Islamic Voice A Monthly English Magazine

MUHARRAM - SAFAR 1424 H
MARCH 2004
Volume 17-03 No : 207

Camps/Workshops

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Communtiy Initiative


Jogeshwari Shining!
The Little Hajis!

Jogeshwari Shining!

Closeted in the communally sensitive area of Jogeshwari, Ghazala's Young Indians' School is a brilliant example of Muslim women's contribution to the education Movement

By M.H. Lakdawala

In Mumbai ,Muslim women are taking active part in the upliftment of the community. They have made immense contribution in the education movement in Maharashtra.

Muslim women have started enrolling for higher education even after marriage, and participating in setting up and managing the educational institutions, both secular as well as Islamic. One such example is Ghazala's Young Indians' School.

Ghazala walks the bylanes of Jogeshwari's Harinagar area, files in hand. She had always wanted to do something for the people of the area spanned with pre-dominantly a lower middle class population. "Education is extremely important", she emphasises. So, it does not matter if Ghazala's Young Indians' School started in 1999. Or that it is located in the communally sensitive area or measures only 300 sq. ft. looking like a 'kholi' (room) of a working class person. What matters is that it can impart education to children upto the third standard. Funds had always been a problem. For many reasons. "People doubt our integrity and refuse to believe the cause we are working for. They sense a selfish motive behind our endeavour," she says.

But Ghazala deliberately chose Harinagar to begin her endeavours into reality even if it meant a beginning so  simple as this. The area is extremely fragmented on a religious basis so much so that the Hindu-dominated area is referred to as Hindustan and the Muslim dominated area as  Pakistan. ''I wanted my school to be the buffer zone. It is precisely the reason why I have named my school as Young Indians' School. It really hurts when Muslims are asked to  prove their patriotism", Ghazala says. As if to make a point, the walls of the tiny classrooms are replete with 'I love India' paintings and the tri-colour.

Initially, Hindu parents were apprehensive to send their kids to her school. "But now 15 per cent of our 100-odd students are non-Muslim which is noteworthy. ''Ghazala does not offer education for free and charges a modest Rs 100 a month from the students. "People don't value free things. I have to charge fees if I have to make them serious about education."

One might find it shocking, but Ghazala's school has children who are first-generation students in their family. "It is indeed a difficult task to develop a culture of education in such families." Born in a middle-class Muslim household, Ghazala had a great childhood as well as a great neighbourhood. She lived in a neighbourhood whose very

address spelt communal harmony: Shamimullah Chawl, PP Dias ground, Hindu friends Society Road, Andheri (E).

Yet her family became the victim of the 1992-93 riots. "It was a terrible time,'' she recalls. The family shifted their house of two decades and moved to Millat Nagar and finally to Lokhandwala. Those were trying times for Ghazala. She started taking tuitions, taught at a local school to supplement the family income. Teaching has been her passion.

She now looks forward to starting her own junior college for the girl students of her area. "Parents here are still hesitant to send their daughters to school. I want to see how much I can change that picture,'' she says.

Young Indians' School takes care of the first generation learners. "Many of our students belong to the families who have never been to school. We not only provide quality education, but also take care of their aspirations.Our school never refuses admission to students just because they cannot afford fees," says Ghazala.

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The Little Hajis!

By Zahrah

Oasis International School, Bangalore, organised a unique programme on Hajj which was a hands-on, tangible experience for the children, as one of the strong beliefs of the school is to facilitate learning through practicals.

The theme-based approach that is adopted at the school is executed through activities and games for children relevant to the time or season they are in. Theme-based teaching allows students and teachers a chance to see how skills and knowledge can be applied to real life issues ,concepts and problems. True to this, in the month of Hajj this year, co- ordinators, teachers and students put their efforts together to create the spirit of Hajj.

It started with a Stage programme which included the recitation of verses from the Quran, a brief introduction about Hajj, story of Prophet Ibrahim (Pbuh) and the Talbiyah. As visitors walked around, they saw how each classroom was converted into the different places that a pilgrim (haji) must visit-Mina, Muzdalifah, Kabah, Safa-Marwa and Jamarat. The open quadrangle was converted into Arafat and the Mountain of Mercy (Jabal ur Rahmah) with a copy of the Last Sermon on it.

Simple material was put to use through complex ideas and the outcome was unbelievable.

The children of Reception, Grade 1 and 2 were dressed in Ihraam while the children of Grade 3 and 4 were guides at the different places. It was wonderful to see how they guided the small Hajis and explained the significance of each place along with the values they learnt. The rituals of Hajj are in reality a training prescribed by Allah for inculcating within ourselves certain 'habits of mind' like 'Worship of the Creator, Not the Creation', 'Humility', 'Taking responsibility for one's own mistakes', patience, generosity and brotherhood. A quiz competition was organised for the parents while Essay and Painting Competitions were organised for the children.

The response was overwhelming as people poured in. " Excellent", " Impressive", " Very good work, do this every year", was what the visitors had to say.

For Further Details Contact: Ms. Ayesha Masood, Ph: 23536158 / 23546682

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News Community Roundup Editorial Letters to the Editor Community Initiative Globe Watch Event Diary Trends Muslim Perspectives Metro Mail Men, Missions and Machines Muharram Children's Corner Heritage Children's Corner Quran Speaks to You Hadith Fast Farword Special Space Opinion Guidelines Our Dialogue Miscellany Reflections Lessons to Learn Soul Talk Rights and Wrongs View Point Matrimonial
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