Photographer Follows Street Kids Under Bridge, Then Discovers Their Unconventional “Classroom.”

kids at chalkboard

Education is a vital part of every child’s upbringing. The opportunity to have a quality education is a gift that many take for granted. According to Unesco, a startling statistic says that 124 million children and adolescents worldwide don’t receive an education. A large portion of that number are the 17.7 million Indian children who are out of school.

One selfless man has taken it upon himself to change that statistic. Rajesh Sharma, 45, a grocery store owner in New Dehli, witnessed a group of kids who weren’t in school, playing in a construction area of a bridge being built in 2010. So he decided to give the underprivileged kids a level of education that they wouldn’t normally be able to receive.

Now, that same area under the bridge serves as an open-air school.

Free School Under Bridge 1
Ahmer Khan

“I was strolling by and saw children of laborers playing in the dust and mud when this metro bridge was under construction,” Sharma told BuzzFeed News.

“I spoke with the parents and asked, ‘Why don’t you send them to school?’ They said, ‘We want them to be educated but we can’t afford their education and the school is too far.’”

Free School Under Bridge 2
Ahmer Khan

The honest answer didn’t sell with Sharma. “I said, ‘Okay, let me [teach starting] from tomorrow, I will take some time from my work and teach them.’ I started with two or three kids [who had] nothing, no resources. The students used to sit on gunny bags.”

From humble beginnings, the teacher’s school originally started with only two or three children but he now teaches over 200 kids!

Free School Under Bridge 4
Ahmer Khan

The school, which receives no government support, completely relies on public support and donations. People have been so kind to donate money, supplies, and uniforms.

The majority of the Sharma’s students live in the ghettos of East Deli. Their parents are mostly day laborers can’t afford to provide them with the means to receive a good education.

Some of the students walk for miles to attend the free school.

Free School Under Bridge 3
Ahmer Khan

Sharma’s eager students learn English, Hindi, science, mathematics, history, and geography from a concrete wall of the bridge overhead. They even have Saturday sports day!

Sharma has been joined by a couple of more teachers since 2010 and the impact they are making on the lives of these kids is making ripples across the community.

Free School Under Bridge 5
Ahmer Khan

We celebrate Rajesh Sharma and the other teachers on their commitment to change the lives of children through education. His story is inspiring and we love seeing what he has begun!

Donate here to help fund their education and supply needs!

Share this heartwarming story of care today.

Want to be happier in just 5 minutes a day? Sign up for Morning Smile and join over 455,000+ people who start each day with good news.