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Young Azmi’s noble initiative

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New Delhi: It was cold January 2006 in Delhi when the 28-year-old Shams Alam decided to do  something for society. Being an MNC employee, Azamgarh-native and Delhi-based Alam had little time for  social work. He and a friend thought about taking an initiative and “Pahel” was the result.  

They formed the NGO in no time and started devoting their weekends to bring dropouts back to schools. After some time Shams left his job at the MNC and opened a travel agency, started giving all his time after business to the NGO. “The NGO is not working on any government projects because “we are unable to pay 20-30% as commission to officers in advance,” said Alam whose area of social activity now stretches from Delhi to his hometown Azamgarh which his family had left more than 20 years ago.

“We are focusing on government schools where dropout rate is higher as teachers there pay little attention to the requirements of students. Besides, government is unable to provide books to students in time and teaching aids to teachers. When students stop going to school, teachers do little to bring them back as they do not see any commercial benefit,” said Alam.

“We have adopted a Municipal Corporation of Delhi school in Jamia Nagar area in New Delhi. That school runs in four shifts: morning, evening, Hindi medium and Urdu medium. So far we have been able to catch 40 dropouts and bring them back to the school,” said Alam.

Expanding his work area, he has also held some career counseling camps in Azamgarh. But after the stigma of terror, the districts’s Muslim residents are frightened about further education of their wards. “We held a career counseling camp four months ago in Azamgarh city. The problem there is that there is no scope for higher education in the town as there are not many colleges.

Alam himself is unable to understand why his Azamgarh was termed as Atankgarh. “There is no separatist movement in Azamgarh, there has not been any riot in the district and there was no such activity which could promote terrorism. The whole drama is a politically motivated conspiracy to malign the town and to demoralize the Muslims who were progressing both in economy and education.” (Mumtaz Alam Falahi - TCN)

This article appeared in The Milli Gazette print issue of 16-31 March 2010 on page no. 1

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