According to Ahmed Ali, a Rickshaw Puller, a school is even more important for girls as "boys get a chance to go out and get an education, but girls do not. Ahmed after realizing that the proper education is a distant dream for his soon-to-be-born child, he decided not to let the coming generation suffer in privation and penury. Ever since he envisioned the need for education, this rickshaw-puller from Karimganj district Assam has built nine schools. He said that he feels it was the wish and blessings of Allah and locals that he could achieve whatever he wanted. He added that he could not attend school due to poverty and people of his village were poor. It pained him to watch the children who were not able to attend schools because of the same reason. He doesn't want to see dropouts from poor families anymore.
Hailing from a village which is 300 km away from Guwahati, Ahmed often ferried children to and from their schools for his livelihood. He has even found a mention in Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "Mann ki Baat" programme. He established his first school in his village, Madhurband, in 1978. He sold a portion of his land for establishing the first school and donated another portion on which the building now stands. The funds for the schools were also arranged by him from his savings, daily earnings, and some from the charity. For making sure the fund flow, he used to pull his rickshaw in the morning and cut wood at night.
In all, Ahmed has opened three lower primary schools, five middle schools, and one high school in Madhurband and nearby villages. He added that the school was even more important for girls as boys get the opportunity to go out and get an education, but girls do not.
The high school has 228 students today which he had started in 1990. He said that he could only manage to make arrangements for children until Class Xth. They don't have space to study Class XIth and XIIth. He needs both the government's approval and funds for setting up the higher-secondary school. While hundreds of children take the class 10th exam every year, they don't have the scope for higher education. There is also no nearby college. The nearest college is also 15 km away from their village. He also wants to build a college for students, but that will come at a later stage. Firstly, they need a junior college.
By: Preeti Narula