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College Dropped Out Builds School Under A Bridge To Educate Underprivileged Kids





“Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” These were the priceless words of the famous Nelson Mandela. But for the estimated 67.4 million children who are underprivileged to go to school per research of the United Nations, education is their least priority.

Despite the rising number of youth who are still deprived of their rightfully-deserved privilege as a child, illiteracy remains completely addressed despite being a global concern. Thanks to this drop-out college guy, hope is now just around the corner even if meant taking things single-handedly.

Meet Rajesh Kumar Sharma who used to be one of the unfortunate victims of poverty.

Sharma was just three to four years short before finally concluding an Engineering degree in 1989. Due to financial constraints, he was forced to quit school but somehow managed to end up as the owner of a grocery store in Shakarpur area in Delhi, India. Each day, he would pass by the same area where children flocked the busy streets and spent time loitering rather than attending school. So what does all these children have one thing in common? They all came from the poorest of the poor families.

Fortunately, Sharma held on to his dream of being an advocate of social change.

With only limited materials and obviously no space for a typical four-walled classroom, Sharma utilized the massive space under the bridge.

Day by day, he would encourage street children to attend his “sessions” even if it only meant a few hours of reading, writing, Geography, Mathematics and Hindi.

Soon enough, his pioneered “Free School: Under the Bridge” project in 2011 attracted volunteers who believed in the same advocacies and vision.

Aside from teaching those residing near the river bank of Yamuna River, Sharma plans to extend afternoon sessions for girls who have morning classes and for those from several parts of the city.

Sharma added, “I mostly [teach] laborers’ children. As they moved from site to site, it got difficult to follow them everywhere.”

Still, due to some inconsistencies in the curricula and schooling system in government schools, many prefer to attend to his free school.

“I just believe I have to give my best in teaching these children, because otherwise they will become part of a generation lost [to] poverty. Moreover, I encourage them to get enrolled in government schools so that they can avail some benefits,” Sharma told Hindustan Times.


Currently, more boys are able to attend classes from 9:00a.m. to noon before proceeding to their respective local schools in the afternoon. In addition, Sharma hopes to guarantee his current 200 students one seat to any government school for a more promising and brighter future.

“The children at this school are hardworking and intelligent,” Laxmi Chandra, a math teacher for the high schoolers, told Hindustan Times. “All they need is guidance, and that we aim to provide,” she added.

As a 15-year-old student named Abhishek shared with The Indian Express, “Our teacher has told us that when poverty strikes, you should open your mind, and that can be done only through education.” To date, hundreds have already successfully passed the admission test for government schools and generous supporters continue to send donation of supplies, school materials and chairs.

It’s a sad fact that while many have the luxury to spend thousands to avail the best education possible, many still suffer illiteracy due to extreme poverty.

Thanks to Sharma and his likes around, making a difference through a simple act of kindness can indeed still save a thousand.


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