Volume 15-11 No:179
Ms. Ashrafi Mulla receiving award in recognition of her
social service from A.R. Antulay.
Her zeal to change the world was tremendous. But herself being a schoolteacher and a family woman she knew her limitations. She started in a small way, building institutions block by block. Today she is a household name in Sayyed Nagar in the outskirts of Pune. She has already set up half a dozen educational and skill imparting centers and does not feel tired of pursuing her objective of taking the light of education to the lowliest of the low.
Ms. Ashrafi Mulla is a simple woman. Her plain looks hide much for her passion to change the society. She talks without frills¸ often disarming her subjects with practical logic. Ideology and rhetoric are unknown to her. She even does not employ the look-good techniques. And perhaps this aspect of Ms. Mulla that goes straight to the heart.
Mrs. Mulla has come a long way since she opted for ‘act locally’ concept. She did not look far enough to identify problem areas. She knew the illiteracy and ill-health existed in Muslim pockets of her own city, Pune. She selected Sayyed Nagar, a settlement of mainly Muslim labourers, petty businessmen and menial workers. Lack of education, ignorance of Islam, absence of a vision of life had all combined to make the life hellish for the people of the teeming slums. These pained her. But she was spurred into action when her mother died. She wanted to do something in her memory. That is how she organized a crafts workshop in 1985 and trained the women in tailoring, papad and soap making.
But then she felt the problem needs to be tackled at much lower level and the new generation must make a new beginning by going to schools. Her good work was soon recognized and a kind soul from the village donated 3000 sq. feet of land for her Muslim Samaj Prabodhan Sanstha. A primary school came up in 1990. Since then Mrs. Mulla has not looked back. Earlier this year all the 11 girls from her Rehmani Foundation Urdu High School who appeared for the SSC Board, passed the examination. The high school is the third in chain to be set up by her after Rehmani Pre-Primary School and Shamsuddin Inamdar Primary School. Altogether 450 students are being taught in the school. Besides Rehmani Foundation, Mumbai, several organizations such as Muslim Cooperative Bank, Pune and Rotary Club etc chipped in to help her build a 5400 sq. feet complex. But this has become inadequate for the work which is expanding in all directions.
Mrs. Mulla says the changes are now visible in Sayyed Nagar. “When we started 14-year-old boys were coming for admission in primary schools. Now the kids head for the school at the age of four. In 90s a parent took out his kids complaining too stringent discipline in the school. Now he has three kids here. The children study the whole of Qur’an by the time they appear for the 10th Board examination. Malnutrition and unhygienic conditions were the major reasons for ill-health. But now these are things of the past.
In August this year, the Sanstha began work on another complex which would house its orphanage Darul Banat (literally ‘House of Daughters’), some two kms from the present venue. Mulla plans to have a marriage fund for the inmates a junior college and a polytechnic. Looking at her, however, no one would gauge the energy that keeps propelling her forward. Only thing that she knows is to change. And it comes sheer by action. Address: Muslim Samaj Prabodhan Sanstha, 74, Sayyed Nagar, Hadapsar, Pune-411028, Phone: 020-6810518, Res.(Ms. Ashrafi Mulla) 6831785.
His mother died for want of blood in his childhood. This made Dawood Iqbal take a vow never to allow a person to die for want of blood. Six years ago, he established a blood donation network, i.e., Al-Muqeet Blood Donors Centre. His work involved visiting hospitals and inquiring about blood needs and appealing for specific group in his mohalla and after the Friday congregations. Today Al-Muqueet is a well-known name in the Bangalore hospitals. With every distress class received, he checks out list of blood donors for the relevant blood group, rushes to hospitals and organizes the required quantity by bringing the patient and the donor together.
Al-Muqueeth functions from a home-office located opposite Jamia Masjid of Jougpalyam in Ulsoor locality of Bangalore. Their style of functioning makes them unique as they frequently take the assistance of the mosques in expanding their donors list. “Announcements made during congregations have yielded good results to meet our requirement.
The ban on the professional blood donations enhanced the importance of the Al-Muqueeth Blood Donors network. Particularly the blood of the rare groups was in great demand. The Al-Muqueet worked both ways by bringing the donor and the needy directly in contact and also through assistance of blood banks. But free in either case. Mr. Anees of Minerva blood bank offered them help and expertise in this regard. It has so far organized 400 units of blood regardless of the faith, caste or creed of the recipients. In one such instance, C. Nuranjan Haldhar of Dhaka lying in Bangalore’s Manipal Hospital was saved in the nick of the moment by supplying blood. Another patient Mohseena needed a rare B-ve group blood due to a caesarian delivery. “She was saved from a life-threatening situation by the grace of God”, says Dawood Iqbal.
Mr. A. R. Zakir, president of the Medical & Welfare Trust under which the Al-Muqueeth is functioning, says the Trust now plans to have a permanent office in the city center.
Its members also organise blood donation awareness camps in Bangalore to create awareness on blood donations. Address: Al Muqueet Blood Donors Centre, Dawood Iqbal Ahmed, No 5, G. No. 2nd Street, Jougpalyam, Ulsoor, Bangalore- 560 008.