There have been continuous efforts by the government to encourage people to send their kids to schools and increase the literacy rate in India. Raising the slogan ‘sab padhe, sab badhe’ the government has launched schemes in the past but one man through the narrow bylanes of Ranchi without any personal interest ensures that the children get the education too.
Mohammad Mustafa, 55, who has been promoting awareness about education in some of poorest localities of Ranchi took a creative way of urging everybody to send their kids to school. Since the early 1990s, Mustafa has been writing slogans on walls and asks parents to ensure their children go to school.
Getting on his bicycle, carrying a set of brushes, a few bottles of paint and some placards with him, he has been painting walls with powerful slogans like “Adhe pet khaayenge, phir bhi school padhne jaayenge” asking parents to send their children to school.
He visits the slums of Neori, Irba, Islam Nagar, Gudri, Hatma and Doranda, where he writes slogans on walls.
Mustafa is building his own school a four-room structure spread over two floors. A white board, with ‘Chun Chun Bhai School’ written on it in black, is the only indication that the under-construction structure is a school. He has spent nearly Rs 2.4 lakh on building the school which came up on his share of the ancestral property.
Mustafa is fondly called Chun Chun Bhai, completed his matriculation in 1982 from Maulana Azad High School in Ranchi and graduated in History (Honours) from Doranda College.
Speaking about his passion for building a school, Mustafa said, ‘as cost cutting, he himself did a lot of the manual labour.”
Mustafa is facing fund issues. “I need to get teachers first. But whoever I talk to says they want a salary. I have no idea how to arrange that,” he says.
Mustafa said, “every time I paint my slogans, people gather around me. After I am done with the painting, I ask parents whether they send their children to school. I also talk to the children. They first laugh at me, but later understand what I am saying.”