Pune’s youth balance high-profile careers still reach out to the underprivileged

​Starting with serving saheri to poor patients at hospitals, the young professionals have taken up social causes as their obligation​

By A Mirsab, TwoCircles.net,

Pune: Relatives of the patients admitted to the city’s Sasoon General Hospital, KEM Hospital and Navle Hospital were in for a surprise last Ramazan. A bunch of youth brought saheri at dawn for the whole month. A total of 286 saheris were provided at these hospitals.

Once this providing saheri food to patients’ families in hospitals during the Holy month of Ramzan with the intention of helping them was successfully executed, the youth gave a thought, why not give it a formal shape?

Students appearing fro drawing competition
Students appearing for drawing competition

Thus began a search for more likeminded individuals or groups who can come forward with the same thought and motive as this group already had. Fortunately, they did get more such hands and minds ready to work shoulder to shoulder.

“Some are ready with time and efforts, others are ready to part with ideas, consultations and yet others offered monetary help,” Asim Khan said while talking about their journey in forming a formal NGO.

‘Unique Foundation’ is a non -political and non-sectarian organisation, which endeavors to promote social welfare, community spirit and knowledge in the society. It is looked after by such enthusiastic youths belonging to different professions such as doctors, IT professionals, BPO, government servants, professors, teachers and engineers.

Unique Foundation team with the winners of Essay Competition
Unique Foundation team with the winners of Essay Competition

Khan, 45, is the president of this foundation and looks after overall activities. He has done BCA and works as the head of Operations in one of the IT Companies in the city. And he is not alone from Pune, an IT metropolis, where youngsters are always focused in developing their career. This group of young educated professionals from various fields are those who have dedicated some of the vital time of their youth for social causes.

Buoyed with the inner satisfaction after helping patients’ families, the group registered formally on August 15, 2014 and drew its activity plans that involved educational events, monthly ration distribution programme, blanket distribution in winter and general awareness programmes.

Later, on the occasion of Teachers Day in 2014, the Foundation successfully held an ‘Essay Competition’ along with a work shop on ‘How Parenting Matters’ for parents and students. The workshop by Parenting Congress witnessed overwhelming response from the students, parents, teachers and community in general. The following month, it also conducted drawing competitions and distributed prizes and certificates.

Aasim Khan distributing certificate to one of a winner
Work Shop held at Rafi Ahmed Kidwai High School for student

“We got a huge response for these events, in which more than 400 students from class 8th to 10th participated. Winners were awarded with mementos and certificate. In order to encourage schools to participate in this event, we also awarded schools with maximum entries. The idea behind organizing this event is to encourage student in writing and expressing the ideas in today’s world of WhatsApp and Face Book,” Khan said.

With the motive of providing Food (ration) for those needy people, who do not have any source of income nor get any help from any quarters of the society, the Foundation started ‘Food For All’ programme and after thorough verification, identified some 13 families and adopted them.

Rafique Tamboli, the working president of the Foundation, who is Bachelor of Science along with DCA and is also editor in chief of a Marathi weekly, said, “We are providing monthly ration to these families and wish to increase this number in coming future. This all has been done without any sponsorship or donation. It is being done with contribution only from our founder members.”

Work Shop held at Rafi Ahmed Kidwai High School for student
Aasim Khan distributing certificate to one of a winner

As the season changed in November and the city experienced considerable winter, the group then decided and conducted a drive to distribute warm clothes and/or blankets to help the needy.

This New Year (2015) began with main focus on educational programs for the Foundation. Speaking on the educational programs, Tamboli said, “Then we changed our focus towards education eyeing the board’s examination in February and March and conducted a workshop on ‘How to appear for 10th and 12th standard exams confidently’ where we had called in experts to guide the students.”

This programme was held at Shaheed Abdul Hamid High School, Yerwada in which experts gave their advice to students and also provided information of various fields available after SSC and HSC. A similar workshop was held for students of class 9th and 11th at Rafi Ahmed Kidwai High School.

Interactive session with the audience
Interactive session with the audience

“We had a brainstorming session on educational status in Muslims and then we conducted SSC & HSC guidance programme from which results or conclusions were that due to lack of education in parents, they are not able to guide the students. Another reason was the poor/economic conditions which makes the life worse for them,” Khan explained. “Also, parents, specifically fathers, are not at all or have very less interest in the studies of their child. They don’t attend the parents meet as well as don’t bother about students’ results, which makes the students look more towards their mother.”

Khan said their interaction with children and parents have made him realize that due to lack of supervision by fathers, boys are getting involved in petty things such as helping in elections for earning easy money.

“The reason such as family problems, parents not eager to educate children, they want them to earn and support them … thus the young boys are falling behind in education,” Tamboli said, mentioning that they would conduct awareness programmes in the society with regards to education, right to education and career guidance.

After the Foundation conducted these programmes at schools, they found that there is a need of creating awareness at three layers of the society. “Parents, about importance of education, Students and elite class of the society who are pious in donating their jakat (compulsory Islamic tax), Sadakat (willful charity) or atiyat (gift) to various religious institutions,” said Tamboli.

Career Guidance poster published by Unique Foundation
Career Guidance poster published by Unique Foundation

The Foundation’s relentless work does not stop here. The group also provides assistance to other NGOs such as Bharat Mukti Morcha headed by Anjum Inamdar in other activities. The group handed over 10 points memorandum to the recently appointed state chairman of Minority Commission Mohmmed Hussain, in which it urged the government to speed up the trial and release innocent youths implicated by police in various cases.

Foundation’s future plans include more interactive awareness programmes in addition to career guidance, medical camps and sports activities.

“As there is very little awareness about education in our society, we have planned an ambitious project about creating awareness in this regard. We are planning a mega event on March 21 and would like to have active participation from all the educated class of our society,” said Khan.


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