 pm.

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