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Aligarh surgeon Mohsin Raza ensures slum kids learn to read and write

Eight years ago, a poor girl living in a slum in Aligarh, Uttar Pradesh, asked a kind-hearted and friendly surgeon to show her what a school looked like.

This doctor was the well-known philanthropist Dr Mohsin Raza, a resident of Civil Lines, Aligarh. Recalling that day August 12, 2016, Dr Raza says, “I was alighting from my car when this girl, Naheed who was barely three years old, held my hand and said that she wanted to see a school. I called up my daughter, Sumbul in Lucknow to narrate this meeting with the child.”

She told him to start teaching slum children. “I bought blackboards, chairs, and tables and began imparting education to 12 children in the center that I set up in my house the very next day. Now, this center is being run adjacent to my house. Gradually, I got 140 children. Then, we set up the second center in a slum on the Kawarsi bypass road.’’

He set up Umeed, a voluntary organization that imparts education to 1,500 children including ragpickers. Umeed runs 22 centers in the thickly populated slums of Aligarh. While some are being run from rented premises, others are in the premises spared by individuals who want to contribute to the mission.

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