Buoyed by the support of charities, dozens of slum children are daring to dream big with many aiming to break the “set social standards” with which they are brought up at Sanjay Camp in Chanakyapuri.
Twelve-year-old Hasanara wants to become a dancer and train her generation ~ boys and girls alike ~ to dance and perform at international shows. Although no one from her family has ever joined any dance performance, she wants to perform dance shows. She is inspired by Bollywood stars, Varun Dhawan and Jahanvi Kapoor.
Thirteen-year-old Ashma wants to become a police inspector. Ashma says, “If slum children are given opportunities, they are not lesser than other children of society.”
Eleven-year-old Puja Pal, who wants to become a doctor, echoes this thought. The confidence among these children has been inculcated by the Kailash Satyarthi Children’s Foundation (KSCF) which, in collaboration with the American Embassy School, plans to improve learning outcomes of poor and underprivileged children in slums.
The KSCF along with the American Embassy School conducted a test of 52 children of the Sanjay Camp slums and selected 33 of them for different levels in the school for learning the English language skills. Their classes take place from 3:30-5:00 pm in the evening on Monday and Tuesday every week. The American Embassy School have arranged a bus for them.
Dr Mary Catherine Frazier from the American Embassy School faculty, who is one of the founders of the initiative, said: “These children have come to our programme with bright eyes and enthusiastic minds. They are eager to learn and have added a joy for all our teachers. The Sanjay Camp children will help our programme grow in a positive direction and expand our educational opportunities to help even more children have an ACCESS (Scholarship Programme) to future studies in higher education.”
Mostly drop-outs, the children have been doing well, observed Frazier, adding many children show tremendous confidence during the learning session.
Puja, who wants to become doctor, said she would provide free medical aid to people in her area. She is aware of high medical bills in case one reaches a private hospital. Like her, other children also want to contribute in education, health care and other social sectors.
Puja studies in Bapu Dham School in class seven. Her mother Sushila is a housewife and father Deen Pal is a driver. She studies in level IV of the American school. She wants to grow and become a doctor after completing her education.
“Once I spoke to doctor uncle who gives medicine whenever we suffer from fever. I know that paracetamol is the medicine that is taken when we suffer from a headache or fever. But we should always take paracetamol after taking permission from the doctor uncle,” said Puja.