Every sixth person in the world lives in India;
Every sixth Indian lives in the State of Uttar Pradesh;
Every sixth person in Uttar Pradesh lives in Eastern U.P;
And Mijwan is in Eastern Uttar Pradesh ;
And Mijwan needs you…
It is 3 AM in the morning and my train called Super Fast Kaifiyat is Super late. I noted that this is the only train called Super Fast. All the other trains are called EXPRESS. This train is named after famous renowned Poet Kaifi Azmi who had fought hard with the Indian Govt to get a train to reach his village Mijwan. Bless his heart and soul.
About the sports program
When 13 yr old Gurbaz, a new recruit of our HOH Youth chapter asked me if he could teach the village girls soccer, I was a bit perplexed and wondered ðŸ¤”? Soccer for village girls? ðŸ¤”ðŸ¤” The same village girls who were students of HOH funded, sewing/tailoring program started in yr 2005? I personally thought it was a hair brained, totally wild idea but I went along with it.
His passion was infectious which got compounded with compassion He started small, by first raising funds to buy tennis shoes for all the village girls and today his dream is HUGE.... to start a sports academy in the village!!
Today Gurbaz is 16 yrs old and he is relentless and unstoppable in pursuit of his dream to create a sports Academy for the village. Who thinks or cares about a sports program for village girls? I feel very proud to say that our own Youth chapter leader Gurbaz thought about it and today has made HOH so proud. Today his dream is is getting closer to crystallizing, specially when I met the athletic village girls in their bright yellow tee shirts and jogging pants ( a far change from their traditional attire few years ago ) They looked very fit and confident.
I met the coach Neeraj Who joined in Nov 2016. He is a State level badminton player, has also played twice at the National level. He is currently teaching badminton and volley ball, Kho and race. Gurbaz found him through a connection Gaurav Khanna who is an international referee and empire for badminton.
Gaurav lives in Lucknow and oversee's the sport program while Neeraj lives in Mijwan. Our young Gurbaz has maneuvered all this and has patiently been doing a nationwide search for a quality sports coach. It is not easy to attract a quality coach in a village but Gurbaz has succeeded.. kudos to him ðŸ‘.
In just few months atleast 3-4 girls are getting ready to Compete at the district level. These were the same girls who few years ago could barely walk with confidence. Now they are running ...ðŸƒðŸ»â€â™€ï¸ðŸƒðŸ»â€â™€ï¸ Re-defining the meaning of progress ðŸ‘.
A gratifying moment
when the girls walked with their badminton rackets and volley balls to me and I handed them all certificates. I still cannot believe this change in the girls. Their body language spells empowerment and confidence. This must be the only village in India that has a sports program. The goal is to extend the sports program.. to the rest of the village and create a Kaifi Azmi sports academy.. 13 yr old boy's dream is now becoming a reality!! His dear mother is still so surprised at the IMPACT her son could make on an entire village.
The chikankari and embroidery center
In every journal I feel compelled to tell the TINSHED TO A 3 storey BUIlDING story..
can't help recall that in yr 2005 this place was a tin shed with a Dari ( mat ) on which sat a few sewing machines that comprised the sewing / embroidery / tailoring program.
HOH made this into a simple training center... which became a Production center. In year 2010 this center got adopted by famous designer Manish Malhotra, giving employment opportunities to hundreds of village ladies.
Today it has become an Institution where 100 students are being trained in hand embroidery under the guidance of NSDC (national skilldev corporation )
-100 are being trained in zardozi trade under the guidance of ministry of minority
-60 students in sewing and cutting trade under the guidance of ministry of minority
-now additional training of 27 students in hand embroidery trade under guidance of UPSDM( utter Pradesh skill Dev mission ) in collaboration with the NGO SWACA
All this aligns with Modi's SKILL INDIA program.
It was a very joyful moment for me when 2 ladies recognized me from yr 2005 and they reminisced about sitting on a Dari under a tin shed. Today they are happily married with children and are now sitting in a beautiful ventilated room, on a gaddi ( cushion ), gainfully employed by Manish Malhotra. I saw their work and it was mind blowing!! Words cannot do justice to describe the beautiful, fine chikankari work that they are doing. I took many pictures of their work and even posed with the chunee.
One day this fine piece of work will be part of a beautiful Manish Malhotra collection adorned by the glamorous glitterazzi! I got my cheap thrill in adorning the preliminary production piece, cause the final production piece is way out of my budget.
The Beauty Center
This is a new addition to this multi skill center.
This started in oct 16 2016 and I met the first batch of 30 students who are being trained under Guidance of VLCC. They will get a govt certificate after completion. I was impressed how much they had learned in just 6 months. After spending the whole night in the railway station and arriving late at Mijwan, I did not get even a moment to freshen up. I was feeling very un groomed and disheveled.. so I got my eyebrows cleaned by the girls and felt better and groomed. They did a great job!
The girls were very excited today to welcome a new teacher. Smrati Singh who joined today. She seemed very motivated to teach these girls.
The cultural program
Thanks to the generous donation of Nandini and Atiq Raza and friends and Ashvini Bhave a cultural program has been launched in Mijwan, inspired by Shabana Azmi's vision and conviction that art can be an instrument in bringing about social change.
Today that dream was a reality as I watched the village girls of Mijwan enact a play SABSE SASTA GOSHT written by progressive writer Asghar Wajahat and directed by Dharam Raj Kumar
With a strong message for Humanity.....
We are primarily humans, not Hindus or Muslims. If there are any categories, these are only male and female.
This play succinctly portrayed how Hindu and Muslim politicians and religious leaders incite the two communities against each other, resulting in violence which adversely affects the common man.
The girls performed like professionals and also seemed to get into their characters but above all seemed to understand the message... this was the most important part.
I had mentioned this in my previous news letter
Acording to the 2011 census of India, 68.84% of Indians (around 833.1 million people) live in 640,867 different villages. Villages have the POWER to ignite social Changes In today's divisive society that is exploited by politicians and leaders.
What better place to Start then Mijwan Village ?
The fashion show and dance
I recall in yr 2009 I was so excited when a young girl wearing a burkha stood on the stage and recited poetry. That was a joyous moment because these girls could not speak .. they were timid and mute.
Today these same village girls conducted a fashion show .. walking on the ramp with confidence and poise. One girl danced to a hep Bollywood dance number. Wow !! Unbelievable ! All these girls are now displaying an indomitable spirit and passion to face the world. They do not want to be left behind.
I chatted with them and told them that you all are the role models for all the other village girls who are not so fortunate to belong to Mijwan. Mijwan is a role model Village with an excellent team who all seem to be unified with the same vision of progressive change under the dynamic leadership of Shabana Azmi who is a true daughter to her father Kaifi Azmi and to the village Mijwan. Which lived in dear fathers soul Today her dear father is with her in spirit and must feel so proud.
Bless us all