Forced to Beg, A Mother Struggles To Educate Her Child

Video Editor: Sandeep Suman

Video Producer: Ujjwal Agarwal

7-year-old Farmaan Khan plays the harmonica near a makeshift shelter in New Delhi that has become his home. More than 20 years ago, Farmaan's parents Ruby Khan and her husband Nisar came to the national capital. They had dreamt that they would be able to get a job, and earn their bread and butter.

What they got was a life on the fringes, living in a squatter colony in the heart of the old city.

The makeshift house where Farmaan’ family lives.

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Being barely educated and desperately poor, the couple and their five children survive mostly from Ruby's begging.

The family rarely has more than a few hundred rupees between them.

Moreover, they are always concerned that authorities could clear out the settlement at any point. If the authorities arrive, the family quickly piles up everything they own – clothes, blankets, birth certificates, bags – on to a cart and move.

But Ruby hopes her “son’s future will be secured if he studies.”

"“We try and arrange it (money for education) from here and there. And if Allah wishes, I will make him study further.”" - Ruby Khan, as told to AP

Farmaan’s mother helps him get ready for school.

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"“Earlier, his father had refused (to let him go to school). Still I tried and now he is going to school.”" - Ruby Khan, as told to AP

At a school run by a NGO, Farmaan learns maths tables and alphabets.

Both parents try to help him with homework, and Nisar now agrees that Farmaan shouldn't start working, at least not yet.

Farmaan studies in a school run by an NGO.

"“My expectation for the future is that he should do well for himself, even if he does not give us anything. Even if he does not stay with us, at least he has acquired education. So, my child is in a job and he is not begging from here and there.”" - Ruby Khan

Together, Farmaan's parents have mapped out his future: high school graduation, a job and money.

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