6
June

Village Educator

Story by Syed Aadil in June, Shangus

Orphaned at a time when he needed the support of his father, Showkat Allie fought odds to complete his education. Finally, he decided to impart education and created future for his family, reports Syed Aadil

A frightening turn

He was in first year of graduation and his father’s death by cardiac arrest pushed him to be the head of the family. At the tender age of 18, life, all of a sudden, took a frightening turn for Showkat Ahmad Allie. But death never keeps a calendar and Allie took some time to understand it fully and start facing the challenges ahead.

A resident of Shangus in Islamabad, Showkat resolved not to get bogged down by the situation fate landed him in. Apart from shouldering the responsibility as the family-head, Showkat took care of his mother and sister. But he refused to give up the education. He did his BSc and, somehow managed to get the job of a medical representative. Highly mobile to hawk the medical products, he soon decided to study further, enrolled with IGNOU and did his Masters in Computer Technology. His idea was to have formal education but his responsibilities prevented him, forcing to avail the distance education mode.

Showkat says his job as medical representative fetched him sufficient resources to sustain his small family. Soon the increased responsibilities triggered an appetite for more resources and he started looking around for ‘other’ options.

“With this job my savings were meager especially after my marriage,” Showkat says. “I required more money for my additional responsibilities that has marriage of my younger sister as the top priority.”

Employee to Employer

Taking advantage

Unlike his peers, Showkat decided not to wait for a government job and do something of his own but his financial condition was the hurdle. Taking advantage of the Jammu and Kashmir Entrepreneurship Development Institute’s (JKEDI) financial assistance scheme, he and his sister Shaheena jointly decided to impart education – they eventually established a preparatory school in their own area in the year 2012.

Innovative Kids Play School

“JKEDI provided us a term loan of Rs 9.5 lakh for our venture and we started our own school with the name Innovative Kids Play School Shangus (IKPSS),” Showkat said. “Initially our school was just a kindergarten school, but gradually we improved and upgraded it to 3rd primary and this year we are upgrading it to 5th standard.”

Making a mark

Right now, the school is operational in a single storey building with five rooms but its expansion is underway. The school has already made a mark in this area and within a period of just three years the student strength has gone up to about 100. While every teaching shop offers the education, this school established its difference by taking care of the little kids better. There were no complaints, so far.

Ethical education

Feels great not be debitor

“Within just three years I have cleared entire amount of the term loan given by JKEDI and thankfully my earnings are good though not much as we do not take undue amounts from our students as monthly fees,” Showkat proudly said.

Quality education a matter of right

“Quality education is the right of every child and I do not want to deprive underprivileged and financially weaker children of this right. That is why we charge a meager amount of Rs 250 for pre-primary classes and Rs 300 for primary classes which I guess is an affordable amount in these times.”

EDI provided us conducive atmosphere

Showkat is crediting his mentor for his success. “EDI provided us conducive atmosphere,” Showkat said. “It was not only financial support, but they contributed to our personality development. Even today if we face any problem, they are just one phone call away.”

Less worried now

Giving employement is a good feeling

At 40 now, Showkat is father of two daughters. But he is less worried if compared to the days when his father passed away in the midst of his education. With this venture, the brother-sister not only have established themselves as successful entrepreneurs, but are providing employment to more than half a dozen youth who are serving as teachers in their school.

Role model

Even in his peers, Showkat is the new model. He is referred as a young man who fought his way out of a crisis and survived honourably with flying colours.