Aaghaz Foundation, a non-profit literacy initiative has stepped forward to take complete responsibility for the educational needs of lynch-victim Aftab Alam’s two young sons. The organisation approached the school management, who then agreed to waive of the students’ fees on humanitarian grounds. Aaghaz Foundation also provided them with two Samsung Tablets to facilitate their online learning.
Speaking to The Cognate, Saima Rehman, Delhi Representative of Aaghaz Foundation, who personally visited the family said, “The children are in a state of trauma, they have lost their father. However, they were happy about my visit from Aaghaz because their father had only one dream for them- he wanted them to study. They are happy that the community is helping them fulfil his dream.”
“We thank the contributors who made this possible today. We cannot, unfortunately, bring Aftab back nor can we take the pain of the family away but we made sure Aftab’s dream for his children come true by this small gesture,” Aaghaz Foundation said in a statement.
“Aaghaz will cover all their educational expenses and coaching fees,” Saima said. She interacts with the family on a daily basis, she is also in contact with the students’ coaching teachers, their school teachers and principal. All of whom observe the students to be dedicated and self-driven in their studies.
Earlier this month, Aftab Alam, a 42-year-old cab driver was brutally murdered by a group of drunk men who forced him to chant Jai Shri Ram. Sabir, his 20-year-old son, called it a case of “mob lynching”. Alam had a wife, three sons, ailing parents and two siblings, all of whom depended on him and Sabir, his oldest son, financially.
Alam’s younger sons, Mohammad Shahid, 19, and Mohammad Shajid, 17, along with Sabir, are bright students who had secured good marks in their board examinations. Sabir is a third-year B.Com student in the School of Open Learning, University of Delhi. Shahid and Shajid study at Ahlcon Public School in Mayur Vihar, and they scored 76% and 92% marks respectively in their Class 10 board examinations.
Shahid is preparing for his NEET exams and Shajid for JEE exams. “Even during this health crisis, my father had managed to pay our fees with his minimal earnings,” said Shahid.
Pointing to the kitchen in his house, he said, “At this time, we are short of ration at home but look at my bookshelf. My father, despite not having enough money to manage food for the house, bought me books and notebooks worth Rs 1,800.”
Aaghaz Foundation is a non-profit organisation that has impacted the lives of thousands of underprivileged school children in India, it was founded in 2004 by journalist Mazhar Farooqui and his friends in Lucknow with just Rs 2000 and one needy student. They are committed to rooting out illiteracy and plugging school dropouts. Their role extends beyond raising funds and paying fees of underprivileged. Additionally, they counsel, mentor and keep an open line of communication with schools and parents. Aaghaz has joined hands with a vast number of volunteers who work tirelessly to improve lives through education. It is based in Lucknow and is registered under the Societies Registration Act of 1860.