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New Delhi: A year after the RTE Act came into effect, nothing has changed for 11-year-old Akash. Entitled to primary education according to the laws of the land, he continues to sell balloons at the Pusa Gate roundabout, earning around Rs 70 per day. Akash is not an exception. In a city where child labour is a stark reality and welfare state virtually non-existent, there are many kids who, instead of going to school, toil on roads or in damp sweetshops. Times City talks to a few children who are out of schools.
Aslam: The father of this 11-year-old, Mohammad Ijharul, is an egg seller in Bihar. “I was a class I student till last year and my teacher used to beat us a lot. I feared going to school. I was told by a man in my village that I can get a job in Delhi. Here, I was handed over to a d a l a l who employed me in a zari unit. I was made to work for over 14 hours daily, even on Sunday,” he says. The boy was rescued in a raid.
Akash: The boy, 11-year-old, lives in Motia Khan Rain Basera. “My father died of TB and my mother can’t earn. I sell balloons near Pusa Road to sustain my family. I used to go to a school which was demolished during the Commonwealth Games. Since then I am out of school. The government school where I want to study asks for identity proof. I don’t have one,” says Akash.
Harzina: A resident of Rangpuri Pahadi, the name of this 10-year-old was one day struck off the rolls at the school where she was studying. No reason was given to her. “While my father is a rag picker, my mother is a domestic help. I had gone to my village in Nadia (West Bengal) with my parents. When I returned, I found out my name has been struck off the rolls. The school is asking for some documents that we don’t have,” says Harzina.
Akil: The 8-year-old boy is from Kamtoll, Bihar where his father runs a tea stall. “I was a student of class I, but my teacher never used to come to school. One day an uncle gave Rs 1,000 to my mother and he brought me to Delhi. I was made to work in a zari factory,” says the boy.