Back to the classroom… and a world sans crimes

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‘Hope’ helps school dropouts get back to mainstream education

It has been years since they sat in a school classroom and listened to a teacher. For these 18 students, going back to the classroom, even though just for a few days, was not just about nostalgia or learning but a struggle for survival and probably the only chance at a decent life.

As the 10-day residential camp for students under the Hope programme began at Government Vocational Higher Secondary School for Girls in Nadakkavu on Tuesday, the focus was on these students who have fought odds to escape from an anti-social life and rekindle the hope for a better life. District Police Chief (Kozhikode City) Sanjay Kumar Gurudin spoke to the participants of the camp.

Hope is an initiative of Inspector General of Police P. Vijayan to make life better for adolescents who might otherwise have deviated from their path. Similar to his other initiatives like School Protection Groups (SPG), Student Police Cadet (SPC), and Our Responsibility to Children (ORC) in which the police worked hand-in-hand with the common people, Hope too, though initiated by the police, is being carried out by a group of like-minded dedicated individuals from all walks of life.

Hope involves pushing the school dropouts to continue their education, so that they do not go anti-social.

“We have noted that a large section of the students who fail in SSLC end up with the sand-mining mafia or the drug dealers,” said A. Umesh, Circle Inspector of Kozhikode Town. “These days, it is difficult for someone to fail in SSLC exam. That is why those who fail are cast aside as useless even by their families and they find recognition among the anti-socials that attract them towards crime,” he said, explaining how important Hope is. Among these 30 are adolescents who had been selling drugs and even using them. There are those who inform the criminals about police movements, for which they have to stay awake at night. “To stay awake, they start watching pornography on their mobile phones. They become peeping toms in neighbouring houses at first and later, if the opportunity presents itself, thieves,” said K.E. Harish, CEO of Sadbhavana World School, one of the coordinators of the Hope programme in Kozhikode.

The 30 students were picked from different parts of the city and suburbs and were undergoing preparatory classes for the last two and half months.

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