A Dehli police officer who managed to crawl his way out of the city slums as a child is now giving back to poor children who live the lifestyle of skipping school and working odd jobs.
With his free school, when class is in session in the parking lot of the famous Red Fort, Than Singh helps kids who’ve missed school catch up to their age bracket so they can be at the same level as their peers.
Born in Rajasthan’s Bharatpur, Singh grew up with two siblings on the streets of New Delhi, where he would sell corn and his father would iron clothes. But despite this day-to-day existence, Singh never forgot the importance of school.
His father wanted to be a police officer, but the weight of supporting the family never allowed him to properly prepare himself. Eventually though, Singh followed in his father’s footsteps, stayed in school, and passed the examination for the Delhi Police.
Going back to police the streets on which he was raised, Singh began to feel something had to be done to help children like him who had to work instead of study. He then started a one-of-a-kind school called Than Singh Ki Pathshala.
“I volunteered to teach these kids so that they are able to come a little par to their peers. For this, I started meeting the parents. Police are the only segment that go to people irrespective of their socio-economic status and get to understand their problems,” Constable Singh told The Better India. “After meeting their parents, I convinced them to not worry about kids and send them to our pathshala.”
He teaches 80 children aged 3 to 15 outside of the Red Fort from neighborhoods like Raj Ghat, Vijay Ghat, and Shantivan. Local battery-rickshaw drivers have volunteered to bring the children home from the school every day.