NOIDA, Uttar Pradesh -- A 13-year-old boy, forced to sit on a pavement in Noida in Uttar Pradesh and earn money to pay for his school supplies, will no longer be bogged down with these concerns. Such is the power of social media, that four days after a passerby posted a photo of Harendra Singh Chauhan studying on the street, the class 9 student met with the state chief minister Akhilesh Yadav, who handed him a cheque of Rs 5 lakh and the district magistrate promised to ensure Chauhan's educational needs were met by the administration.
Even as support flowed in for the young boy, he thanked his well-wishers but insisted that he did not want any more help.
"I am grateful to the chief minister. However, I do not want any other help as now that my father has got a job, I am confident he will be able to support me and my family," he told The Times of India. Earlier, he has also refused to accept a cycle offered to him by Gautam Budh Nagar district magistrate N P Singh.
Chauhan's story first came to light after a regular commuter to Noida, Vikas Sharda, posted a photo that showed the boy doing his homework on a pavement outside a metro station. The boy had placed a weighing scale next to him where people could check their weight and tip him for the service. He reportedly needed the money as he needed some stationery supplies to complete his holiday homework. His parents had gone to their village in Etawah, and faced with a lack of money, Chauhan decided to take matters in his own hands.
Sharda's post quickly went viral, and was shared over 26,000 times, and reported widely in the media. Soon, local politicians as well as district administration took notice, and offers of help poured in from various quarters. While one teacher offered to help Chauhan with his studies, others pledged their support through monetary help. NGOs, corporates, and regular citizens also jumped in, and the CM soon took notice.
Chauhan's father, who has polio, reportedly lost his job in 2013, and the family struggled to make ends meet following that. TOI reported that Chauhan lives with his family in a 7x7 square metre room in Hoshairpur village near Noida's sector 51.
He told TOI that he wakes up at 6am every day, and then walks 5 kilometres to school. "After school, I study computer operations and at 7 pm I used to go to the Metro station and sit there till 9 pm," he said.
Despite his difficulties, he is reportedly one of the top students in his class, and is determined to succeed in his studies.