Sanjib Das is a contract labourer with the Indian Railways in Birbhum district of West Bengal. He runs the informal Bajrang Shishu Siksha Mandir school for children in the low-income Suripara neighbourhood in Bolpur. “I see so many kids roaming the streets in the evenings,” he says, “And many of them are up to no good. I thought of putting these children back on track by giving them some form of an education. That is why I started this school.”
The parents of most of the approximately 25 children in this school are domestic workers, handcart-pullers and chai wallas [tea sellers]. “I believe that even if one person in a community takes up the responsibility to teach or lead underprivileged children,” he says, “it will go a long way in developing our country.”
Some of Das’ students have participated in local drawing competitions and won prizes: “Who knows, there may be some potential top-class artists among them. They have it in them, but lack the guidance of a good teacher.”
This video and story were done as part of Sinchita Maji's 2015-16 PARI fellowship.