Their classroom is a flattened patch of dirt and rocks under the elevated rail tracks. Their blackboards are rectangles painted on a chipped concrete wall. Their teacher is a shop owner with no formal training, but a conviction that education is their only hope.
For some of these dozens of children of poor migrant workers in India's capital, this makeshift, open-air school under the rumble of mass transit is the only school they have. Others who attend overcrowded and dismal government schools come here as well - to actually learn.
India's Right To Education Act promising free, compulsory schooling to all children ages 6 to 14 was supposed to take full effect March 31, but millions of children still don't go to school and many who do are getting only the barest of educations.
So every morning, more than 50 children gather under the bridge for two hours of lessons at Rajesh Kumar's informal school. They sweep the dirt flat and roll out foam mats to sit on, just meters (yards) from the bushes were several men had been squatting and defecating minutes earlier.
Image: In this April 4, 2013 photo, Rajesh Kumar, the founder of a free school for slum children, second right, and Laxmi Chandra, right, use improvised blackboards to teach pupils under a mass transit bridge in New Delhi. Kumar, a shop owner with no formal training, says that education is their only hope.