“Education unlocks the gateway of freedom”
Manoj, a child of about 12 years age, surviving on rag-picking and the sporadic sale of water filled in reused bottles at a platform of Charbagh railway station. No mother, no Father. Caught in the addiction of drugs. Seems destined for a life of a beggar or a rag-picker or a criminal or a life comparable to that of a dog!!! No. He was fortunate. Sonia Singh found him in the summer heat at platform number 7 when she had just started her mission of educating children at Charbagh railway station. Manoj was watching the whole education session from a distance. When Sonia saw him, she called him to join the others. Initially he was reluctant. But later on, sensing that other children were also from his profile, profession, locality and community, he gathered courage and politely asked if he could also join ‘the school’ and study like others.
His education, thus,started in that rudimentary school. Slowly and slowly, he overpowered his liking for the drugs and within one year he was free from the addiction. It was just because of his will power and for a slight change in his life’s direction. Within two years of ‘schooling,’ he was able to read, write and had mastered addition and subtraction (though multiplication and division were still difficult for him). With a bit of education, came bigger dreams and upswing in opportunities. He confessed his wish before Sonia Singh that he wants to get rid of this job of selling water in used bottles and rag-picking. Sonia Singh, through Astha Kiran, helped him to set up a tea-shop on a thela trolly. At present he is earning ‘decently’ from his ‘chai ki dukan’ and still getting education in the centre of Astha Kiran. Who knows, tomorrow, the education he is receiving today will bring bigger dreams in his eyes along with the willpower and strength, besides widening of opportunities, to achieve them. “