Rajveer dropped out of school at 13 in 2019. He was in the 8th standard because he had to walk 2km to the nearest high school. But it was not just the hard ordeal of walking to school that made him want to leave school. “I lost interest in studies. I didn’t complete homework, so I was afraid of meeting my teachers,” Rajveer says.
Rajveer became an apprentice at his uncle’s carpentry business. He travelled with his uncle to different villages around Faridkot and Chandigarh. But after two years of a study break, he had had enough of the work and wanted to return to school.
It was a challenge re-enrolling in school. He was old for his class, so the school denied him admission. The school authorities were apprehensive about his motives and didn’t think he was serious.
World Vision India’s volunteers and Child Protection Units (CPU), who had a good rapport with the school, convinced the authorities to give Rajveer one more chance. They agreed on the condition that Rajveer grabs the opportunity.
“After a two years gap, it was tough to find a school. They were not willing to give him a second chance. It was possible only because of the help from World Vision India,” says Veerpal, Rajveer’s father. But the pandemic and lockdowns were spoilers. Schools were closed and he was only able to attend the online classes. However, Rajveer did not lose hope. He continued to persevere.
He still walks 6km to his new school. It dwarfs in comparison to the carpentry work he did before. Sometimes his father drops him off on his way to work. But most times, he walks to school with a smile. This is his second chance at education. He takes it seriously. “After studies, I want to join the army,” Rajveer says.
World Vision India has been working with 24 communities in Faridkot District since 2010.