Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

Jamadi Thani 1424 H
August 2003
Volume 16-08 No : 200
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Men, Missions and Machines


"We Mean Business and We Expect the Best"…. Mrs. Fatima Allana

"We Mean Business and We Expect the Best"
…. Mrs. Fatima Allana

Under the dynamic leadership of Fatima Allana, the 76 year old institution, Anjuman Khairul Islam, has become a landmark in the field of quality education at affordable price for the deprived sections of the society.

By M. Hanif Lakdawala

Mrs. Dadarkar            Mrs Fatima Allana

In Mumbai, a revolution of sorts, is taking place in the arena of social welfare and education, led by women. For the first time, a prestigious social welfare and educational organisation is headed by the capable and dynamic team of Muslim women.

Anjuman Khairul Islam, (AKI), a 76 year-old institution is led by Mrs Fatima Allana as the chairman and Mrs Sayeeda Dadarkar as general Secretary. In the male-dominated Trust, these two ladies are not only committed, but also confident about their goals and objectives.

Within the short span after they took over the leadership of AKI, there is a paradigm shift in favour of quality. Mere presence of these two ladies is acting as a catalyst for others to achieve greater heights. When this correspondent spoke to them, it was a lesson in management. Mrs Allana and Mrs Dadarkar have a blue print laid out to launch AKI into the orbit of quality education at affordable price for the deprived sections of the society. Inheriting problems such as shortage of funds, old and debilitating schools and orphanages and shortage of capable hands, these two ladies are determined to change the state of affairs.

The focus of Mrs Allana and Mrs Dadarkar is to target the quality of education imparted in the AKI institutions. No wonder, four schools managed by AKI got 100 per cent result in the class ten examination (SSC) and many more in the range of 96 per cent to 80 per cent. Before the entry of late Hussain Allana into the management of AKI, the standard of education in many of the AKI institutions was pathetic. Mr Allana took personal interest in the quality of education and results reflected in the statistics. After the sad demise of Mr Allana, his mission is being carried further and implemented by his capable wife, Fatima Allana.

AKI is a unique and grand

institution. Established in 1927, its main aim then was the educational, physical, moral and economical upliftment of the outcast orphans in Mumbai. It started functioning with the establishment of an orphanage and Madrasa in the thickly populated Madanpura.

Currently, AKI runs 25 schools, majority of them, Urdu medium, a junior college, and a degree college. It also manages 6 orphanages at Mumbai, Lonavla, Panchgani, Maha-baleswar, Panhalje and Satara. These orphanages are under the direct supervision of AKI, taking care of the food, shelter and education of the orphans, free of cost.

Mrs Allana and Mrs Dadarkar not only manage these orphanages, but also are the source of motherly love and care for these children. With regular visit to these orphanages, both have won the hearts of these children and their life is changing for the better. Most of the time, Mrs Allana decides the menu of meals and monitors the quality of food provided to them.

On their initiative, the periodical health check-up of students became mandatory with a specialist visiting the orphanages at regular intervals. Information technology has made it possible for them to monitor the overall development and progress of these students.

The AKI played a leading role in the collaboration with the other institutions participating in discussion and formulating the education policy for Urdu students not only in Maharashtra, but also all over India. The third All India Education Conference of 1972 held in Mumbai is an example. In fact, if Urdu is alive in Maharashtra today, the credit also goes to AKI for making extra efforts in the this direction.

As compared to the other social and educational institutions which drifted towards the Muslim middle class catering to its needs and funding their aspiration, AKI till today has dedicated itself to the cause of orphans and educational upliftment of the poor and deprived sections of the Muslim community. Another unique aspect of the AKI is its simplicity in administration, openness, and acceptance of talent, unlike other Muslim institutions which have either become the personal fiefdom of the individuals or monopoly of the particular group. AKI has an open arm policy for all those who are willing to cooperate.

“No individual however great can achieve success and attain the objective without an effective team,” says Mrs Fatima Allana. “Here we welcome all those who want to bring in change in the Muslim community’s social and educational background. Our focus is on women and we are in the process of establishing a women’s team which will be the best in India”, she adds.

Under the leadership of Mrs Allana, the focus is on changing the psyche of those associated with AKI. “We want to change the culture of mediocrity and careless attitude towards responsibility. No doubt, there is lot of resistance, but we are not going to rest till we have achieved our objectives. Also having women as their superior, many try to consider us as weak, but in the short span of time, we have made it very clear that we mean business and we want and expect the best,” said Mrs Allana. Instead of growth, bringing in quality and improving the overall standard of the institutions is the prime objective of Mrs Allana and Mrs Dadarkar. “Consolidation and streamlining the functioning of our institutions is our first target. Growth and expansion will only come if we are able to deliver the quality at affordable cost, as the founders of AKI had pledged,” says Mrs. Allana.

One of the unique strategies of AKI is not solely depending on the mega donors. Its strategy is to involve the local communities to raise the funds. Most of the time, by this strategy, AKI is able to generate resources to take care of its basic needs.

No doubt, a slew of Muslim organisations are working in the field of social welfare and education, but hardly any are led by women. The AKI leadership is in the hands of capable women. The community must extend its full cooperation to these dynamic ladies who are sacrificing the comforts of their home only to change the life of the most vulnerable and deprived sections of the society.

Mrs. Sayeeda Dadarkar, 24 India House, 2, Cumsalla Hill, Mumbai - 400 031.Tel : 23865836

The writer can be reached at
mhl@rediffmail.com

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