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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 🙂

SHARE
  • 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

This Charity Organisation Helps Homeless Children During Coronavirus Pandemic

In times when people are struggling, playtime project is spreading Hope and Smiles!

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Charity
A Non-Profit Charity Organisation "Playtime project"  is continuing to help children during this pandemic.

By Kashish Rai

The whole world is facing harsh challenges amid the coronavirus pandemic and with the COVID-19 lockdown, children don’t have access to museums and parks like they did before.

A Non-Profit Charity Organisation “Playtime project”  is continuing to help children during this pandemic!

Have a Look at the Video:

The main goal of the charity organization is to provide homeless children and those living in shelters with playrooms and fun activities and take care of them.

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In times when people are struggling, playtime project is spreading Hope and Smiles!

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Support 50 Million Deeply Deprived Indians in the Post COVID 19 Period Campaign For Societal Intervention

During the COVID 19 crisis many NGOs have come up to help the people in need

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volunteer NGO COVID 19 crisis
As India is now passing through tremendous stress due to COVID 19 crisis and the consequent prolonged lockdown, the most affected are those living below poverty line. Pixabay

By N.S.Venkataraman

As  India is now passing through tremendous  stress due to COVID 19 crisis and the consequent prolonged lockdown , the most affected  are those living below poverty line, who constitute around 20% of national population ( around  250 million people).

Who are deeply deprived persons ?:

Amongst these affected people, the deeply deprived persons constituting around 50 million of national population consist of the physically disabled persons , visually impaired, hearing / speech impaired and mentally retarded persons, aged people in poor health , destitute women and section of self  employed people with no skill such as rag pickers.

Even in normal times, these deeply deprived people  live in desperate conditions without knowing as to where their next meal would come from.  These people have been surviving due to the freebies such as free rice etc. extended by the government as well as welfare  pension  such as old age pension etc. Without such freebies and pension support from the government , most of  these people would have lost their lives due to poverty and sickness.

volunteer NGO COVID 19 crisis
The governments can continue to extend support such as free rice , pension etc. as given in the normal times after COVID 19 period , which would not be adequate to sustain the deeply deprived person. Pixabay

Help extended during COVID 19 crisis :

During the COVID 19 crisis, central and state governments  as well as non government organisations , voluntary bodies  and kind hearted individuals have been doing their level best to support these deeply deprived 50 million people all over India, by extending support in various forms.

Obviously, the government and non  government bodies would not be able to extend support that were extended during the COVID 19 crisis,  after the COVID 19 period, as they would run out of funds.

Need for support in post COVID 19 period :

The governments can continue to extend support such as free rice , pension etc. as given in the normal times after COVID 19 period , which would not be adequate to sustain the deeply deprived  persons , in view of their  extensive sufferings during the COVID 19 crisis.

For example, large number of visually impaired persons and differently abled persons survive during the normal times by selling assorted items in running trains or platforms etc. Other deeply deprived persons normally would involve themselves in some activities or other to get some marginal income to sustain themselves , even as they get support from government by way of free rice and welfare pension. All these deeply deprived people have lost such marginal income during the lockdown period.

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In recent years, it is seen there is enormous interest amongst most of these deeply deprived  people to atleast educate their children , so that they can  take up jobs to uplift their families. They have to be supported, as adequately educating the children of poor families is the best way of uplifting the poor and downtrodden families.

In the post COVID 19 scenario, due to the income lost during the lockdown period, these deeply deprived people are now facing desperate conditions and they will not be able to come out of this distressed conditions without support from society.

What strategy to help in post COVID 19 period :

volunteer NGO COVID 19 crisis
During the COVID 19 crisis, central and state governments as well as non government organisations , voluntary bodies and kind hearted individuals have been doing their level best to support these deeply deprived 50 million people all over India, by extending support in various forms. Pixabay

A strategy has to be worked out by the people in the affordable income group,  to  help these 50 million people  to survive .

In such conditions, one remembers  the “Pidi Arisi Thittam” (plan for giving handful of rice) suggested by His Holiness Kanchi Paramacharya. (pontiff of Sankara Mutt in Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu who passed away around  two decades back)

Knchi Paramacharya, suggested to people to set apart   handful of rice every day,  so that it can be used for preparing offerings to the deity (Naivedya)  and later distributed  to the poor and downtrodden people. This advice of Kanchi Paramacharya has to be extended a little more in the post COVID 19 scenario.

Let every family maintain a small hundi in the residence  and whenever the family members take  lunch or dinner every day , let every family  remember the plight of 50 million deeply deprived people and deposit a small amount , whatever they can afford , in the hundi.

Let each family identify  one poor family who are part of the 50 million deeply deprived people and handover the sum deposited in the hundi to them every month.

If every family in the affordable income group would adopt such helpful attitude and practice, it will help in a very big way the deeply deprived  people to find a way out for themselves and enable their  children to undergo education  to occupy the rightful place in the society as they grow up.

This is an ideal method of helping the deeply deprived people and  to derive huge satisfaction for every one of the donor.

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If individual family in the affordable income group,  would not have the time or contact to identify such deeply deprived  people, then, the deposited amount in the hundi every month, can be handed over to any NGO for  providing to the needy  people  and get a receipt to be submitted to the donor.

The ideal arrangement for the donor would be to contact the deprived  family, personally talk to them in an encouraging way and provide the sum to them every month , whatever  the amount  may be, so that the deeply deprived  families would not  get a feeling of isolation and gain confidence that they are part of the  society.

Next Story

NGOs and Private Institutions Offer a Helping Hand to Bihar

NGOs and Private Institutions come forward to help the needy and the poor in the state of Bihar

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clasped-hands, NGOs
NGOs coming forth to provide help to the needy and poor in Bihar. Pixabay

With the nationwide lockdown adding to the problems faced by the poor, many private institutions and NGOs are extending a helping hand to the needy in Bihar.

Anukriti Art founder Anukriti said she along with other benefactors has so far helped 50 families in the Shahkund area of Bhagalpur by providing them ration and other essentials.

An awardee for Madhubani and Manjusha paintings, Anukriti pointed out that such little help from individuals across the country could make a huge difference.

hands
NGOs have helped 50 families in the Shahkund area. Pixabay

An NGO, Ang Madad Foundation, which has earlier helped many women get trained in tailoring, has provided ration and other help to the needy in the Champanagar area in Nathnagar block.

Its head Vandana Jha said that whenever they come to know about the needy or someone calls them for help, they reach out to such persons. She said her organization has so far helped around 200 people.

Ram Jansewa Samiti and area villagers came to the rescue of 50 to 60 persons belonging to a nomadic community left stranded in the Hasanganj block of Katihar district. These needy persons, which included women and children, were provided ration and other essential items.

offering
The needy were provided with ration and essentials. Pixabay

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A private club led by social activist Mahesh Sav has distributed ration and other items to many needy families in the Shumar Harkhand panchayat area.

Similar reports of help extended by villagers to daily-wagers were received from Naxal-affected areas in Jamui. (IANS)