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Meet the school dropout and former rickshaw-puller who now runs two schools and an orphanage

Think Change India
25th Jul 2018
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At age seven, when Gazi Jalaluddin ranked first in his class, his excitement knew no bounds. A studious kid, he jumped around in joy and waited for his father to hear of his achievements. When he did, Gazi's father did not know how to react. While on the one hand he was very happy for and proud of his son, he was worried about how he could provide him a good education with his limited means. He was afraid he did not have enough resources to support his son's dreams. So he forced him to discontinue at Class II.

Source: Ketto

This was also when the family moved to Kolkata, where his father was looking for a job and a new source of income. Unfortunately, Gazi's father fell sick and then the family could not scrounge up enough money for even a day's meal. Succumbing to the circumstances, Gazi was forced to beg on the streets. The Ketto page on which he runs a crowdfunding campaign quotes him saying,

When I quit school, the one thing I realised was that there were many children like me who resort to begging when their families cannot afford their schooling. This is what drove me to do something.

At the age of 12, he started working as a rickshaw-puller in the markets of Kolkata. At 18, he learned to drive a car and started working as a taxi driver. To address the situation where many youths don't find employment or are being underpaid, Gazi started ‘Sundarban Driving Samiti’ to teach young boys driving and give them a means of employment.

Source: Ketto

To make sure other young children don't miss out on education like him, in 1988, he started his first school along with his wife, Tasleema. The school was two-room house that the couple had bought for themselves. By 2009, a lot of people came in support and he started his next school called 'Sunder Shikshayatan Mission'. The school was started with two teachers and 22 children and it today houses 486 children and 26 teachers.

At 64, he runs two schools and an orphanage and is now running a crowdfunding platform on Ketto to collect funds to impact more lives. He believes that nobody should be denied the right to education even if they are poor. The root cause of any crime and underdevelopment is illiteracy. In his schools, he also added the mid-day meal scheme, all self-funded to support more poor children.

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