Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

August 2004 - Rajab 1425 H
Volume 17-08 No : 212
Camps \ Workshops

News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Missions and Machines What's New Trends Insights Community Initiative Issues
Children's Corner Quran Speaks to You Hadith Religion Question Hour : Dr. Zakir Naik Our Dialogue Back to The Past Quran and Science Women in Islam Living Islam Just for the Young Reflections Journey to Islam Sould Talk Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us


Now you can pay your subscriptions online

Community Initiative


Their heart Beats for the Poor
From Slums to Sweden

Their heart Beats for the Poor

Marginalised kids can now look forward to caring families,
Thanks to the efforts of the students of Akbar Peerbhoy College.

By M. Hanif Lakdawala

The students of Akbar Pheer bhoy College managed by Anjuman Islam, located at south Mumbai are creating caring families and communities for the support of marginalised children. Initially, the child adopted by certain individuals/families will give two hours once/ twice in a month to this child. The rationale behind this is that the poverty faced by these children is not the poverty of resources only, but the poverty of care, concern and proper guidance.

The students and their family will invite the child to their home. The child is their guest and will be treated with utmost “respect”. The progress as well as the difficulties of the child will be discussed and suggestions will be given. Apart from that, there will be general discussion with the child about his/her interest, aspirations, hindrances etc. This discussion is meant to open new vistas to the child, orient and guide the child to newer horizons and also taking out the negative biases that most of the children grow with. For one year, it is an adopted child of the family and that family has an opportunity to mould the future of the child.

According to Shabana Warne, social activist and expert, who is coordinating the project, the basic objective is “creating awareness and providing opportunities for people to contribute to the cause of creating a just society and creating support base for the promotion of education of poor children.” According to Shabana, what is expected from these students is not support in material form, but spending quality time with the deprived children and imparting them some form of learning.

Currently Akbar Pheer bhoy College is starting with few families on experimental basis. Also to solicit the support from other families, students are preparing a concept note describing in detail what, why and how of the initiative and circulating to the families- middle class, upper middle class. “Later we will call a meeting to discuss this further and start with the families that are ready to give two hours- at their convenience to a child. Even college students can be involved in this by campaigning in the college premises,” said Shabana.

“To make the initiative fool proof,” said Alifiya, student of the final year Bachelor of Management studies, “we make sure that placements of the children in the families is accompanied by the Trust’s person-eg-. children will not be used for any work; they should be treated with respect and not in patronising, sympathising manner always. The very objective of the scheme is respecting the dignity of a child which is violated at various points by the family, community and society”.

The Akbar Pheerbhoy college students want to keep the project simple and not too demanding on the students. “Just reserving two hours in a week for deprived children is possible for most of the students. Hence our priority is not expansion nor quantity, but consistency. We only enroll volunteers who assure us that they will be consistent,” said Alifiya. The initiative is not limited to only children of Muslim families. ”Irrespective of the religion we sponsor the child”, said Shabana. She is thankful to the college Principal for extending support for the project, which encouraged her and the students to launch the project.

(The writer can be reached at
mhl@rediffmail.com)

Top


From Slums to Sweden

Muslim women, considered the most suppressed group in Mumbai's largest slum have begun to claim their rightful place in the classroom, with the help of the Rahat Welfare Trust.

By A Staff Writer

What is common to all these cases? All were motivated and financially helped by the Rahat Welfare Trust.

When Hazra was growing up, one had to look in ten houses in Bharatnagar, to find one girl who was studying. Most of the girls drop out before they even reach 5th standard. But the birth of the Rahat Welfare Trust and the Shaheen Girls High School changed the destiny of many. “The Muslim community is very down and out, and there is a great need for positive inputs,” says Irfan who founded Rahat which today sponsors the education of 400 poor families. Around the same time Irfan was approached by a local group from Bharatnagar to help start a girl’s school. So Shaheen Girls High School was born.

“The community is conservative, so we didn’t exactly get queues, recalls Irfan, who went from door to door seeking girls who had been elbowed out of the education system. “Often I had to persuade parents. In many cases, the problem was financial and I agreed to sponsor them through the Rahat Welfare Trust”.

Shaheen Girls High School started in 1992 with a makeshift hut, 57 students and two teachers. Today it is a neat structure with 450 girls and handful of success stories. Thanks to the efforts of Rahat Welfare Trust and Irfan, over the last few years, Muslim women-often considered the most backward and suppressed group in Mumbai’s largest slum-have begun to claim their rightful place in the classroom. With determination, they are suddenly working towards MAs, MBBSs and degrees in engineering. “Our girls are moving far ahead, even compared to our boys,” says Irfan.

Until 10 years ago, Muslim girls from the middle and lower-middle classes were, typically, placed in Urdu medium schools and then yanked out after standard seven. “Marriage was considered all-important, so there seemed no reason for girls to be educated,” says Irfan.

The riots of 1992-’93 proved to be the turning point, however. “ For the first time, Muslim women from the chawls and slums came forward,” said Irfan. “The crisis demonstrated the need to shatter stereotypes and shape a better future for their children.”

What distinguishes Rahat welfare trust from other welfare organisations is that as other organisations concentrate on helping middle- class, side-tracking the slum dwellers, Rahat welfare trust operates and provide assistance to slum dwellers and deprived sections. The criteria for scholarship adopted by other organisation are merit, Rahat welfare trust give prime importance to the economic criteria.

According to Irfan, Rahat Welfare Trust is helping 250 families on a continuous basis under its Total Educational Support Scheme (TESS), sponsoring 350 children, majority of whom are orphans. Under TESS, a child is provided with almost everything required to go to school. Not only education, Rahat welfare trust provides monthly ration for pre-selected poor families. The future plan of the Rahat welfare trust is to focus on literacy and primary education in Mumbai slums targeting girls in particular. “Girls are the most vulnerable section of the society. In the slums they have no protection. We are striving to educate them so that they can take care of themselves,” said Irfan.

“If you educate a girl, you educate a family. If this trend continues for another 10 years, I truly believe that our community will undergo a dramatic transformation,.” he says.

Top


News Community Roundup Editorial Readers Comments Men, Missions and Machines What's New Trends Insights Community Initiative Issues
Children's Corner Quran Speaks to You Hadith Religion Question Hour : Dr. Zakir Naik Our Dialogue Back to The Past Quran and Science Women in Islam Living Islam Just for the Young Reflections Journey to Islam Sould Talk Matrimonial Jobs Archives Feedback Subscription Links Calendar Contact Us


Al-Nasr Exports