With his hardwork and determination, he not only turned his life around but also of several children of daily wage labourers and migrant workers in the Ambojwadi area by educating them through his school. For them, he has now become the person he needed the most during his hardship.
Over the last decade, he and his wife had been managing quite well, but then the COVID pandemic struck and the whole of Mumbai went into lockdown. They still didn’t give up and approached several NGOs to be able to provide the families with cooked meals and dry ration kits.
"I lost my job last year. These children are my family too and feeding them comes naturally to me. Like earlier, this year we couldn't garner support from NGOs and the pandemic was at its peak. I had two options, either to let them be at their own condition or help them out. Without delay, we started our own community kitchen called Project Apna Rasoi.” - Faiyaz Shaikh
“I can save as much as I want for my rainy days, but what good will it be if it will starve my Ambojwadi family here? It was heartwarming to see several mothers running our kitchen and getting paid to feed their own kids. This gives them a sense of dignity when they see our kitchen turning out to be their source of livelihood."
From filling the stomachs of our future generations to empowering women, Faiyaz’s journey has come a long way but still there is a long road ahead filled with challenges for him. As the days progress with the lockdown still in place, their funds are dwindling and unfortunately they are unable to sustain their community kitchen now.
The couple didn’t let their determination run dry even when their funds did. After exhausting their PF money amounting to Rs. 4.5 lakhs, they still helped feed 15,000 needy families with meals and ration kits. From his own personal experience, Faiyaz knew the pain hunger can cause and so he started an initiative to provide free meals to 500 children daily during the pandemic.
But if you still ask him what keeps him going headstrong is his belief that:
“Food is not a need, it's a must. Let us not leave the hand of needy people in their hard times; let the flow of goodness not stop. Together we can and we will.”
Since this initiative was close to his heart, Faiyaz kept his services running despite all hardships. The number of people that need help is being outnumbered by the number of people they are able to cater to on a daily basis. But now to keep the community kitchen afloat he will need a generous support of 1.5 crores.
With your help, Faiyaz will be able to continue his Apna Rasoi community kitchen successfully, because for him this is his way of life and not just a project. Please come forward to donate for this noble deed.