Youth chucks Rs 3.5 lakh salary to teach at footpath school

AHMEDABAD: If you happen to pass by Sadbhavnagar police chowky in Vatva area, you will not miss students sitting under the roof. Apart from near Sadbhavnagar police chowky, Virat Shah, an instrumentation and control engineer from LD Engineering College, now provides quality life and education to slum children in Vatva and Narol areas.

Shah, 45, who has quit his job in Dubai, gives 200 students free tuitions. If the parents do not have any residential proof, he becomes their children’s local guardian.

“It all began when I was young. My father was a mill worker. He used to never return anyone empty handed from his door. However, it all ended after he lost his job. After schooling I enrolled in LD Engineering College and later NHL Municipal College. During studies, I started doing tuitions. It always pinched me to get money as tuition fees, but I was helpless as I needed money. After completing my studies, I worked in several companies in India and married Trupti who is a chemical engineer.”

Life took a turn and Shah got a job offer abroad. “I worked outside India for five years and after earning a decent amount I returned. I used to get a monthly salary of Rs 3.5 lakh in Dubai,” said Shah who has two daughters – Aparna and Partitha.

“When in 2010 I returned to India, I decided not to do any job. Instead, I pursued my dream of educating the slum children. I had earned enough to ensure a good living for my two daughters and my wife. At the slums near Isanpur crossroads, I could persuade 10 parents to allow me to teach their children who were not going to schools. The journey finally began with 10 children in September 2014. In 2015 when I took them to nearby corporation school, the principal refused them admission. It was then that I became their guardian.”

Shah now claims that he has nine such footpath schools with 200 children. And today, he has registered Sarvodaya Group Trust. His one friend has helped him construct shades, while the other has arranged for medical check-up. Shah with his friends’ help also ensures that the children get good food when they they come to the centre. Shah’s vision is to construct a school which has no fee and only the needy get admissions for quality education.

Rukshana Ansari, mother of Shah’s student Sahil said that before joining the centre, Sahil used to laze around but at present he goes to school and studies at the centre. Ansari was at the centre seeking permission for Sahil to go on a month’s leave. Seeking a written permission for leave is mandatory at the centre.

News Source: TOI

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