Ignorance Is Not Bliss Here
From the quiet confines of the university library where she worked, to the mud-laden environs of her ‘adopted’ slum of Mehbullahpur has been a challenging journey for 35-year-old Shakila Begum.
Hundreds of poor families live in this slum, a mere 8 km from the upmarket Hazratganj locality in the heart of Lucknow. Shakila wanted to help the Muslim women here understand their rights.
Now a fellow with Jagori, a women’s training and resource centre, she has so far enrolled around 200 slum children in schools; organised women in self-financing income-generating groups; and imparted information on health and gender equality. She has, in fact, steered the community away from poverty and the unkind stereotypes projected about it.
Giving up her secure job at Lucknow University, she set up Aagaze Insaaf (initiating justice). However, when she first walked through the area and saw the plight of the hungry, malnourished children teeming around, she wondered how she could break the ice and win their confidence.
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