After his official duty hours, Vishwakarma ensures that he reaches out to all those who have been deprived of reading or writing skills. For his mission he has selected labourers’ children that he finds at several quarries in Nawada area of Bihar. Besides stone quarries, Vishwanath frequents railway stations and trains to teach drop-outs, who work as railway hawkers.
“I want to make these children to be aware of their basic rights, which will happen only once they are educated. Till they are educated, they won’t understand the implications of government programmes and schemes, and how they can benefit them. Once they are able to do that, they will be in a position to better their situation themselves,” says Vishwanath.
Vishwanath’s efforts have not gone unrecognised. He has got several awards from the State and Central governments, and a nomination for a top national civilian award for his contribution to education. The sight of hawkers with an assortment of fares- snacks, newspapers, apples and oranges- huddling around Vishwanath is amusing to commuters who crowd around the ‘classroom.’
Vishwanath says that the success of his initiative would lie in his efforts sending across a message to others who might try replicating his model.
Certainly we have new role models in our society who go beyond the call of duty to create a better world. I’m sure the likes of Vishwanath Prasad and Anand Kumar will inspire the teaching community in Bihar to go extra mile in order to reach out to the underprivileged.