Night School, INA Market

Leaving the secure confines of his home in rural Uttar Pradesh; coming to behemoth called Delhi; working to provide for his family as his alcoholic father cannot do so; all this at the tender age of 13.

Most boys working as porters at INA Market have a similar tale to tell. No joys of childhood and carefree schooldays for them. They wake up at the crack of the dawn to queue up for water as they need to report in to work by 8.00am. The day is spent lugging heavy loads.

They take each day as it comes, as their life ahead holds little promise of a dream coming true or a new life – the life of a child. Bringing hope in the lives of these boys is Ritinjali’s Night School at INA Market. The initiative, the first for Ritinjali, was set up in 1996. Volunteers from the organisation encouraged rag-pickers, delivery boys and canteen workers to attend two-hour classes after 9 pm. News travelled and workers from nearby markets also signed up.

The school operates between 9.00 p.m. and 11.00 p.m. every night, where the boys come after finishing their day’s work. The school implements the Ritinjali Core Curriculum that includes Literacy, Numeracy, English and Communication skills, Life Skills and Values, Art, Drama, Media in Education. A health plan is also formulated for the boys and routine medical check-ups are carried out.