Women's week: She is worth learning from
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Women's week: She is worth learning from

Sunita Yadav, a resident of Sector 7 Dwarka, is a single-woman force in the education of street kids. And she doesn't need a classroom to do that.

Women's week: She is worth learning from

Sunita Yadav doesn’t need a B.Ed degree to teach. She makes the streets of Dwarka her classroom. Underprivileged kids flock around her with notebooks and pencils as she teaches them the basics of education. “I have been teaching these kids here for the past two years. I don’t need recognition or publicity. I just want them to have a future,” she says.

A resident of Sector 7 Dwarka, she grew up in a farmer family in Haryana. Married off when she was in second year of BSc, she never got a chance to continue her studies. “I didn’t get a chance to complete my degree, but I couldn’t do anything about it,” she says. “I saw so many of my friends get married when they were just kids, because they were poor and illiterate. I want these street kids, children of rickshawpullers and labourers, to have a shot at an educated life.”

Yadav took up teaching to support her family when she shifted to Delhi. In 2004, she founded the Mouksh Foundation, a social organisation, to give shape to her dream. “I pooled in whatever savings I had, bought a second-hand car and made myself economically independent. You can say that was the real beginning,” she says. “Now I can not only teach the children but also do whatever little I can to help them out financially.”

Today she teaches more than 200 children in various parts of Dwarka from 11 am to 6 pm every day. For the poor, life is an everyday struggle. Most children don’t even begin their schooling; those who do, drop out before they have completed primary school. Yadav decided to give them that. She teaches them English, Hindi and Mathematics. “Now some children are even going back home and teaching their younger siblings and parents,” she beams.

However, Yadav also has another concern. “There are many ragpickers in Dwarka,” she says. “Some of these children are the only earning members of their family. I took four of them under my wing, educating them and helping out their families financially. But after a while, the parents came up to me and told me it was the education that was most important — money would follow. That day I remember I had tears in my eyes.”

“I continued teaching them and news spread by word of mouth to other areas of Dwarka. Today in JJ Colony Sector 7 these children study instead of picking rags. All their families need is a bit of encouragement,” she adds, smiling.

When times are especially tough, Yadav helps them out with odd jobs for the older children, so they can support their families. She believes it is equally important to instil confidence in these kids.

However, there is something pensive about her tone. “There is something skewed about society’s approach towards the underprivileged section,” she says. “It’s not like people don’t help them. Volunteers, especially the youth, are many. But most do it out of self-interest — to build their social-work portfolios. Genuine interest is rare. Even if people dedicate one hour a week to helping them, it can make a huge difference.”

“Teaching a child doesn’t need money,” she says. “It needs heart.”