Pehchan – The Street School

Share this News:

Navi Mumbai – 1000 Indian Rupees (17 US Dollar) is what is required to start this school. Mumbai girl Afsana Parveen Shaikh (29) runs world’s best school for the underprivileged. Here is her story.

Afsana was a simple lady working in retail sector as a merchandiser in a private company in Lower Parel, Mumbai. She was working from 10 am to7 pm with Saturday and Sunday being off. Living her life like all other middle class people with family, friends and lots of happiness.

The Nirbhaya gang rape case of December 2012 in Delhi proved to be the turning point in her life.  Afsana was in deep shock. She could not understand the horrific acts of the culprits. This gave her life a new motto and a mission in life.

Then in March 2013 she started “Pehchaan – The Street School”. Pehchan means identity in Hindi. She started going to the nearby slum and making friends, treating them like family, and slowly getting them into the street school.

Then in September 2014, she decided to quit her job and take up teaching these underprivileged kids, free of cost. Today Pehchaan has more than 100 students studying in the streets of Navi Mumbai.

Initially Afsana used to carry a white board and books from her residence in Kopar Khairane, a node of Navi Mumbai, and teach under the street lights adjacent to the Ghansoli Bridge. Later, she built a small structure under the bridge with bamboo and tarpaulin for which students and some volunteers helped her.

Afsana’s aim is to educate them, so that they will refrain from doing any kind of crime against women.

More than 2000 people are supporting this school. Afsana also gives credit to her husband Hamid Alam for supporting her.

Afsana says, “You just need Rs 1000 to start this school with the help of your 10-15 volunteers. Classes are from Monday to Friday from 8 pm to 9 pm. Those who are working professional can join as volunteers for teaching about their office hours”.

All was going well till last month when the authorities from Navi Mumbai Municipal Corporation demolished the structure.

“They said aap yaha inko (gareeb ke bachchon) ko padhate ho isliye ye yaha  rahte hai jabki ye log bridge ke niche pichhle 15 year se rah rahe hai, aur har baar demolition ka shikar hote rahe hai”, Afsana said.

But where there is a will, there is a way.

“They demolished the makeshift structure, not our determination. We started the school under street lights once again like it used to be when we had started. Pehchaan -The Street School is back on their old form. With more energy, ambition, hope and determination”, Afsana added.

She has rightly put on her Facebook page “See…Our Future is growing… Padhega Indian aur ab Badhega India… क्योंकी अब हमने जो ठान लिया है।।।। और अगर हमने एक बार Commitment कर ली तो फिर अपनेआप की भी नहीं सुनते”

Do you want to help Afsana?

Mobile: Afsana  +919594036344, Navi Mumbai