Help Mamoon Akhtar in building a better school for poor children

I, Mamoon, am the founder of Samaritan Help Mission (SHM) and a resident of Tikiapara, an area in West Bengal famous for its large slums. These slums are where I grew up. The children of Tikiapara were born into doom and ruination- robbed not only of food, clothing, hygiene and basic education but also of sanity and innocence. Drug peddling, substance abuse and child prostitution were, and still are, rampant in the area. Violence on the streets would break out between Hindus and Muslims at a moment’s notice, and children were caught in the crossfire. These formed some of my most disturbing memories. Even today, I ask people- how can you differentiate between the blood of a Muslim and a Hindu? Do the tears of a Hindu taste saltier than that of a Muslim or vice versa? And they have no answer.

As a child I was surrounded by people who worshipped God but failed to get what they wanted because all they did was pray, without doing anything about their problem. I, as a result, had taken a liking to this phrase early on in my life: God helps those who help themselves. I took on the responsibility of funding my own education at the age of 12. Despite being affected by Polio, I worked in part time jobs and cleared the Class 12 examination.

I went through many challenges in the slums, some of which cannot even be spoken about or properly described in words. However, I managed to secure a job as a librarian in a local establishment. This is when a few children from the slums approached me to teach them some basic school subjects. I started to teach them in my free time and gradually, the number of children coming to me grew. We then occupied a 600 square feet room I had gotten built for the purpose. This was how SHM started, in the year 1999. Hope had begun to grow in my heart that I could make a difference in the lives of those I teach. And yet, reality saw me in the face. There were many more who needed help in more ways than one.

Feeling called to serve the land which was my cradle, I decided to expand the scale of my efforts. Finally, after some searching and struggling, a generous man named Rameshbhai read my story in a newspaper article and offered a sum of Rs 1 lakh to continue my work. From then on, we have only grown and today, SHM provides low-cost English medium education to about 4571 destitute children of the slum. I know that providing basic literacy and numeracy to children to help them secure jobs at a later stage is important but not enough. Education cannot be isolated from the everyday experience our students go through and hence we empower our students to be well-rounded, compassionate, morally vigilant citizens of the nation. They need to believe in themselves and be unafraid to break through any obstacles that come their way.

SHM is set to unite all its projects scattered across the lanes of Tikiapara under one roof. The proposed Rebecca Belilious English Institution (RBEI) will provide English-medium education to 3500 children along with recreational facilities. A dispensary for free medication and a Women’s vocational education centre is already up and functioning. All of this requires the reconstruction of a run-down estate which has been razed with assistance from the Howrah Police.

We at SHM are witnessing a gradual change in the mindset of the communities we work with. Parents are willing to send their children to school, but due of lack of availability of schools, they send their children to small factories, shops etc. to work while many others are left to engage in rag picking, leaving them vulnerable to all kinds of threats- biological, social, and psycho-emotional.

It is possible to change this scenario with your generous contributions. Our dream is achieving 100% literacy in Tikiapara and then replicating this initiative elsewhere. Our children are counting on your aid, big or small. Even sponsoring a single blackboard or chairs can make such an important difference. Please donate what you can and the reward you will receive is immense- heartfelt blessings from the thousands of lives you will touch!

So far the different projects of SHM have been scattered across the lanes of Tikiapara due to scarcity of space. The impact of these projects has not been to desired levels due to the scattered visibility. Bringing all of the projects under one roof is what the Rebecca Belilious English Institution (RBEI) aims to do thus increasing the impact multi folds.

RBEI will hold fort on the same grounds that was home to the glorious Belilious Trust Estate that consisted of a school, health centre and community pond. Over the years, the estate dilapidated, reducing the pond to a dumping ground and the school to a breeding spot for criminal activities. SHM along with the Howrah Police set up the People’s Right Movement and have taken on the mammoth task of saving this 150 years old institute. The team along with the community has cleaned the pond, reinstated the Belilious health centre and inaugurated the vocational training unit. The dilapidated school building has been razed and cleared to make way for RBEI.

RBEI as a complex that will accommodate –

  1. A school building catering to more than 3500 students
  2. A playground for football, cricket coaching and other sporting activities
  3. Rooms for evening study time
  4. A vocational training unit for women
  5. A free dispensary
Be a champion for Samaritan Help Mission
The work on the school building has begun and the required infrastructural support in order to accommodate 3000 new children is
Sl. No Material Unit Quantity Rate Cost
1 Benches & Desk 1 750 Pcs 4500 Rs.33,75,000
2 Desk for Class Teacher 1 30 Pcs 3500 Rs.1,05,000
3 Chairs for Class Teachers 1 30 Pcs 1000 Rs.30,000
4 Cupboards for classrooms 1 30 Pcs 6000 Rs.1,80,000
Total Expenditure Rs.36,90,000

*Scroll right to view table

Apart from this there is a recurring running cost –
Recurring Expenses Committed Resource Net Deficit
Rs.63,42,553 Rs.12,08,880 Rs.43,59,344

*Scroll right to view table

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Rs.36,90,000

Rs.20,151 raised of Rs.36,90,000

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  • For every donation you make, we will match it a 100% upto a maximum of Rs.25,00,000
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2018-02-16T05:12:10+00:00