Vikas Kumar – While all our older students slide easily into a role of “teachers’ helper,” 14 year-old Vikas stands out as a natural leader – and not only because of his exceptional height. Vikas commands attention and has noticeable influence amongst the students. He relies on his leadership skills to help the teachers at BSS to watch the smaller children during playtime and make sure other students go to their classes when the bell rings. His sister Mamta, who is equally confident, sits right beside him in class 5. Vikas’s younger sister Khushboo and younger brother Brijesh study at BSS in Classes 4 and 2.
It is difficult to imagine that when Vikas came to BSS in 2004, he could not read or write. Although he started going to the local government school when he was in class 1, there was little actual learning. Instead, the school functioned more as a day care program; children played and talked amongst themselves with the teachers acting as caretakers. To maintain control, the teachers would often use physical force, and the students report that the teachers often hit them.
When asked what he wants to become, Vikas breaks his self-assured nature for a second as he uncertainly says “doctor.” Despite this minor indecision, Vikas is highly capable and determined to continue with his studies.
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