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Updated: June 14, 2014 02:02 IST

Space-starved Mumbai makes room for students

Sukhada Tatke
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A lantern provides light as children work on their lessons in Boprivali, Mumbai. The study centres that have come up in the city in the past few years aim to help such students. File photo: PTI
A lantern provides light as children work on their lessons in Boprivali, Mumbai. The study centres that have come up in the city in the past few years aim to help such students. File photo: PTI

Politicians, residents’ associations & NGOs set up study centres

Sachin Shinde aims to get his Masters’ Degree in Science by the end of two years.

He’s the only person in his family of fisherfolk to have reached this far in academics. Integral to his routine is spending a few hours at an open study centre near Mantralay in south Mumbai.

Tough circumstances

“I live in a one-room house. Our family has five members. In such circumstances, studying becomes hard. In class 12, when I needed to study the most, I stumbled upon this study centre. Since then, I come here almost every day,” said Sachin, a Colaba resident.

Favourite haunt

The study centre was built in the area about a decade ago by the then Congress MLA, Annie Shekhar, and her son Vinod. Situated not very far from the slums of Colaba or Churchgate, it soon became a favourite haunt of students. It’s open round-the-clock and anyone can use it for free.

Swapnil Ramane’s dream is to crack the Civil Services examination by 2016.

He’s 27 and has taken the exam twice. He chanced upon the study centre on his way to office which is a few metres away.

“I have to balance my studies with work and that gets very hard. So I run here during my lunch break or when I get some time off work,” he says.

He has been occupying the same bench since the time he started coming, six months ago.

More initiatives

In a space-starved city like Mumbai, such spaces have been coming up in the last few years. They are the result of initiatives by politicians and in many cases, residents’ associations and NGOs.

Take the case of a small gazebo in Danda, Khar, for instance. The Khar-Bandra-Santa Cruz Residents’ Associations got it constructed as part of the Carter Road extension plan. “The gazebo is used at night by slumdwellers who live along the sea. They have no other place to study. At home, they cannot concentrate,” said Anandini Thakoor, who was the chairperson of the association when the gazebo was built.

Close to the gazebo stands an amphitheatre. In the mornings, an NGO sends people to teach the slumdwellers’ kids. During the rest of the day, the space is used by the children to read or study.

At Worli, very close to a cluster of chawls, benches are put up in the open, under the trees.

During the examination season, the area gets transformed into a library.

Motivating

“I have been coming here for years. When it rains, we carry raincoats and umbrellas. It is nice because we have made friends with other students. The atmosphere is very motivating,” said Brijesh Yadav (18), a B.Com student.

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