A Way of Life for Tazaiyun Oomer – Spreading Smiles!
Being a literature student, Tazaiyun Oomer could have woven yarns of prose and poetry if she wished to, but she chose instead to work at the grassroots, through ‘Humane Touch Trust’, which has been a means to bring hope in the lives of many!
Meeting Tazaiyun Omer was like meeting a good old friend after many years! Bumping into her at the 7th South India NGOs Conference in Bangalore recently, I was very happy to know that the organisers of the conference had conferred her with the Social Hero Award 2018, something that she truly deserves!
Among the many things that make 57 year-young Tazaiyun stand out as a unique woman of substance and a wonderful human being is her sparkling positivity in the face of life’s many challenges. Tazaiyun’s journey serves as an example to all of us, telling us that our life is not meant to be led just for ourselves. Rather, life is gifted by God to bring a smile to others. Tazaiyun has been doing that for years, even when she was a student, decades ago, in school. She with her friends often spent their time usefully in a special school for spastic kids, and later, in college, where she completed her graduation in English literature. Tazaiyun would visit orphanages and bring joy to the children there.
Tazaiyun’s father, the late Haji Oomer Sait, introduced her to the values of serving people in need, hard work, honesty, and selflessness. Later on, in 1999, she set up Humane Touch Trust—a group of women with an urge to make a difference in the lives of people in need. Today, the Trust’s vibrant team includes Mrs Zaiba Abdulla (President), Mrs Nazia Masood, (Vice President), Mrs Naila Ibrahim (Joint Secretary), Mrs Mehreen Ali (Treasurer), besides Tazaiyun herself (General Secretary). Trustees and volunteers include Mrs Farukh Kaiser, Mrs Asma Ishak, Dr Aliya Nazneen, Mrs Asma Nadeem, Dr Shaheen Yusuf and Mrs Ayesha Masood.
A meeting with a lady who was giving calipers to children affected with polio, struck a chord in Tazaiyun’s heart, and the Trust began reaching out to people faced with physical challenges, especially children affected with polio. Humane Touch sponsored calipers and organised surgeries when needed.
Tazaiyun and her team surveyed Goripalya, a large slum in Bangalore, where they discovered not just dozens of kids struck with polio because they were not vaccinated at the right time but also immense poverty, illiteracy, pathetic sanitary conditions, rickety roads, along with rampant TB cases. That’s how Humane Touch began working in the area of education in Goripalya, with the setting up of Al-Azhar Foundation School, which today has over 400 students studying from Nursery to Class 10. Students are provided quality education in healthy environment, at a nominal fee. Students who cannot afford this fee are provided with scholarships to prevent school drop-outs.
Understanding the value of education, Humane Touch provides scholarships for higher education, especially girls, through the Alim Educational Trust. It also launched vocational training for girls and medical aid, apart from food grain distribution in Ramadan. “Empowering women through making them economically stronger has also been Humane Touch’s forte. So we facilitate the work of the Lifeline Foundation Trust which aids women entrepreneurs with support through interest-free micro finance since 2007. This scheme has benefited over 300 women from areas like Goripalya and Mominpura since 2007,” says Tazaiyun.
Arranging for mass marriages is another activity of Humane Touch, and this helps ease the economic burden of many parents living under the poverty line. The trousseau for the bride is provided by Humane Touch, and the nikah is conducted in a mosque. Till date, some 1300 couples have been part of this mass marriage programme.
For Tazaiyun, the Humane Touch Trust and the work is something so close to her heart that I don’t think she can imagine a day passing off without her bringing a smile to someone in need! Besides the work of the Trust, Tazaiyun volunteers for Pray Foundation, that provides medical aid to the needy, and shares her wisdom and compassion as Office Bearer at Bangalore’s Muslim Orphanage.
Meeting Tazaiyun and learning more about her was a great experience. It was a cloudy day when we met for a detailed conversation, but after listening to her speak about her journey and issues like the purpose of life, I am reminded of the proverbial silver lining in every cloud!
(Humane Touch can be reached at [email protected] Ph: 9845027337)