Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Masterji who helps slum kids go to big schools

Masterji who helps slum kids go to big schools

Kelly Kislaya, TNN Sep 5, 2012, 04.10AM IST

RANCHI: Ejaz repairs mobile phones as a professional but he is a teacher by hobby. His students are not from well-off families but are the children of fruit and vegetable vendors or ragpickers. These children who never thought of holding a pen are now studying in reputable institutions in city after passing out from Ejaz's school Prerna Samajik Vikas Vidyalay.
Ejaz said, "I had to quit studies and start working at a very early age because of financial problems in the family and I know the pain of being a dropout. I have studied till Class X and am imparting that knowledge to the children who are unable to go to school so that they do not suffer the way I did."

He started his school in 2006 at his home near Karbala Chowk. The biggest problem that he faced was to convince the parents of the children to let them study. "I went from door to door trying to convince them the benefits of being educated and soon they started sending their children to me," said Ejaz.
The problems did not end here for Ejaz. As he had no place to teach the students, he started teaching them on the terrace of his home but the studies were always disturbed by rain, heat or cold.
Ejaz said, "It was really difficult. I sold many of my household things and borrowed money from friends to make a room for teaching the children so that their study is not disturbed."
Even today, there are no separate rooms for different classes and curtains work as partitions between two classes. With the passage of time, many people joined Ejaz and left but his friend Mohammad Tauhid stood by him and helped him in his noble deed. Tauhid said, "When he (Ejaz) told me about his dream of teaching poor kids, I appreciated it and thought no other work could be better so I started teaching children with him."
At present, there are 70 students in Ejaz's school. "Many students passed out from here and are studying in schools like St. Anna, St. Paul and St. John's. It was difficult convincing their parents to get them enrolled in big schools but many agreed after a bit of persuasion," he said.
Mohammad Ibrahim, a student at Ejaz's school, said, "Abba (my father) is a vegetable vendor and I help him in his work. Initially, he was reluctant to send me to some big school but after masterjee spoke to him he is now ready to get me enrolled in some good school."
Excitement was visible in his eyes when he said, "I used to see students going to big schools in buses wearing uniforms and was jealous of them but now I think I will soon join them."
After working so hard, Ejaz has one complain against the government. He said, "Our school is enlisted with the government under Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan but till date we have not received any help from government."

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