Mumbai: Meet 17-year-old who went from footpath to SoBo college

Updated: 28 October, 2020 07:47 IST | Pallavi Smart | Mumbai

After clearing her SSC exams studying under the street lights opposite BMC HQ, Asma Shaikh gains admission to K C College, Churchgate, for her Std XI studies

(From left) Salim Shaikh with daughter Asma, son Sarawar and wife Roshni on the pavements at CST on October 23. Pic/Suresh Karkera
(From left) Salim Shaikh with daughter Asma, son Sarawar and wife Roshni on the pavements at CST on October 23. Pic/Suresh Karkera

Asma Shaikh, a footpath dweller who had made it to the news after passing the SSC exam, is now all set to begin her Std XI studies at K C College, Churchgate. The 17-year-old has promised Principal Dr Hemlata Bagla that she will try to guide more street children to education by setting an example.

Asma's admission was confirmed at the prestigious South Mumbai college on Friday. The teenager, who lives on the footpath opposite the BMC headquarters, had scored 40 per cent in the SSC examination. Asma's background and the circumstances in which she managed this score certainly shows great achievement. She studied under the street light at night and helped her father sell nimbu paani during the day.

Story touched many hearts

The story of her efforts reached many and soon Congress leader Milind Deora and Dr Bagla offered help. Asma has taken admissions to K C college in Arts stream and wants to pursue psychology for her degree. The five years of her education will be supported jointly by the college and Deora.

Asma Shaikh celebrates her SSC exam result with father Salim Shaikh, on July 29. File pic/Ashish Raje
Asma Shaikh celebrates her SSC exam result with father Salim Shaikh, on July 29. File pic/Ashish Raje

"I want to become a police officer. This profession excites me. My plan for now is to only ensure that I become a high-ranking government official, for which I will take all the required steps and seek guidance," shared Asma.

Asma has now started tutoring young children on the street. "After my parents sent me and my brother to school, other families on the footpath were inspired to educate their children. I am so glad that I am already setting an example for these children," she said.

'I am glad'

Her father Salim Shaikh was brought up on the same streets and is well aware of the struggles. He says he always had one advice to his children that they need to lead a better life and education is the only way towards it.

"I am glad that my children have understood the importance of education. They have seen the struggle of the street where we have to keep changing our sleeping spots or authorities keep taking away our stalls. My children have decided to become that sahab (government officer), in whose fear we keep moving from one spot from another," Salim said.

'She is inspiring'

Dr Bagla said, "One of my former students who is now a media professional shared Asma's case with me as our college has been supportive of helping deserving children from underprivileged backgrounds. After meeting Asma I saw how inspiring she is and I took a promise from her that she will keep leading by example to guide more and more street children to college for higher education."

"Extremely grateful to Principal for agreeing to admit Asma into KC College, one of Mumbai's most prestigious junior colleges. All the best Asma. Make us all proud!" Deora tweeted.

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First Published: 28 October, 2020 07:40 IST

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