PAVEMENT CLUB PROJECT
Md. Chand who is now 23 years old had been with Pavement Club since he was a young lad of 6 years. He was enrolled to the project in 2005 from the North Range slum community. This community is located in the heart of the city and the closest to Kolkata’s well known landmark which is Park Street. The North Range community are people living in makeshift tents made out of bamboo and tin laden with plasticsheets for a living with families with basic amenities. They are illegally dwelling in the area that falls under the Kolkata Municipal Corporation. It is a hostile community and noted for criminal offenses and anti-social crimes. Drug addiction, peddling drugs and begging are their sources of income. Robbery and stealing are some of the common practices among them. .
There are two sects among the Hindu community categorized as the Sonkars and the Harijans. The Sonkars are believed to have a higher status in society whereas the Harijans are considered as the Dalits or the untouchables as they associate themselves to doing menial jobs such as sweepers, evacuation of drainage and sewage waste, cobblers and as Madaris- an act of using pet animals like bears and monkeys for tricks to earn a livelihood.
In the midst of all these social evils, Chand and his family were raised up by embracing a life of honesty and integrity. Chand joined the Pavement Club programme and graduated from the Non-Formal Education only to pave the way to a regular formal education and thereafter successfully completed his secondary education with a second division. As he grew older, under the Duke of Edinburgh Award programme, he developed skills in literacy and had also been nominated for the Bronze Award.
Chand was always very supportive and usually helped his father during vacation in catering jobs. He was very ambitious and dreamt of becoming a good chef. Soon after he graduated from High School, he started operating a small outlet where he sold sandwiches.He supported his family members with the earnings from the outlet. In the year 2022 it was a year of great accomplishment and a new opportunity to take his career to an unexpected level. He migrated to the Middle East and was offered an extensive training for six months and is presently employed as an assistant cook in a five-star hotel in Saudi Arabia.
One of his statements was, that gaining knowledge from books is not good enough, we need to inculcate the values of love for those who are neglected and oppressed. He also said that the best part of his life is not being on the receiving end but to give to others and bring smiles on their faces.