Being forced to back out of school at the age of 7, Gazi Jalaludin had a clear mission; no other child should be deprived the power of education. From begging on the streets of Kolkata during his childhood, to now being the man responsible for the free education of over 425 underprivileged children in West Bengal, the story of Gazi Jalaludin is what True Heroes are made of.
Kick-starting its #HelpingTrueHeroes initiative, Neurobion Forte (a leading vitamin brand from Merck) and The Better India (a disruptive tech-media platform), have come together to recognize the undying spirit of Gazi Jalaludin and felicitate him as one of India’s `True Heroes.’ The video has already received an overwhelming response with a million views clocked in, in less than 6 days.
As part of this 4 part – series, Merck will make a financial contribution to help support the dreams of India’s True Heroes.
Elaborating on #HelpingTrueHeroes, Mr. Anand Nambiar, Managing Director, Merck India, said, “This campaign aims to recognize the undying spirit of India’s lesser known heroes such as Gazi, who while fulfilling the dreams of their families, are also extending a helping hand to the society. I would urge everyone to support us in acknowledging and celebrating the efforts of Gazi and other real-life heroes and help spread the stories of their selfless work with the world. We thank The Better India team for partnering with Neurobion in recognising, supporting and helping India’s True Heroes.”
Gazi started his inspirational journey in 1977, when he became a taxi driver and started giving free driving lessons to underprivileged young boys, to help them live their lives with dignity and not be forced into begging. After saving his earnings for many years and collecting donations from his taxi passengers, Gazi achieved his dream of building his first schoolcalled Ismail Israfil Free Primary School (named after his two sons), with 22 students and two teachers in 1998 in Uttar Thakuchak, Sundarbans, and subsequently a second school, Sundarban Sikshayatan Mission in 2009 in Purv Thakurchak, Sundarban, giving free education and meals to children.
Gazi did not stop here. Many of the students in his schools were orphans who were forced to beg just like Gazi did. He wanted to provide shelter to these kids and began to collect funds for an orphanage. More people pitched in and Sundarban Orphanage Mission was built in 2016. Gazi arranges all the residential requirements of these orphans by saving money from his earnings and help received by those who donate.
Talking about his journey, Gazi Jalaludin says, “This 40 year journey has not only been challenging, but also very rewarding. My unknown taxi passengers and generous donors have helped me bring alive my dream of a world where no Gazi has to stop going to school anymore. There’s still a long way to go. Even today I struggle to give mid-day meals to the children and salaries to the teachers. Recognition and endorsement from Merck’s Neurobion Forte & The Better India will help spread more awareness about this cause.”
Says Dhimant Parekh, Founder-CEO, The Better India, “We are excited to partner with Merck to showcase the stories of True Heroes. Filming these stories has been a great experience and we are sure the audience will only be left inspired.”