Sub-inspector Shanthappa Jademmanavar who works at the Annapoorneshwari Nagar police station in Bengaluru. He goes to a migrant settlement in Nagarbhavi in western Bengaluru to teach their children. He reaches there every morning by 7:00 am before he goes on duty.
"Most migrant workers in this settlement and in Bengaluru are from north Karnataka districts like Ballari, Koppal, Raichur and Gadag. I am aware of the conditions the workers live in as I too am from the same region, and my uncle was a labourer for ten years and lived in a hut like this. So I decided to help in any way I can with the education of the children," he said.
The children begin their day by practicing yoga for a few minutes before commencing class. They are taught mathematics, geography, general knowledge and life skills by Shanthappa.
Shanthappa engages with the community in his uniform. He says, "I must make use of my uniform which benefits the society. Ever since I have started visiting this place, local goons stopped extorting money here, and men have stopped harassing their families after consuming alcohol."
Shanthappa, endearingly, has given his students names of Indian revolutionaries and freedom fighters. "I wish to inculcate in these kids the values of our great leaders. I call to them with these names in hope that someday they will become great human beings and give back to society as well," said Shanthappa.
Here, Manjula (A.K.A. Jhansi Lakshmi Bai) solves mathematics problems on the white board, the morning's classes having upgraded from the traditional black board.
Ramesh (A.K.A. Khudiram Bose) watches Manjula solve a mathematics problem. Ramesh, who is the naughtiest kid in the class, is made to sit apart from the other kids because he ends up disturbing the class and usually bullies his younger brother.
Shanthappa says, "Manjula is one of the brightest students of our class. She has a great future ahead of her."
"But the circumstances are going to make it difficult for her, considering her family's financial situation", he adds.
One of Manjula's classmates takes notes while she solves math equations.
Shanthappa is very encouraging and keeps the class engaged in various activities. Here, he is quizzing the class over General Knowledge. "Who was the first Prime Minister of India?", he asks, to which Bhagyavanti replied, "Jawaharlal Nehru".
The children love coming to the class.
Shanthappa uses shirts, stationery, mats, books and sanitary napkins as incentives to encourage the settlement's children to regularly attend the classes.
Mallayya beams in his new shirt he just received in class - it was previously a shawl, received by Shanthappa as an award!
Chandrashekhar goes through his new story book which he received in class. He said, "I'm very happy!" as he giggled and showed its contents, a picture of a lizard, to his friends.
After the class, Shanthappa makes the kids play games where they jump back and forth on command, a regional version of 'Simon Says'.
He says, "It makes their reflexes better, keeps them healthy and the kids love playing it!"
Once the class is done, the children go back to their settlements. The older girls usually contribute to household chores and help in cooking and cleaning while the boys usually play some more.
Parvathi's mother, a domestic help, braids her daughter's hair before getting her ready for the day, as her grandfather looks on.
Her mother said, "I'm glad that Shanthappa Sir comes and teaches the children here. I want Parvathi to have a better life and it will only come through better education. I want her to study more so she doesn't have to work like me."
Shanthappa is taking a break after class before he goes on to inspect the settlements.
Shanthappa talks to one of the camp elders. He is fondly welcomed by the community.
Manjula's mother washes her clothes next to a roofless washroom immediately after her class so they're ready for the next day.
"The living conditions of the people living in this settlement are worrisome. They don't have a proper washroom to go to. That is a circumstance I wish to eradicate from this country," says Shanthappa.
The settlement is on land under litigation. Local goons would come to harass residents and extort money. This stopped once Shanthappa started regularly visiting the area to teach the children.
It has four temporary huts, four families, and just one open air washroom overlooking the city's open sewerage system.
About the Photographer
Almaas Masood is an independent photojournalist based out of Hyderabad, and currently living in Bangalore, India. She wants to be at the forefront of critical issues to draw the attention of society to make a collective change. She wants to tell the stories the world needs to hear right now. To get a conversation started, which will eventually lead to a social change. She wants her work to act as a catalyst for change and social justice in society, make her medium a platform for the vulnerable, give equal advantage to the disadvantaged, an opportunity for everybody to be seen and heard, with sincerity, compassion, and courage to promote a progressive change. Her focus is on the rising socio-economic divide in the world, the effects of climate change, preserving culture, and on uncovering the depravity that has us gripped.