Delhi-man Rajesh Kumar Sharma has been conducting a makeshift school under a metro bridge for more than 300 underprivileged children for over 13 years now. 'The Free School Under The Bridge,' is run by Rajesh Sharma along with a team of seven teachers, under a metro bridge near the Yamuna bank area without any kind of assistance from the government or any NGO. More than 300 underprivileged kids living around the area in shacks and huts bring their own books and study in groups. Not only does Sharma conducts regular classes for the kids, but also gets them enrolled into the nearby government schools
Sharma, who hails from Uttar Pradesh originally, resides at Laxmi Nagar currently and is the sole earner of his family. He earns his bread from a grocery shop that he runs in the same locality where he lives. Sharma himself could not complete his B.Sc degree due to poor financial conditions and firmly believes that no single person should be deprived of education. Rajesh Sharma dedicates more than 50 hours a week to support and educate these kids who cannot afford proper schools.
The 49-year-old started his journey of providing education to poor children in 2006 when he was walking around the empty fields close to the Yamuna river and the idea struck him. Seven teachers namely, Laxmi Chandra, Shyam Mahto, Rekha, Sunita, Manisha, Chetan Sharma, and Sarvesh assist Sharma voluntarily in teaching the kids. The school has two shifts in a day. One from 9-11 AM for 120 boys and the other from 2-4.30 PM for 180 girls. The school also has five blackboards painted on the wall of the metro complex and some basic stationery such as chalks and dusters, pens and pencils.
Sharma has always stayed away from NGOs who have approached him to be associated with his cause because they all seemed suspicious to him. He says that his goal is selfless and educating poor children and making them smile is all he wants. He also said that some generous people visit the school occasionally and distribute packets of biscuits, fruits, and food, at times. He also said that he has never accepted any help in monetary form.