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Meet Saif Ahmad Khan: ‘Save the Quest’ NGO Founder makes Education more flexible for Specially-Abled and Unprivileged Children in India

The story is about Save the Quest, an NGO that works for the upliftment and sustainability of the specially abled

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-by Chetna Karnani

The modern metropolitan Indian is a frequent visitor to restaurants and multiplexes. But how many of us have given a thought to it whether such places are friendly to specially-abled people? 

In an exclusive interview with Reporter Chetna Karnani of NewsGram Team, Saif Ahmad Khan, founder of ‘Save the Quest’ NGO, discusses his ideas and shares his thoughts on how Education can change the fate of the specially-abled and unprivileged children  in India.

It was not long ago when ‘Save the Quest‘, an independent NGO in New Delhi came into being in order to make this world a better place for the specially abled. Established by Saif Ahmad Khan during his graduation days, ‘Save the Quest’ works towards the quality education and upliftment of specially-abled and underprivileged children in Delhi and Bihar. A success story like none other, Save the Quest shatters the preconceived notions of the society that NGOs these days are mere glamorous means to acquire financial gains in the name of social work.

Save the Quest at a feast with orphan children during Ramadan
Save the Quest at a feast with orphan children during Ramadan. Image source: Save the Quest

Before its inception in 2013, Saif has worked with various NGOs like ‘Save the Children’ and has also carried out social work since his childhood. “The only driving force for me to start this organisation was to turn my passion into profession. When Swine Flu was a serious problem in India, I used to make posters and stick them around the school to raise awareness among students and make them conscious about this issue. This is how it all began.

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Everyone comes across children begging at street lights but anyone hardly pays any heed to their condition. It is usually not out of choice that these children take up begging instead of spending their childhood amidst books and carefree play. Saif, back in his hometown Patna, once approached these children and began his pursuit to impart them quality education. “Bringing children to a school is not a problem. The real challenge is to sustain their interest.

As a result, I started with showing them cartoon films and giving away sweets at the end of the class. And slowly I shifted to educational videos so that they got basic knowledge like alphabets while enjoying these videos”, says Khan, whose aim was to bring schools to children who could not go to a school.

Meals during studies
Meals during studies. Image source: Save the Quest

Beginning with only six children at first, this mobile school now reaches remote rural parts of Bihar where there are either no schools or where female literacy is almost zero.

Most underprivileged children have mid-day meals as the only motivation to go to schools, and this directly hampers the quality of education. Students who wish to study sincerely are not provided with adequate facilities to study, or are simply victims of poverty and submit to their condition. Therefore, in an attempt to change the face of the Indian education system, Saif’s team initially builds strong relationships with these children so that learning also contributes to their growth and helps them groom.

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Apart from that, the NGO is also associated with a Delhi based orphanage (name withheld) that requires the sponsorship for these children’s education. There are challenges like fundraising and seeking guardianship that every NGO faces.

One of the awareness campaigns carried out by the NGO
“I PLEDGE”, one of the awareness campaigns carried out by the NGO. Image source: Save the Quest

“Problems began with the mere thought of starting an NGO. My family and friends were earlier hesitant to support since the students’ stationery and other expenses were met from my savings. Today we need sponsors for around 500 children, and if each person contributes a small amount of 400 per month, their overall development expenses can be met,” said Saif.

The children are also introduced with sports, and are also taught chess. For his personal contribution towards eradicating disability as an outlawed issue which only attracts sympathy but no substantial help, Saif has sponsored the development of a girl child who is on wheelchair. A very active 8 year old child, says Khan, who is now determined to prepare her for Paralympics to be held in 2026 and is currently trying to find a coach for her.

Saif has also published a book within a team of 12 students named ‘Opportunities and Barriers for Students with Disabilities’ under the research of University of Delhi.

Besides children, the NGO also runs employability training for the blind and differently abled, for they believe that the most important means to their stability is their financial independence. Ishant Rajput, 24, is associated with the NGO since its beginning and was trained regarding basic computer qualifications. Ishant is now a successful graduate and is preparing for competitive exams.

'The Band'
‘The Band’. Image source: Save the Quest

“It is students like Ishant who make me realise that the words disability and difficulty are not related at all. Disability is just a social contruct and it is our duty to create a barrier-free existence for these children”, claims the founder chairperson of Save the Quest.

