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Saturday, 7 November 2015

A Visit to The Samaritan Help Mission (

A very important person sent me this message today morning -

" Just remember, there is someone out there that is more than happy with less than what you have."

My son's away in Mumbai to visit his father for Diwali holidays. While that is a happy visit, I knew I would miss him badly. But I did not want a lack-lustre Diwali and so, I decided to go visit a few friends of mine at the Samaritan Help Mission, Tikiapara, Howrah, and do something which would add meaning to my life.

I am a very bad photographer and none of my photographer friends were available on that day. So I decided to do whatever I can for this post which is going to be in pictures.

I entered....

I met my happy lot of friends, divided them into Groups A, B, C and D and then handed them an old cardboard corn-flakes box, some oldnewspapers, ribbon, coloured papers, sello-tape, glue, chart-paper and a string of multi-coloured LED lights ...............

Group A set to work, rolling the newspapers neatly with the help of pencils. They made 40 of these tubes in no time!

Group B got the corn-flakes box and wrapped it neatly with coloured papers....

Group C was helped by their Art Teacher, Shri Mohan Gupta, in making a cone out of the white chart paper....

While Group D had a ball of a time, making "laddoos" out of newspaper scraps!

And while the seniors worked, we also played Chinese Whispers....

Then we carefully fixed the cone on top of the corn-flakes box with sello-tape...

And we wrapped the LED string of lights around the cone and secured it with more sello-tape...

Groups A and D joined hands in a great display of leadership and responsibility and glued together all these newspaper tubes. I was amazed with their precision, neatness and above all, a sense of great team-work!!

And then......

And Finally!!!!!!!

Oh, we did it !!!!! :-) :-)

How can I not think of preserving this memory by being in the frame with the Champions!!!

And then I met the Champion who is behind all the little Champions .... Mr. Mamoon Akhtar. 

The Rebecca Belilious English Institution is 100 years old. It died during the beginning of this century and the entire building became a place full of over-growth that came to be haunted by criminals, drug dealers, escaped convicts, under-world and all kinds of dealers belonging to the Dark World. Mamoon got the children of his entire locality together and submitted a memorandum to the authorities on 14th Nov, 2014. The authorities were moved by the appeal and drove out all the miscreants from the building, cleaned it up and then began a journey that is only to be reckoned with reverence and will be recorded in letters of gold in history...

Mamoon told me with a big smile on his face, pointing to the sky, " Madam, please have absolute  trust on that one person who lives up there. Everything is possible. Life is short and full of uncertainties. So no time is to be wasted in living for the happiness of others." 
He also told me, "It is easy to love people who love you back. But Madam, it is really difficult to love people who hate you. I do that and this is my driving force."

Mamoon could not study beyond the 12th standard as his father could not afford his school fees. But what he instead resolved after completing his 12th standard is that, he will not let any child in his locality remain uneducated. He began giving tuitions and with that money, he started to give free lessons to children in his locality. "I started off with 3 children in that dilapidated and deserted building Madam, where they would sit on the floor on plastic sheets and take lessons in English from me," he told me, pointing towards a small concrete structure across the other side, outside the school premises.

Mamoon then bought 2 sewing machines and installed them in that same dilapidated building and set up a sewing centre for the young girls in his area to save them from becoming domestic helps. Today, there are some 200 odd women in the locality who sew shirts and trousers on contract with garment manufacturers and earn Rs. 600 per week along with a monthly ration of rice, dal, cooking fuel and edible oil.

It is difficult for me to put it all together in one blog or even ten such blogs as to what this man has achieved. As I left the place, I was speechless with the overwhelming reality I saw in front of my eyes and I remembered what Mamoon told me as he walked me out to the gates - "I have now handed down this revolution I started, to the kids of my locality. They are going to take this ahead, Madam, my role is just behind the scenes now. I want every child to be educated in my area and I want to give the girls wings so that they can fly!" 
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