Tribune News Service
Rohtak, April 23
Finally, the concerted efforts of Dr Venkatesh Murthy, a faculty member at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM) here, have borne fruit. As many as 11 children of migrant ragpickers, who were denied admission at a local school last year as they did not know Hindi, have been admitted to a government school.
When the IIM teacher was apprised of the matter in August last, he decided to do something worthwhile for the children. He started a makeshift pre-school near the small slum settlement of the migrant ragpickers and started teaching their children.
Dr Murthy, who hails from Karnataka, initially faced the challenge of communicating with the children who belong to the Assam-Bengal belt. But gradually, they overcame the initial hiccups and got along well together.
Thanks to the relentless efforts of the teacher, the children, who used to remain engaged in ragpicking and household chores, began studying at his evening classes. They learnt Hindi alphabet and other elementary concepts within a few months.
Finally, 11 children of rag-pickers, as well as three other children from the local community, have got admitted to Government Primary School in Sector 5 here. As the parents of most of the children had gone to pick rags, Dr Murthy signed their admission forms as their guardian.
The children who got admitted to the school include Ajiran (Class II), Ajupa (Class II), Abu Noothalin (class I), Ashmina (Class I), two girls named Jasmina (both in Class II), Narjina (Class II), Akmita (Class I), Ruhul Amin (Class I), Jahima (Class I) and Alima (Class I). From the local community, two sisters Kareena and Karishma and another girl Nisha have also been admitted to the school.
The mother of Kareena and Karishma is a widow and seeks alms, while Nisha’s father is bed-ridden and mother a daily wager.
“Seeing the excitement on the faces of the children is quite satisfying, but a sense of responsibility is also there. I wish the children continue their studies and would never like any of them to get pulled from the school and put back into ragpicking,” Dr Murthy said. School headmistress Anitasaid though the parents of these children did not have residence proofs, they have been admitted as per the provisions of the Right to Education Act.
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