"A walk for the Visually Impaired" held in University of Delhi
“A Walk for the Visually Impaired” held in University of Delhi. Image source: Save the Quest

Save the Quest has helped more than five thousand visually impaired children in the past three years and has organised sensitisation and fund raising campaigns.

For any information on volunteering or to donate, you may contact Saif through:
Phone: 08585907442
E-mail: saif.stq@gmail.com
Website: www.savethequest.org

Chetna is a reporter at NewsGram. Twitter: @karnani_chetna

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  • Vrushali Mahajan

    It is really fascinating how young people like Saif are working towards a better nation. Helping the physically abled children is a great effort. Keep up the good work!

    • Saif Ahmad Khan

      Thank you

  • Saif Ahmad Khan

    Thank you newsgram for covering my story.

  • Shubhi Mangla

    When the education system is increasingly becoming commercialized, people like Saif are also there who are striving hard to provide education to underprivileged children. You are doing a wonderful job Saif.

    • Saif Ahmad Khan

      Thank You 🙂

  • Vrushali Mahajan

    It is really fascinating how young people like Saif are working towards a better nation. Helping the physically abled children is a great effort. Keep up the good work!

    • Saif Ahmad Khan

      Thank you

  • Saif Ahmad Khan

    Thank you newsgram for covering my story.

  • Shubhi Mangla

    When the education system is increasingly becoming commercialized, people like Saif are also there who are striving hard to provide education to underprivileged children. You are doing a wonderful job Saif.

    • Saif Ahmad Khan

      Thank You 🙂

Next Story

Stable Owner in Mumbai Booked for Cruelty to a Pregnant Cow after Complaint by NGO

Non Governmental Organization called People for Animals, upon learning of the incident, filed a complaint after which the stable owner was booked by the D.B Marg Police

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Cruelty to Cow
An infected cow was abandoned by its owner. Wikimedia
  • People for Animals is a Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) 
  • They were reported of an incident by local animal enthusiast group called Foundation For Mumbai Animals (FFMA)
  • The incident involved a severely infected cow being left abandoned by a stable owner

Mumbai, August 29, 2017: A Stable owner has been booked here for abandoning one of his cows who was pregnant and severely infected.

Non Governmental Organization called People for Animals, upon learning of the incident, filed a complaint after which the stable owner was booked by the D.B Marg Police.

ALSO READ:  India Increase in Attacks related to Cow Vigilantism under Narendra Modi Government: Report.

The abandoned cow was found wandering in Khetwadi. Local Animal enthusiast group called Foundation for Mumbai Animals (FFMA) found the cow and informed People for Animals (PFA).

Maggot infestation was found in the cow’s hooves and it was clear that the animal was in pain. Pandurang Shinde, a Senior Police Inspector told to the Hindu, “We have booked the accused under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act and are conducting further inquiries. The accused has claimed that the cow wandered off four days ago, and that he too was looking for her.”

PFA member Nirali Koradia stated, “We reached out to Deputy Commissioner of Police (Zone II) Dnyaneshwar Chavan, and he directed his officers to take action.”

The Stable owner, who sells milk for living, claims that the cow wandered off on its own. The cow is being treated for her infections. The FFMA has also claimed that this same person has been booked for cruelty earlier.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.

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Sketch by a 10-Year-Old Girl Victim in Delhi Sends her Rapist Uncle to Jail

Delhi court judge Vinod Yadav gave a verdict in girls' favor

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Rapist was convicted based on this sketch
Rapist was convicted based on this sketch.

New Delhi, August 27, 2017: Based on a pencil sketch of a 10-year-old child victim, Delhi court judge Vinod Yadav has taken the decision to punish her 45-year-old uncle for rape and sentenced him to 5 years in jail on June 2016.

Her uncle Akhter Ahmed, who has been jailed for sexual assault, said that the girl had been tortured to speak against him in the court. He also said that she is not a competent witness but the sketch she drew to keep herself busy during trial proceedings, made the Judge to put the rapist behind bars.

The judge gave the verdict based on, “A close scrutiny of the drawing reveals that she has depicted an abandoned house in gloomy colors, a girl carrying some balloons with intermingled threads and her dress lying removed.” The Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Yadav said that the sketch highlighted the lasting torturous impression of the sexual assault that is left on her the mind and this ruled what the uncle earlier said of her not being competent to testify against him.

