This is Fahem. Yesterday his mother was crushed to death by a truck.

This week Fahem and 19 other young people from our Topsia Evening Class are due to receive smartphones to enable them to continue their education online. Fahem is 17 years old and wants to be a lawyer.

Fahem lives in a shelter beside the Topsia Canal (actually a huge open sewer). His father used to work in a garage but ill health means he is now a rag picker, subsisting on collecting and selling on other people’s rubbish. Fahem’s mother held the family together with her Rs2000 (less than £20) per month income as a maidservant.

Her death leaves Fahem and two younger brothers aged 10 and 13 without a mother, looked after by a father who is himself sick and unable to earn enough to feed the family.  Not to mention their broken hearts.

Today he is sitting in the Tiljala SHED office, inconsolable. He was asking for £75 to pay for his mother’s funeral.

This is not the way I intended to launch our new educational sponsorship scheme, but Fahem’s plight highlights why promising, ambitious and hardworking youngsters from these desperately poor families need the extra help to keep them in education. Without their mother’s income, Fahem and his brothers will be forced to drop out of school and find work. Fahem’s dreams of going to college and becoming a lawyer will be dashed.

For £30 a month and perhaps a little extra to buy food, Fahem and his brothers can stay in education and have the opportunity to make something more of their lives. If you think you could help a youngster like Fahem, please get in touch. No need to have direct contact or even be connected to a specific person, but every £30 keeps a young person in education for a month.

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