New Delhi: Sagar is at Dilli Haat by 11 every morning with eight hours of work ahead of him. He runs around asking people to get their shoes shining for just Rs 3. But at 4 in the afternoon, it’s time for a break from work to do a little bit of study.
That’s the only route to life beyond shoe-shining for Sagar, even if it means studying in parks in the scorching heat. "Main pilot banna sahta hoon, main hawai jahaj uraonga (I want to be a pilot when I grow up and fly aeroplanes)," Sagar beams.
Many children like Sagar, who sell flowers or simply beg at traffic points, are today getting an window to education thanks to an initiative called ‘Steps for Change’. An NGO, run by a group of youths, has begun this initiative to help street children get basic education.
The NGO educates 80 children in five makeshift centres in Delhi. They teach the children counting, Hindi, English and basic hygiene.
The initiative may or may not have changed much in the lives of these children today. But what seems to be changing for sure is the future of these children and it surely looks much brighter.
But the volunteers of Steps for Change admit that it’s difficult to keep the kids like Sagar hooked to books.
"Initially, it was really very difficult to get these kids to come to classes, because first of all, it was a very big thing to connect with them so that they listen to you in the first place," says Pawan, a founder member of the NGO.
The volunteers are mostly college students and the children do not get their classes during university exams. With no official funding, ‘Steps for Change’ is trying to collect money through street plays to hire regular teachers.
See Video below.