A young boy is floating through the air during his walk home. He is ecstatic, and his excitement knows no bounds. 7-year-old Gazi Jalaluddin has ranked first in his class. All through his walk, he is excited about how proud his father is going to be. 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.
On the one hand, his face was showing the happiness that his son and the moment deserved. He was proud of his son, but on the other, he was fighting internally about how is he going to provide him with good education with his limited means.
You see, Gazi and his family spent most of their lives in penury. His father did not have enough resources to support his son’s education. So Gazi had no other choice but to discontinue after Class II.
This was also the time when the family moved to Kolkata in search of employment. Their battles didn’t end there; in the days to come, unfortunately, Gazi’s father fell sick, and the family could not scrounge up enough money for even a day’s meal. Succumbing to the circumstances, Gazi had to beg on the streets.
Fast forward to 30 years later. At the age of 64, Gazi runs two schools and an orphanage, and page on Ketto, a crowdfunding platform, to collect funds to impact more lives.
Gazi, on his Ketto page, says, “When I quit school, the one thing I realized was that many children like me resort to begging when their families cannot afford their schooling. This, is what drove me to do something.”
Gazi started off as a rickshaw-puller at the young age of 12, and by the age of 18, he was driving taxis all around the markets of Kolkata.
He realized the problem of unemployment amongst the youths, and to address the situation started ‘Sundarban Driving Samiti.’ An institute where young boys were taught driving and given a means of employment.
Gazi got married at this time. He and his wife, Tasleema, had a small two-room house for themselves. Gazi didn’t want other young children to face the same fate he had and miss out on education.
So in 1988, he started his first school along with his wife, Tasleema. It was in the same two-room room house which they had for themselves. He started garnering a lot of support and recognition for his work, and by 2009, he successfully started his next school called ‘Sunder Shikshayatan Mission.’ The school started; with two teachers and 22 children, and today it houses 486 children and 26 teachers.
He believes that poverty should not be the reason for the lack of education. He says that 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.