“We wanted to help one person, we never knew we could change a thousand lives”, says Mr. Shamim Khan, joint Secretary of the Malad Malvani Taximen Welfare Society, Mumbai.
The taximen society, founded in 1992 by Sri Alimuddin Malik, with the hope of training and uniting taxi men is now doing various social activities to heal the wounds and change the lives of people through their kind gesture. The group consists of 700 taxi drivers consisting of people from different religion uniting for a single cause who want to be remembered for their kindness.
“It had all begun when a needy man came to us, panting, pleading us to take his ailing son to the hospital as he needed immediate medical attention. We were shocked to see the boy’s condition and we had not only taken the poor boy to the hospital but also cleared the hefty bills for his medicine. We were so glad to see both the boy and the man smiling”, observed Shamim Khan.
A remarkable movement initiated by the taximen was the “Hastakshar Abhiyan (signature campaign)”, demanding the government for a new road. The single road which connected the entire locality was bustling with vehicles so much that pedestrians had to be careful while walking on the footpath. Cars were parked illegally, there was pollution and traffic and during festivals the situation got worse. Controlling the jam in the absence of a traffic cop wasn’t enough. They came up with the Signature campaign, explaining people how the traffic problem could be solved. 7000 people signed up leading to the construction of a new road called “Lagoon.”
They collectively organize the iftaar party during the fasts of Ramadan and also distribute crackers and sweets in Diwali to those who cannot afford. “Who says we are poor? We are the rich with little money. We contribute a small sum towards a cause such as giving ration (monthly), arranging marriage of those who couldn’t afford on their own, admissions of children to school.
Members of this group each with an income of 15000-20000 rupees per month, have erected a small “vachnalaya(reading room)” for themselves to relax and read when no one hires them. “The problem we face while we support a cause is to distinguish the needy from the greedy. There are hundreds of people who come asking for money, food etc. To know who genuinely is in need, we have to investigate the matter only after which we can move forward”, says Mr. Khan.
The Malad Malvani Taxi men are the true change makers of our society as they teach us no one is poor until he does not have a cloth on his body and a roof on his head. The message they want to give out is that if each one of us in our locality unite together and do small things for each other then nobody in India will be helpless and in need.
To contact Mr. Shamim Khan please call: 9664070130