The Optimist Citizen

These Cops in Bhopal are educating Slum Children in Thanas in their free time

“अ से अनार, अा से अाम….  A for Apple, B for Ball”…. Hearing the familiar chaotic sound, my ears assured that it was a montessori School.
Instantly, my eyes moved around in search of the source of noise, just to stop at a big blue board with flashy large words- HANUMANGANJ POLICE THANA. Peculiar!
A rapid rush of unanswered questions in my mind, led me towards the chaotic noise, inside the Thana Campus. As I went inside, my eyes caught the sight of a tent under which there were 10-15 little kids sitting with their notebooks, a blackboard, a desk and a few posters and charts presenting colourful alphabets from A-Z, words, pictorials, numbers, etc, hanging on the lateral flaps of the tent. Dressed in khakhi and blue coloured uniforms, a few lady cops were teaching those kids, alphabets, words and poems.
“We provide primary education- basic literacy and foundational knowledge to these underprivileged kids and also play different games like langdi and football with them”, said Kanchan Singh, one of the cops.
From nearby slums and streets, 10-15 kids are brought to this ‘Thana’ in police vans, every afternoon. These kids who are otherwise not enrolled in any formal schools, spend quality 2-3 hours here at the HanumanganjPolice Station, studying, playing, enjoying with their ‘police teachers’.

Hanunganj Police Thana Cops teaching the children of nearby Slums
Hanunganj Police Thana Cops teaching the children of nearby Slums

A brainchild of Dr. Raman Singh Sikarwar, the Senior Superintendent of Police, this ‘Thana School’ is BAL SANJEEVANI PARAMARSH KENDRA. Under the careless upbringing of their parents, these poor kids roam around on streets, get caught into wrong company and addictions and eventually engage into anti-social and criminal activities. But slum kids residing near this police station would not, anymore, because they have theirpolice teachers (the thana staff) who take out some time out of their duties, to teach and counsel them, show them a positive direction. Started on 20th January 2016 with 25 children, this project is funded by the BhopalPolice Department and it educates kids of 3-15 years of age.

“Because of the common notions about a police station that prevail, the parents were unwilling to send their children at first. But we gradually counselled them and brought the kids. We also provide meals and clothes to these kids. After educating them in basic literacy, we will admit these children into formal schools under the RTE Act. 10 students from our centre have been enrolled in government schools recently”, explained Kanchan, the Thana In-charge of the project. “We feel satisfied and happy by spending 2-3 hours of our day teaching these kids. Some of us even bring these children from different locations, on our own vehicles”, the other women cops added.
The children enjoy the stress free environment at the centre and willingly come every afternoon. They are no more scared of ‘police‘ and ‘police thana’.
“I have learnt अनार-अाम and alphabets from A-Z. I enjoy at this place and will continue coming and studying here”, 14-year old Khushnuma, who resides on a footpath nearby the Thana and have never gone to a school, joyfully expresses.
While the mass perceives a police station as a violent and reckless place, here is a police station that is creating a crime-free, peaceful and positive future for underprivileged vulnerable children, through primary education.

Piyuli Ghosh | TOC

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