“In 1986, when I was very small, we came to this house. At that time, there was not many houses nearby, only two-third of them, and the slum was where we are standing now today. The kids used to play in the park nearby, I also used to go there to play, in that slum gates. I had a very good friend from the slum. When I grew up, my father put me in a good school, and I had some very good education. When I came back, I met some of my friends who were from this slum, and they were doing the same work as their parents, i.e. like cleaning, sweeping, and I ask my friend, what has happened to him? He said because of some financial hardships, in the context that nobody guided us how and what to do, so we have to work with our family.
When I saw the kids of my friend doing the same family work, and not going to school due to my friend’s bad financial condition, since private schools are expensive, and public schools have the worst education. That time, I decided that I will not let it happen to my friend’s kids. I resigned from my job, and formed a NGO (Saksham-Center For Child Education & Women Empowerment) with my personal savings. I decided to teach his 2 children by myself. This is how I started this NGO, trying to give these kind of children a chance to have a good start in society.
Everyday I go house to house, to pick up the kids when it’s time for school. Still I face financial problems, and I can’t give them a lot. I can only afford buying study tables for new coming child every 2-3 months. I can only give them some candies, cookies, something to eat. So, I can keep their motivations of coming to study. I made some mistakes, like I sometimes forgot my personal life — taking care of my kids, my wife, or fees of my kids’ school. You know, last month my kids needed to go to a higher schools, and I had to pay $1000 school fee, which I couldn’t afford after spending so much in the NGO, so some of my friends helped me paying for the fees. This is how I paid the fees of my own kids, but I know I’m not gonna quite this NGO, not gonna shut it down, but keep on running, and stay strong for these children.”