Youth Matters

Four teenage boys set up a free iftar project

Last year, Ali Mustafa, Ali Sabir and the Farooqi brothers found themselves in a sitch when their plan of collecting funds for a community iftar in Sakhi Hasan, Karachi, did not garner much support. But the determined young students didn’t lose hope—the passion for serving the needy pushing them. 

Ali Mustafa, the eldest among them, has just turned 18 years old. “Last year, we would roam the streets asking the neighbours for charity to kickstart our free iftar project,” recalls Mustafa.

This project is the brainchild of Azham Farooqi, who wanted to do his part in helping the underserved. Mustafa also shared his inspiration story.  

“On a trip to Thatta, I once saw a group of students making a reverse osmosis plant on their own, educating farmers about modern farming and irrigation systems,” he says. “That day I decided this is what I want to do for the rest of my life: help people.” 

Their fund collections have been as low as Rs5 on a bad day and as high as Rs10,000 on better days. But Azham is determined to take it further and create it into a small student organisation to mobilise volunteers and welfare workers. Their team of four has expanded to a team of 15 now, while new volunteers continue to add.

Azham and his brother Arham have faced their bit of challenges too. “Our parents were never okay with the idea of setting a roadside iftar table, because they thought it is only for fun,” says Azham. 

But gradually this became a widely accepted trend on the streets of Karachi and this year they feed up to 150-220 people everyday. Drivers and restaurant workers from nearby areas are their usual guests but passersby also stop to have a bite of the delicious Ramazan delicacies.

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