Mumbai lockdown: Malad couple uses lifetime's savings to help 1,400 families
Malwani school owner and husband use money saved to buy a new home to help families hit by retrenchments, salary cuts in the lockdown, waive student fees
A couple in Malwani, Malad, could easily have bought their dream home for which they had been
saving for years, but instead they decided to spend the money on feeding hundreds of families who were going hungry as they had run out of both cash and ration during the lockdown.
Mizga Sheikh, the owner and principal of Zeal English School at Ambujwadi in Malvani, and Faiyyaz Sheikh, manager at a perfume manufacturing company, had started helping her students and their families since the COVID-19 lockdown was announced in March.
Mizga, owner and principal of a school, distributes khichdi to children in Malwani
Due to the pandemic, schools were shut and thousands of people lost their livelihood. Mizga started getting calls from her students' parents who had run out of grocery, and teachers who were worried about their salaries as the school was closed.
Many called for help
"Many parents contacted me and told me they were finding it difficult to get any work and groceries. So, my husband and I decided to do something for them," says Mizga. The couple contacted NGOs that provided readymade food and groceries and distributed them among the needy residents, for which they spent nearly `1 lakh
"This arrangement didn't last long, and the residents continued to face food shortages. My husband then decided to use around `4.5 lakh he had withdrawn from his Provident Fund account before the lockdown to buy a flat. Handing over the money to me, he said we should continue providing food to the needy," Mizga said.
The couple distributing food
Over the past four months, the couple has provided rations kits, sanitisers, umbrella and readymade food to nearly 1,400 families. Mizga waived off school fees of 350 students for three months, and continued to pay her teachers.
"Money can be earned later, but helping the needy in a pandemic is the best thing one can do. When students and their parents meet us with joy and satisfaction in their eyes, that's all we both want," said Faiyyaz.
The couple with the help of volunteers pack ration kits for distribution
Parents of Mizga's students sang the couple's praises. "My daughter is a Std IX student at the school, and my son cleared his Std X board exam last year. I worked as a house help because my husband is unemployed. But, there has been no work since the past four months. We had run out of ration, but Fayaz sir and madam took care of us. They gave us ration kits, sanitiser, masks and umbrellas," said Shabana Shah, 30.
Shabnam Shah, 35, whose children studies at Mizga's school, said, "They have helped us a lot during the lockdown. They provided us with ration kits and other necessary things. Every person who came to them for help returned happy."
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