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Sustainable School Providing Free Tuitions To Marginalised Children Under Delhi Bridge Demolished

The school in Delhi's Yamuna Khadar had been built using sustainable materials like bamboo and was intrinsic in providing education to about 150 local children since the Covid-19 lockdown in 2020.

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School for underprivileged kids under a bridge in Delhi's Yamuna Khadar demolished by district autho
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A makeshift school that was providing education to underprivileged children free of cost in Delhi’s Yamuna Khadar area since 2020 has been demolished by Delhi’s district administration. On Wednesday, authorities showed up with a bulldozer and razed the sustainable school to the ground, leaving local children and activists anguished. 

Started by a UPSC aspirant Naresh Pal during the Covid-19 lockdown, the "school" and aftercare centre was eventually adopted by Jeevan Stambh Foundation, a non-profit organization working for the rights of the underprivileged and homeless in Delhi. 

On Wednesday, the organisation put out a statement about the demolition which the NGO spokespersons claim took place without any prior notice. 

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“Today (Wednesday, Jan 11, 2023) at around 10 am the District Administration came with the CRPF and a bulldozer without any warning and razed the structure. Despite multiple requests by the volunteers, the officials didn’t allow for belongings to be collected to minimise the damage. The school was completely destroyed and suffered a loss too heavy. All the classrooms, benches, medical equipment and stationary items have been completely destroyed,” JSF said in an official statement. 

The lockdown and the subsequent shift to digital and hybrid modes of education had an adverse impact on underprivileged children and left many without any option to access education through online classes. Pal, who has been works for the education of underprivileged children as a teacher and social worker for several years found a novel solution to the problem - he found an under-construction location under the bridges of Yamuna Khadar and started giving classes to children. 

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The school had been built using sustainable materials like bamboo and had been designed to be “demolition proof”.  It had been intrinsic in providing education to about 150 local children and bridging the digital divide by providing remedial classes and resources to access education to those in need. It has also played a key role in providing space for vocational training of women and health camps for the general population in the past two years.

Chandrajeet Kumar who works with JSF says that the demolition has left the children studying at the school as well as the volunteers involved in running the school in emotional pain. “This is enormously demotivating at best and extremely heartbreaking at worst. Not only was this our attempt to give back to these deserving children but all volunteers were ridiculed for their commitment and social responsibility especially by the SDM and officials of the office,” he says. 

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