Kerala cultural centre opens school in Kashmir

By Sanu George, IANS

Kozhikode (Kerala) : With teachers from Kerala, a Muslim cultural centre here has set up a school in Jammu and Kashmir’s Rajouri district where hundreds of needy children in the violence-hit region are provided education.

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The Sunni Cultural Centre (Markazus Saquafati Sunniyya) has been running the school in Rajouri district of Jammu for a year. It also sponsors some 500 school children in Kashmir Valley.

The school, which is recognised by the state government, is from classes 1 to 8 and follows the Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) syllabus. The teachers from Kerala teach Mathematics and English, said Abdul Hakkim, joint secretary of the organisation.

It all started when the then Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed invited the cultural centre to help impart education to needy children in the state, where thousands of kids have been left deeply scarred by the relentless separatist violence.

According to Hakkim, the school doesn’t focus just on violence-affected children but on the needy in general.

“We decided to take up this (educational venture) just to bring back to school those children who have been affected by various issues there,” Hakkim told IANS.

“The (Jammu and Kashmir) government has extended all support and we run the school in Rajouri with teachers from Kerala and other states in North India,” Hakim said.

The centre is planning to open an orphanage in the summer capital Srinagar by next year.

“We have also decided to increase the number of sponsorships in Kashmir Valley from the present 500 students,” said Hakkim, who frequently travels between Kerala and Kashmir.

Founded in 1978 by Kanthapuram Aboobacker Musliyar, the centre works for leadership qualities of Muslims in general. It has been trying to improve the quality of education among Muslims with the help of Arab and other Muslim countries.

Its centre in this city has more than 8,000 students, including 1,500 orphans, as well as students from Kashmir.

“There are more than 300 students here from various districts in Jammu and Kashmir and also from Haryana. The expenses for this centre are raised through donations from our well wishers all over the world,” said Hakkim.