His name is Mohammad Mustafa, but in the slums of Jharkhand near Ranchi, he is known as Chun Chun Bhai. And in the span of over 25 years he has been quietly reaching out to low-income families cajoling them to send their children to schools.
Armed with no more than conviction, a few notebooks and stationery, he goes from home to home in villages and slums to talk to parents of young children. He speaks to them about the importance of education and throws light on various government schemes and policies, and then finally beseeches them to send their children to school. After dropping off some school supplies like pencils etc, he leaves the house to go in search of another family.
In between house calls, he also takes time out to write slogans on the walls of slum areas extolling the benefits of being literate in hopes of changing minds.
Image for representation. Photo source: Wikimedia
And his quest has been challenged a number of times over the years with families even throwing him out of their homes in fear that he would end up “poisoning” the minds of children by nudging them to choose education.
But he remains undeterred. In fact, he has even begun the construction of his own school in a bid to make access to education all the more easier. However, he has yet to receive any form of help from NGOs or the government and his efforts so far have been self-funded. Given that he unsurprisingly makes a living by teaching, he does, however, note that it does get tough to sustain his efforts due to monetary constraints.
But he will not stop, no matter the circumstances.
Speaking about his noble mission to the Hindustan Times, Mohammad says, “It gives me happiness when I manage to send even one child to school. I want education for every child. And if nobody supports me, I am ready to walk this road all alone.”
Heroes. Sometimes you spot them with books and not capes.