My Encounter With Street Kids Who Wanted Books And Pens Instead Of Chocolates

Posted by Namrata Kotak in #TheInvisibles
August 15, 2017
STC logoEditor’s Note: With #TheInvisibles, Youth Ki Awaaz and Save the Children India have joined hands to advocate for the rights of children in street situations in India. Share your stories of what you learned while interacting with street children, what authorities can do to ensure their rights are met, and how we can together fight child labour. Add a post today!

I remember it was my 18th birthday. My friends and I were sitting on the staircase of some shop. I was unwrapping the gifts which my friends had given. I had received a number of chocolates and some writing materials because of my passion for writing.

There were three kids on the street who were staring at us from some distance. I called them and they came up to me grinning. I thought they wanted the chocolates – and so I advanced my fist full of chocolates towards them. But they shook their heads.

“Ye nahi chahiye (I don’t want this),” one of them said. I asked them what they wanted. They pointed at the writing materials I had received as gifts. It was so heartbreaking to see a kid not wanting a chocolate but asking for a book and pen, instead. Nevertheless, I gave them the materials wholeheartedly.

After that, they asked me to teach them how to study. They told me they wanted more books – and they requested my friends and me to come daily for just a few minutes and teach them. In fact, even though there was no sign of their parents, they seemed desperate to study.

Who were they? I didn’t know. But I was able to understand the plead I heard in the children’s voice.

If only this plea reached India’s education system, wouldn’t it be quite the accomplishment? After all, education has become a necessity – and it’s about time that we started considering our country’s future.

These days, my friends and I regularly meet the kids and teach them – not just what’s in the books, but also what’s in them. They are yet to discover their talent. I hope the education system stops being ignorant to the ones who can’t even afford a piece of clothing – let alone school admission fees.

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Image used for representative purposes only.

Image Source: Sumanth Garakarajula/Flickr

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