ALSO READ: Serial rapist has killed over 30 children: police

The girl’s horrifying incidence which is like a nightmare had its origin in the year 2014, the time when she moved in with her aunt from Kolkata to Delhi. Her mother died and her father (who was a drug addict) abandoned her. This is also the year when her trauma started.

Her uncle used to sexually abuse her. The little girl tried to confide in her aunt, wanted to tell her what happened with her but she thought her aunt wouldn’t listen to her. So, one day, she just ran out of the home so as to escape the torture she was dealing with. A conductor saw her on a bus in November 2014, she was sitting all alone and crying. He tried to talk to her and find out what is wrong but she didn’t say a word. Thus, he handed her over to the police, who called in the counselors for help from a non-governmental organization (NGO) called Haq Foundation.

According to NDTV report, the girl’s counselor Uzma Pravin told, “For the first few sessions the girl was not revealing what was going on in her mind but as she became more familiar, she started opening up in bits and pieces.” Uzma joined the puzzle pieces of information together and started to shape up the young girl’s narrative until she was more coherent.

But when the counselors gave her a sheet of paper, pencil, and crayons during the proceedings of the court, they thought it was a way to help the child stay busy with something and would feel less nervous about what was going on. But, one day when the young girl showed the sketch she made to the counselor Uzma Pravin, she gave it to the judge.

She said, “Her drawings revealed a lot about her. There was always something in it. Most children can’t express themselves. However, if we try to look at their drawings, we can understand them,” mentions NDTV report.

Her colleague, Bharti Ali, said that drawing therapy was one of the child-friendly practices which the Chief Justice of Delhi High Court, Gita Mittal encouraged foundations like Haq to undertake  Bharti Ali said that the court verdict was a kind of positive development and a moment of victory but she hoped that more judges in future could use and allow innovative methods like this.


NewsGram is a Chicago-based non-profit media organization. We depend upon support from our readers to maintain our objective reporting. Show your support by Donating to NewsGram. Donations to NewsGram are tax-exempt.
Click here- www.newsgram.com/donate

Next Story

Elephant Parade comes to India for the First Time: Statues of 101 life-sized baby elephants transformed into Beautiful works of Art

The parade will travel across the country from November 2017 to March 2018

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Elephant Parade
101 Elephant statues are decorated by artists for the Parade. Wikimedia
  • Elephant family, an NGO, organizes the annual exhibition elephant parade
  • The Elephant Parade is happening in India for the first time
  • The NGO raises awareness for the importance of saving elephant species

August 24, 2017: Statues of 101 life-sized baby elephant that have been transformed into beautiful works of art will be exhibited in Indian cities as part of the 22nd edition of the international “Elephant Parade”, happening in the country for the first time, it was announced here on Wednesday.

“Elephant Parade” is an annual exhibition, that is organized in different cities across the world by NGO Elephant Family to raise awareness for the need for conserving elephants.

ALSO READ: A 20-year-old Elephant gets blessing at a Kerala Church

The organizers say that 20 per cent of the net profits from the show are donated to elephant welfare and conservation projects.

The parade will travel across the country from November 2017 to March 2018.

For this, leading Indian artists, fashion designers, design institutes, tribal painters, and celebrities were engaged to turn 101 elephant sculptures into unique masterpieces, creating a striking spectacle of color to celebrate one of India’s most beloved and endangered animals.

The painted elephants will be displayed in herds in prominent cities to be photographed, hugged and kissed by admiring audiences as part of what has become recognized as the world’s biggest public art event.

The parade aims to generate funds to secure 101 elephant corridors across India for the pachyderms, who face the risk of displacement through fragmentation of their habitat and human disturbances.

Thus, after the public displays across Indian cities, the elephants will then be sold at two high profile auctions in Mumbai and London to raise funds.

“We will celebrate the magnificence of the iconic Asian elephant, generating mass awareness of their plight and making everyone smile at the same time,” said Ruth Powys-Ganesh, the CEO of Elephant Family in India.

“With the support of the world’s top creatives, the 101 painted elephants will move us closer to our target to secure a network of 101 elephant corridors – vital strips of habitat that reconnect India’s forests, the number one priority for this species,” she added.

Other Asian cities where the parade has been held include Suzhou, Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Hong Kong. It has also been held in Taiwan. (IANS)