Migza and Faiyaz Shaikh, who run a small-scaled school in Mumbai’s Malad area have waived off fees of their students and are distributing food among needy people amid the pandemic. Residents of the Malwani, the couple started a private educational set up called Zeal English Medium School around 10 years ago. The couple is being hailed as ‘heroes’ in the neighbourhood as it has been feeding nearly 1,500 poor people since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown in the city.

The husband and wife, though are the owners of a small school, were moved by their students at their school when they approached the principal about the financial hardships that they were facing. Knowing that they couldn’t afford to pay fees during the lockdown, the couple decided to give them free education for three months, Times of India reported. Later, they also came to know that these poor students and their families were barely getting eating a proper meal a day to survive. The school principal, Migza Shaikh, and her husband, Faiyaz, then decided to donate rations in the neighbourhood. Four months on and the duo has spent more than four lakh from their personal savings, which they were saving up to buy a house, and distributed food to 1500 hungry people who live in the slum area of Ambojwadi.

“I also work for a company. When demand for resources increased, we decided to use my provident fund savings. I’ve spent about Rs 4.5 lakh till now,” Faiyaz told Hindustan Times.

What You Should Know

  • Migza and Faiyaz, owners of a small school in Mumbai, are distributing food to the needy in Malwani.
  • The couple has thus far spent over four lakh rupees to feed the impoverished.
  • They used up all of their savings money to help those who suffered job loss or salary cuts in the lockdown.
  • They also waived off fees for students at their school.

Classes over Zoom calls did not help. They needed food

“The lockdown has been very harsh on residents of Ambojwadi, many of whom are daily wagers. When classes halted abruptly and schools everywhere started online classes, we too decided to go ahead. But students said their parents owned a single mobile phone and if their parents went off to do odd jobs, they would take the handsets along. We still tried to make a bunch of students sit together for classes over ‘Zoom’. But their parents didn’t even have money to buy books. That is when I took my teaching staff into confidence and waived off fees for all students for three months,” said Migza, 38, TOI reported. Migza also explained how initially they started receiving emergency calls from people who were in dire need of food.

The school run by this couple is situated in a five-room space and is yet to get government recognition. When parents told her they were finding it tough to put food on the table, Mizga and her husband approached family friends and colleagues to pool in a sum. They started off by purchasing dry rations locally from Malwani and distributing it among students’ families, she explained.

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“We did not want to keep money in our bank and see people struggling for food so we started using our savings,” she said.

The couple also helped a youth out with medical expenses who had met with an accident. “A 22-year-old family friend slipped in the bathroom and lost consciousness. He had to be administered stitches on his leg and when we approached the Shaikhs for help, they footed the entire hospital bill,” said Shehzad Shamsher, a local resident.

Picture Credit: ANI

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