Following His Father’s Footsteps, a Retd Govt Official Sets Up A School For Orphans And Poor Kids
Inspired by his father who set up the first private school in Budgam, J&K, and educated underprivileged children free of cost, Sayed Abdul Rouf, a retired joint secretary, followed suit by establishing a school in his father’s name that also provides free education to orphans and children from economically backward families.
Sadaf Shabir 20 March 2023 9:11 AM GMT
Syed Abdul Rouf grew up watching his father, Syed Ali, dedicate his life to teaching underprivileged children for free. So when the joint secretary, Jammu & Kashmir Board of School Education, retired in April 2020, he set up a school in the memory of his father to educate the children from low-income families and orphans.
Syed Ali Memorial Institute of Education, established in 2000, is located in Beerwah, 27 kilometers away from the summer capital Srinagar, and 21 kilometers from the Budgam district headquarters.
“I am just following the footsteps of my father, Syed Ali, who started the first private school in Budgam district. In 1943, he started Mazhar Ul Haq, where he taught children in that area, free of cost,” Rouf told Gaon Connection. This school has been functioning for the past 80 years and is run by Syed Abdul Latief Bukhari, who is the uncle of the retired joint secretary.
Inspired by his father’s legacy, Rouf founded the Syed Ali Memorial School. Starting from the primary level, the school now offers education up to the higher secondary level. In addition to this, the school has also started a B.Ed college and a nursing college in the area to provide further opportunities for underprivileged students.
Budgam has had poor literacy rates for decades. As per the 2011 census, the literacy rate in Budgam is approximately 56 per cent, the lowest in the Kashmir Valley. For years, children from low-income families and orphans in the area struggled to get an education due to their financial circumstances.
“Only through education can a person get an idea of right and wrong and know what they want to do with their life. We teach students to become competent, many of them are today in important jobs in different sectors across Jammu and Kashmir,” the retired joint secretary said.
The school reserves 10 to 15 per cent of the seats for orphaned children, who receive education completely free of cost. During the admission process, the school assesses the financial stability of the family and offers concessions in fees accordingly. Rouf said he was dedicated to providing education to all underprivileged children in the area. The school is open to children across communities and religions.
“I have lost count of how many children were educated free in our school. Hundreds of them have been able to study here free of cost and complete their Higher Secondary education,” Rouf said. He is also associated with the Jammu and Kashmir Yateem Trust, a non-profit, which provides free education and shelter to thousands of children.
“It’s only because of this school that I am able to continue my studies. When my father died in 2020, our financial condition was not good, and I thought I would have to discontinue my studies, but it was Syed Abdul Rouf Sir who gave me admission in this school and is providing free education,” Shahid Hussain Wani, Shoaib, a Class 8 student of Syed Ali Memorial School, told Gaon Connection. Before joining Rouf’s school, Shahid used to study at Holy Mission Public School Sail.