The Indian Minority Education Society of Australia Incorporated (IMESA), an educational charitable organisation was launched in Sydney on Sunday 12 August 2018 by the Shadow Minister for Education Hon Jihad Dib, state MP for Lakemba.
IMESA aims to promote education among underprivileged Muslims of India aiding in financial hardship and education services for Indians in need.
The Himalaya restaurant in Rockdale was filled to its capacity, with audience members cheering and applauding various speakers at the launch event.
The program commenced with a Hamd by Mr Wasim, MC Mrs Shaheen Firdouse shared her own interest in educational empowerment while the audience was entertained by humorous poetry by Sydney poet Shuja Atif and enjoyed the South Asian cuisine in refreshment.
Mr Zahid Jamil of IMESA gave a detailed audio-visual presentation explaining the issues, the concept and the components of the programme.
He quoted Quranic verses and Hadiths to emphasise the importance of education in Islam.
“Elevated status is accorded to those who seek, possess, teach and act upon knowledge. (Quran 39:9).
He also quoted Hadith that “Dismiss any thought of equality between those who know and those who do not” and “The ink of the scholar is more holy than the blood of martyrs.”
Mr Zahid’s presentation described the dire socio-economic condition of Indian Muslims and presented statistical data showing the alarming rate of illiteracy among Muslims and their very poor representation in higher education, and prestigious jobs.
It was shown that poverty-stricken Muslims have a very high proportion of menial labouring jobs, such as rickshaw pullers and farm labours. Sadly, many children in India work as child labourers in people’s homes, at roadside tea stalls and handicraft factories.
NSW MP Hon Jihad Dib, Shadow Minister for Education was moved by the presentation and shared his own story in his early life and how he transformed Punchbowl High School into a disciplined school during his tenure as the principal.
He emphasised the need of having an educational environment in homes and without such an environment, children will find it hard to progress even in a country like Australia. He described Australia as the best country on the earth.
Hon Julia Finn, MP sent a congratulatory message and applauded the initiative of educating less well-off Muslim children in India.
Hon Shaoquett Moselmane, MLC, was unable to attend due to other commitments and sent his best wishes for the event.
IMESA’s mission statement states “Financial hardship should not be a hindrance to the education and progress of Muslim children in India.”
The project undertaken by IMESA is called “Taleemi Jamaat” meaning a volunteering team engaged in promoting education.
The pilot project has been running in the North Indian town, Saharanpur, for the past few years by Indian charity ‘Faith, Social and Education Welfare Society’.
IMESA now aims to expand the programme in villages, towns and cities across India.
The project includes four key factors to promote change:
- school admission campaigns designed to encourage the parents of socially and financially disadvantaged families to send their children to school.
- The retention campaign is designed to minimise the high dropout rates of poor children in primary and secondary classes.
- Evening libraries, to provide local children with an academic environment for after school hour study, which is generally not available in their homes, as well as extra tutoring.
- It also involves coordination with Muslim schools to improve academic results.
The scheme will provide financial assistance to families to replace the income of their labouring child and extra money to pay for school fees, uniforms, books and other educational needs.
Extra financial support is needed to meet expenses of running evening libraries such as paying the supervisory teachers, renting the premises and buying furniture, computers and books.
Please visit websites imesa.org.au and taleemijamaat.org to learn more about the program and how you can help financially the Indian Muslim children or start the program in your own town back home.