BARAMULLA, Aug 11: A decade ago, deep inside the narrow lanes of old city of Baramulla, a group of ten energetic youth with religious zeal decided to set up an organization dedicated to social reform and welfare.
Today in the entire North Kashmir – Falah-u-Darien – has grown to become a strong symbol of social service that has provided assistance to thousands of improvised families, widows, and helped unemployed youth to set up income generating units, besides creating awareness about the menace of drug addiction.
The volunteers of this social organization have lent a helping hand to parents who couldn’t afford marriage expenses of their daughters.
The road has been bumpy at times for the group, but their growth and success is visible.
“When we started this welfare organization we were just a group of ten or twelve likeminded youth who wanted to contribute towards the society. Initially, we used to assemble at mosques, and spread religious knowledge about day to day needs and teach basics of the moral science to our youth,” says Fayaz Ahmad Mir, president of organization.
“It has now grown to more than 200 volunteers or members who work with us with great dedication.”
Mir says that in the beginning, the organization was confined to only few old town localities. “After people started showing interest in our social work, the organization spread its work to the entire township.”
He says that last year alone around 45 lakh rupees were distributed by the organization among poor and needy people. Seeing the dedication youth, the people of the town generously contribute towards the organization. And every month the number of contributors increases.
Riyaz Ahmad Falahi who has done his Masters from Aligarh Muslim University and remained associated with the organization since its inception says that in 2001, the organization first introduced itself among the public sphere.
“For the first two years, we kept our work confined to mosques only. But, by 2001, we organized a big Eid Milan in which we invited prominent citizens of the town including members of Sikh and Hindu communities.”
He says it was the time when people came to know about our organization. “In the beginning, we could merely raise rupees 25,000 as only members used to donate towards our causes. This time everybody in the town is generously contributing towards our cause and the programmes we execute.”
‘Moved by sufferings’
When this organization came into existence, its members had no idea that one day this will turn into big social organization. Its members say circumstances compelled them to go for welfare and charity works.
“When this organization was set up its main focus was on education and research programs. But, occasionally we used to donate some money to needy people. This donation was limited and the contributions were made by members only,” says Suhail Bashir Kar who is on forefront of every program organized by the body.
“By chance eight years ago, some of our members visited a house of a widow and an old man. Inside the shanty houses of these two families, the members got moved by the plight of the family members. The families had no utensils to eat. And when our members narrated these incidents to other volunteers. It was decided to set up a charity wing of the organization that will provide monetary assistance to the poor and needy families,” says Kar. “Then we laid the foundation of Al-Mawneen which means ‘to support’.”
Around 200 – 250 families are provided monthly assistance by the organization, besides other charity and voluntary works. “We try to accommodate every deserving family in the town. And for identification of destitute families, we have volunteers in every locality of the town.”
These volunteers comprise college and university students, youth pursuing medical and engineering courses and business men who have passion to contribute towards the society says Imtiyaz Qadir, who has done a Master’s in Urdu.
“Our aim is to turn the charity and welfare unit of this organization very big. Though, this time we are confined to town Baramulla, but, our aim is to reach every part of the Valley,” he says. “Time will come when we will achieve our goal.”
‘Strong and spreading’
Zahoor Ahmad Dar who heads the Al Mawneen branch of the organization says that besides charity works, the organization also arranges blood donation camps and counseling centres for drug addicts. “We have organized seven blood donation camps and our 200 volunteers are enlisted in hospital who can donate blood any time at any place.”
Besides, charity works, the organization has also established a big digital library with a vast collection of material of various topics. “We try to provide educational knowledge to youth and in near future we are also trying to set up a Research Centre in the town,” Kar says.
The organization also brings out bi monthly magazine – Tazkeer – that is distributed among the boys and girls to spread the knowledge about the religion and moral sciences. And monthly symposiums, seminars and lessons about Quran and Tafseer for boys and girls are regular feature of the organization.
While doing all these activities, the organization has kept every thing, especially its accounts transparent. “Our’s is a non political organization created to help the needy. Every thing about our organization is transparent,” says president Mir.