In a selfish and self-centered world, 29-year-old Malik Bhai is a great reminder that humanity still exists. This Kanpur-based tea-seller has been spending 80% of his income to educate more than 40 underprivileged children for the last three years!
“I was born in a family with six siblings—five brothers and one sister. The mouths to feed were many and the sole breadwinner, just my father. He worked hard to put food on the table. But his earnings fell short to fund the education of six kids. With great difficulty, despite being academically-inclined, I was only able to study until Class 10.”
Being a tea-seller, Malik used to see many kids passing away their time and begging. Most of these kids were being raised by single moms, who earn living through menial jobs. This making it difficult to send their kids to school. Sharing what inspired Malik to embark on this journey, he mentioned:
“I saw myself in those kids. I told myself, ‘Had I received an opportunity to study further, I would become something bigger and contributed to the country than sell tea at a roadside stall. So I decided I would do everything in my power to make those opportunities available to these kids.”
This how his journey of educating these kids began three years ago. He set up coaching centers where he taught more than 350 kids free of cost.
“While it was certainly a beginning, the future for many of these kids seemed bleak. A two-hour class couldn’t help us bring about behavioural changes like maintaining hygiene or teach them moral values. The only way in which I could achieve it was to start my own school.”
And in 2017, with the help of some friends, he established Maa Tujhe Salaam Foundation. The organization is now running a primary school where it is providing free quality education to 40 kids along with free uniforms, shoes, socks, bags and other stationery. While sharing how he is running this school with his savings and earnings from the tea-stall, Malik said:
“Though right now, my savings and earnings are only able to support 40 kids studying from kindergarten to Class four, I intend to work even harder and extend the classes up to Class 10 for 200 students in the coming years.”
He was also hailed a ‘hero’ after he found a mention on former Indian cricketer VVS Laxman’s Twitter account:
Mohammad Mahboob Malik, a tea seller from Kanpur takes care of education for 40 children. He has a small tea shop and spends 80% of his income on the education of these children. What an inspiration ! pic.twitter.com/H1FTxeYuz7
“I try to save at least Rs 500 per day from the stall for the school. Sustaining is hard, but I am not giving up. Thanks to VVS Laxman, a lot of people have appreciated my work. And though nobody has come forward to fund it, I am working hard to give wings to the dreams of these kids. My savings are depleting, but I am working twice as hard to keep it running.”
Shedding light on the change of perception of those around him, he says,
“Many in my neighbourhood used to call me ‘mad’ and criticised me for ‘wasting my savings on social service’. But now, when my work is being admired and praised, the same people pat me on the back.”
At IFORHER, we salute this young boy, who is not only changing the lives of so many underprivileged children but also of their families. In case his story has touched your heart, you can call Malik Bhai on +91-9839949974 and extend any help that you can!