Dhanbad, Jan. 15: Amresh Mishra did not want to leave college only with a degree. So he decided to go beyond his curriculum and share his knowledge with the deprived.
Six years later, his initiative has taken the shape of a movement that promises to illuminate several lives with the light of education.
Amresh, an alumnus of the premier Indian School of Mines (ISM), started teaching slumdwellers who lived near his hostel in 1999. Slowly, other students began to show interest in his work.
Today, the movement took a giant step forward with the inauguration of a primary education centre in Lahbani village behind Emerald hostel.
Aptly named Kartavya, the school comprises three classrooms and has a student strength of 120. These children live in the local slums and hamlets in Dhaiya.
The man who started it all, Amresh, is currently undergoing training at the National Police Academy, Hyderabad.
Radha Raman Mishra, a third-year student of petroleum engineering, said: 'Our seniors used to give tuition at the nearby temple. With more children showing interest in studies, they started teaching in the open for want of space.' Amresh, too, had studied petroleum engineering.
'The children in slums around our hostels end up serving food in a mess or washing dishes in the small eateries. Some of them even take to drug addiction. Seeing all this, we decided to take up the challenge. Since most of them belong to groups for which there is reservation, all they need is a small push,' Mishra told The Telegraph.
Mishra said the funds for the educational programme come from the ISM students' donations. 'We provide the children with textbooks and exercise copies. Fifty of us take classes in the evening. Students associated with Kartavya have to take classes once a week. We have hired a three-room building at a monthly rent of Rs 500,' he explained.
'It is not difficult to persuade the parents as most of them work in our mess or hostels. We aim to retain the children and shift them to conventional schools later. We will do so only when we are convinced that the children will not drop out,' Mishra added.