MESSAGE OF THE JOINT SECRETARY
THE HUMBLE BEGINNING OF UMEED
(Show them a school), as a Garage School at Dr Mohsin’s residence.
“Fundamentally, this was a dream of Dr.Mohsin Raza which became a reality by coincidence.”In a swanky Sir Syed Nagar area in Aligarh,what was once intended to be a parking space is now a full-fledged learning, teaching and caring centre.The garage was transformed into its existing learning and teaching form from August 12th, 2016.
It all began when a little girl Naheed,eager to learn and change her destiny was denied admission in a skill development school just because she was not fortunate enough to read or write.Dr.Mohsin Raza felt a deep urge to help these kids,and hence this teaching facility was born in his garage.
BIRTH OF A TEACHING CENTER
Right away,his empty garage was transformed into a learning center. Fortunately for Dr.Raza,he found himself a great support structure in his circle of friends.In fact,on the first day of school,there were over a dozen young and eager small kid learners,joyfully clearing up the garage to set it up as a learning room.Most of them came from homes of domestic servants,rag pickers,labors or daily wage earners.
The flexible working schedule gives him more time for the organization.That was August 12th,2016 and from there on,as the cliché’ goes,there was no looking back.Dr. Raza turned this small space into an oasis of learning.
The school is an extension of his family.“My aim now is to create more such education centers for these kids who may not see a school in life time.Now we have more than 900 children studying in Umeed centers.”
From the floor to the school desks was a slow and steady progress.A friend gave him a plank of wood which was balanced on a cement block.Soon after,he received a teaching board,given to him by his friend,followed by the desks and chair given by sponsors.
Five Finger Formula – The Traditional Approach to Education
“Holding my outstretched palm, I tell my small kids about the five finger formula that defines my schooling philosophy.In Urdu it stands for: taur (training),tareeqa(approach),tarbiyat(grooming),taleem(education), and taraqqi(progress).I will give you the first four and the progress will then come automatically to you.”He says
“I feel education is the most basic tool for poverty alleviation. Its absence adversely effects individual’s economic progress and consequently that of the country. All that the under privileged child needs is an opportunity and through UMEED.The teachers, volunteers and members of board together strive to provide holistic and practical education to students and individuals, which will stand them in good stead in the future.They instill the belief in students that everything is possible and readies them to meet life’s challenges.A little encouragement –an under privileged child will do wonders in any field! This child is our future and we need help – any kind of help,to bring this child the opportunity to do his bit as a responsible,productive citizen of the Nation.”
FOUR YEARS AND COUNTING
Just a few weeks after the 1st center started, the garage was spilling over with children.First they extended the classroom to the Lawn but within weeks that too seemed like a temporary solution.At that time it was realized that the time had come to open another branch of UMEED.Secreatary Dr saquib discovered a juggi complex at Kwarsi byepass,The 2nd center was opened on Sir Syed day by Dr Feeroz Talat.Later Mr Saad Hameed took over Fikr sapno ki,a facility at Firdaus Nagar,at a 500 sq. yard vacant land under Mr Tabarak Hussain.Thanks to him for allowing us to use the land free of cost and allowing us to erect temporary stuctures.The fikr sapno ki was was started by some AMU students of Ambedkar Hall.Over 200 kids are drawn from the several large hut complexes around the center.
Umeed was started to create awareness of education in our society.To achieve this,UMEED adopts an inter-faith approach where students from all backgrounds study together,moving forward together,as a community.Students are provided free education, funded through sponsorship programs and donations from friends and members of UMEED.
Due to the increasing number of students,UMEED centers operate in multiple shifts.Evening shift concentrates on the education of rag pickers,adult literacy,empowering women through financial and academic education,and vocational training programs like tailoring and making home decorating articles.
An increasing number of members are joining and hopefully UMEED will be catering to the increasing number of students through our expanding network of friends and donors,together moving towards the enlightenment of society.“The growth has been organic,as termed by Sumbul Raza Khan,a founder member!”
Our Principles and Objectives
The Umeed Centers are home for the students,where they celebrate their birthdays and festivals,are taken to Church on Christmas to witness and get acquainted with popular events.They get annual medical,eye,dental check ups and vaccinations.Here they get free education books and stationery,and warm jackets in winters by worldofaligs,.Dr Raza says “a healthy child will have a healthy mind”.
Children are taught tolerance,mutual respect and to honor all religions.In addition,UMEED imparts to students and their parents social counseling by team led by Mr Saad Hameed,Vice President of UMEED and a high profile counselor.This should help build confidence among the kids so that they are able to take on the worldly challenges.
They should realize the objectives, which they are aiming to achieve.All this would not happen if the education is not complete without grooming and finally turning them into good, productive human beings.”This is the vision of UMEED team.
All the affairs of centers,teachers and discipline are strictly managed by Prof Anwar Masood,an Ex Secretary of Coaching Center at Sultan Jahan.
“My basic aim is not just to give them education but to make sure they stand on their feet.”says Dr. Raza,the founder and driving force of (UMEED);a foundation that believes in a comprehensive & integrated approach to education.“We want to groom our students into becoming successful;more importantly to become good human beings.”
“I am not looking at the first or second generations but I’m focusing on the third generation which will finally take on the responsibility of our society” he says.
UMEED believes in social responsibility.
The UMEED CENTERS & the well-wishers take care of the expense of few families of students.Most of the teachers come from the same background as the students.The UMEED teachers and Mahfujurrehman,sponsored by worldofaligs group give away rations to familes during Ramzan and during flooding of huts due to heavy rain.Ration is also given to them during lockdowns.
A well-rounded approach to education has been adopted that entails not only teaching the students the alphabet but also discipline and culture.Values that instill in the children:honesty,hard work,health and hygiene as equaling to a human being.“Our aim is to provide equal opportunity through education,direction and guidance to attain financial independence beyond gender differences.”
GREATER SUSTAINABILITY OF OUR CENTER – Endless dreams
Still operating out of his garage,Dr. Raza dreams of a permanent building that UMEED can call its own,with ample ground where a sports centre and a gymnasium that these children can use,which will keep them off the streets and prevent bad habits.He wants to build a family oriented school where the needs of the families will be fully catered.He wants a polytechnic institute and a hostel taking them in ‘from birth to death’.
His dreams however don’t end here.He thinks it would be great to have easy access to public libraries in and around the area where people can read books or even a free newspaper over a cup of tea so that people can get to know what’s happening in the world.
“If we give these children the best of everything,they will know what to strive for,they will want to achieve all that.We take them as our own children and aim to give them the best of everything,whether it is a vibrant environment to study or quality education.”
“I may not be alive to see the fruits of the seeds that I’ve sowed.But I am sure that all my young buds will bloom into beautiful flowers one day.”Says Dr Raza
Founder & Moderator-worldofaligs group