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Bappu Haji – An Octogenarian Who Lives Only to Serve Others

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Haji dropped out of school after Class 4, but this never stopped him from helping others pursue their dreams. His charity work is beyond caste, creed and religion.


By Shafeeq Hudawi

For Bappu Haji, charity has never been an option, it is more a way of live. Nearly 40 years ago, Haji built a school for underprivileged children in Adakkakkundu, a remote hilly hamlet in Malappuram district in Kerala, and today the school is home to 3,000 children who would have otherwise found it difficult to attain formal education. Speaking of the school, Haji says Crescent Higher Secondary School has now become a part of his family. “These are my children. I hardly feel that I am left without children when I engage with these kids, as it gives me immense pleasure,” he says.
But Haji did not stop at this. For the past decade or so, he and his association, Coordination of Islamic Colleges (CIC), have been working towards realising Haji’s long cherished dream. The area, flanked by greenery, is now turning into an educational hub and the air is filled with the noise of labourers and equipments working day and night to complete a multi-storey building, the future site of a Rs.40 crore educational project. Under the project, the headquarters and the PG campus will be built at Adakkakundu.
At the site, Haji, now 80, spends three hours a day inspecting the work being done. Haji dropped out of school after Class 4, but this never stopped him from helping others pursue their dreams. Haji’s charity work is beyond caste, creed and religion. He has become a role model for others by resolving to generously allocate a major portion of land to build decent accommodation for 12 tribal families, who find it extremely hard to build one on their own.
Driven by the philosophy that peace of mind comes by helping the deprived, Bappu Haji has built a geriatric care centre on three acres of land. Named Hima, the centre boasts of ten houses, each with one hall, bedroom and kitchen.
“Some of the inmates are talkative, while others are least interested in group activities. Unlike the typical geriatric care centres, the inmates are free to select the companions and houses of their choice,” says Faisal Wafy, a teacher of Adakkakkundu Crescent Higher Secondary School, who assists Bappu Haji.
The idea to build the centre gained momentum during his visit to Wayanad. At the prime tourist destination in northern Kerala, Haji saw some hapless geriatrics. “That was an eye opening event. That day, I felt that I would be more at peace if I could help the geriatrics, thrown out by their kith and kin, and provide them with a homely atmosphere,” he reminisces. For Haji, helping others is the only way of life.
(Extracted from