Their small acts of generosity and assisting the poor population in overcoming their financial hurdles in education and healthcare lead them to establish an umbrella organization to facilitate their charity works on a large scale. Thus, came into existence BENFA-BengaluruFriends Alliance.
Talking about the organization Dr. Saleem Mehkri, Vice President and Trustee, said, `We were already into helping poor Muslim population with their education and health issues. Then, it was planned by Dr. Suhel Pasha to establish a charitable organization to primarily address a large number of poor Muslims and deserving non-Muslims too.”
Dr.Suhel Pasha, President, BENFA, further informed,“Twenty percent of the city’s population lives in slums with the lowest education, inefficient healthcare, lack of necessities and most importantly low standard of living. Even today, one-third of the slum dwellers fall below the poverty line with an income of less than Rs 2500. So, to help these poor populations, BENFA was established in October 2020.”
BENFA is a registered charitable trust focusing on education, healthcare, and socio-economic empowerment of underprivileged parts of society. How BENFA assists in empowering the underprivileged? Answered Abdul Mateen, General Secretary, BENFA “ We have recently launched a microcredit scheme to provide loans to deserving women and men to start their small trades. The loans we give are free of interest. So, they have to return only the principal loan amount without any additional interest.”
Dr. Saleem informed, “We have launched schemes to empower poor men and women financially and aim to empower them through adult education schemes. We provide education and training to unemployed youngsters/adults as per their skills and help them get government or private jobs. We have helped students to pay their fees and paid hospital bills too.”
According to Dr. Saleem, around five people are benefitted every week through their microcredit scheme. So, how does the organization arrange its finance? Replied Dr. Saleem, “ We have around 500 members, including 400 male members and 100 female members, who voluntarily contribute and help run the organization successfully. Nobody is forced to contribute.”
BENFA has several groups focusing on different areas, namely-BEEP for education, BHCP for healthcare, BSSP for socio-economic support, BMCS for microcredit schemes, and BALP for adult learning programs.
Besides these programmes, BENFA actively distributes rations during Eid-Ul-Fitr, performs Qurbani/sacrifices during Eid-Al-Adha, and distributes meat amongst low-income families.
That is not all; BENFA is slowly and steadily adding more to its activities for the betterment of society. Lately, in collaboration with the field experts, BENFA has organized several webinars related to health and education topics, pointed out by Dr. Suhel. “ We also organize webinars to educate people on several issues that focus on health, education, etc. We also organize career counseling for youth. We invite experts to address the relevant topics.”
Lastly, Dr. Saleem urged people to join the organization as members so that help can be extended to many underprivileged people.[BENFA- 48, Shampura Main Road, R.T. Nagar, MM Layout, Ghandi Nagar, Kadugondanahalli, Bengaluru, Karataka 560032, cell: +91 961 183 4443, Email: [email protected], https://benfa.org/]