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A Common Man Deprived of Education, Runs School For Poor Kids

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Economic crisis in the family had forced Jabir Khan, 43, a Mumbai resident to quit his education after he passed class fifth. Watching children of school-going age wandering around and adapting wrong habits in his area disturbed him deeply. He soon realised that absence of an affordable school in his vicinity was the reason for children staying back home.
“Our area – Somanigram in Goregaon comprises of Project Affected People (PAP) who were shifted here from different places by government under various infrastructure projects. In a general meeting, we came to know that many children of our area were not going to school as their old schools were now far away from their new homes. They had only two options available in their new locality- costly private schools or a municipal school. Since they didn’t find municipal schools to be good and private schools to be affordable, parents decided to let their kids be at home,” says Jabir.

Having experienced the pain of being deprived of education, Jabir looked at the problem as an opportunity to educate other kids. He started JK Public School in his locality in 2009 with monthly fees of merely Rs 100. Currently there are 386 students from nursery to class eight; charged Rs 400- Rs 450 fees monthly based on their classes. “We have eight rented classrooms in the building. There are nine teachers in the school who teach students in three shifts daily,” says Sarvari Khan, principal, JK School and Jabir Khan’s wife.

Kindergarten students studying in JK School

Along with education, the school also emphasizes on fitness and conducts mandatory karate classes. “Apart from the regular physical training class every week, we also have weekly karate classes to ensure students’ fitness and self defence. No extra cost is charged for karate,” adds Sarvari who is a graduate in arts.

Not only financial reasons but traditional reasons too abstain many students from their basic right of education. “We have a student in class eight who is good at studies but her father didn’t wish her to study further for traditional reasons. We confronted her father and insisted on her studying at least till class 10th. He agreed with a list of conditions like her clothing and many more. We accepted all those conditions because we believe that an educated girl can make a lot of difference in her family and society,” says 41 years old Sarvari.

Jabir, who works in a film production unit for a living says that he shells out about 1.25 lakh to 1.5 lakh annually for operational costs of the school from his pocket. The couple is struggling with the government proceedings to get the school recognition.

The Khan couple sets an example of how a common resident can make a difference to lives of people around. Supporting education selflessly, the couple brings smiles on the faces of children.