With an aim to uplift the Muslim community, Zakat Foundation of India (ZFI) has brought visible change among the community through education.
Their motive is to empower the Muslim community and ensure their social equality and justice.
With the noble goal, the foundation has been using “Zakat” to pull the community out of illiteracy and works in multiple ways to uplift the Muslim community across India.
The man who is behind all this hard work is Dr Syed Zafar Mahmood who is also the founder of Zakat Foundation of India.
Dr Mahmood, who founded ZFI in 1997 is a former civil servant. He had worked with the Sachar Committee and retired as chief commissioner, income tax, in New Delhi in 2009.
ZFI is the only foundation in India with micro and macro impacts.
Under macro impacts, the foundation provides free coaching for civil service aspirants.
“The Sir Syed coaching and guidance centre for civil services has a capacity of accommodating 64 candidates every year. But the foundation is working hard to increase the seats from 64 to 500,” Dr Mahmood said.
He said the centre, run by the foundation, has been preparing the Muslim candidates for one of the toughest exams in the country since 2008.
“The idea took shape after the Sachar Committee report stated that Muslims were lagging behind in every field owing to their under-representation in the governance of the country,” he said.
He said the Muslim community has poor representation in the civil services.
“Hardly 2,000 Muslims appeared in the exam among 11 lakh. So we pick up the best brains across the country and train them.”
Dr Mahmood said the students have to appear in the test and those who qualify it make their way in the best coaching centres in Delhi.
“The number of students depends on the zakat received from Muslims. It ranges between around 55 to 60 students and ZFI has to select them through a test for a bunch of applicants.
The foundation bears the cost of coaching and provides hostel facility and other necessary infrastructure to the candidates. It also provides food to around 6 per cent of the needy candidates.
Unlike the other organizations, ZFI allows each student to choose what they feel is the best coaching institute in Delhi. “We arrange for hostel accommodation in Delhi. For each student the expenses come to around Rs 1.75 lakh,” said Dr Mahmood.
He said the students need to pay only hostel charges which is Rs 2,000 per month.
The foundation, whose most promising candidate has been 2009 IAS topper Shah Faesal of Jammu and Kashmir, had trained 51 candidates from the minority community for the exam this year.
Of the 26 winning candidates, nine belong to Uttar Pradesh, eight to Kerala, three to Jammu and Kashmir, two each from Bihar and Maharashtra and one each from Karnataka and Gujarat.
Besides, the foundation also put efforts for the political representation of the Muslims.
With a firm belief in “empowerment through education and freedom through knowledge”, the foundation has formed a network of 22 institutions for the Muslim community in Delhi.
Running its activities professionally, ZFI has flourished across the country. The foundation calls its Orphanages as Happy Home and all medical centers as mercy home.
The foundations micro impact includes orphanages, skill development programs for both boys and girls and wedding assistance to the poor girls.
Also, ZFI hones the skills of Muslim youth to groom them as leaders with a strong sense of dignity, integrity and deep religious values.
“We also provide financial assistance to widows. We give them food packages and necessary items. Our Fatima institutes train the poor girls for knitting, tailoring and painting. We train them to become self-reliant,” said Dr Mahmood.
He said the foundation also provides electric, computer and motor winding training to the boys.