Sofia Educational and Welfare Society, famous as SOFIA NGO, is continuously doing excellent work towards improving the society. Let us take you on the journey from the beginning of Sofia till today, know how this organization started and how it reached this glorious level.
The story began in the year 2000, when the founder Suhail Khan was pursuing his graduation and used to provide tuition classes to those students of Mustafabad area who got compartment. After taking tuitions, those children started passing then he observed that mostly students who passed or studied were boys, the number of girls was very less.
He found this a bit strange, he told his students that you ask your sisters to come for tuition classes, we will teach them free of cost. In this way, girls started coming for tuition classes and now both boys and girls started passing their exams and were promoted to the next classes. Soon he noticed that now the number of girls became more than boys.
After this success, he realized that this initiative should be institutionalized where these classes can be run regularly and formally. This is how "Sofia Educational and Welfare Society" was registered in 2004.
According to Suhail, today his team is working in the field of education, health, livelihood, helping homeless people, women empowerment and skill development. Recently he has also started a new project of education and skill development for inmates of Mandoli Jail with the support of BYPL.
Suhail adds, "This organization is not mine, this organization is of those people who are benefiting from it, whose broken family is able to unite again because of us or after learning something from us. Some girls are progressing further whether this organization belongs to those people or it's team work of my colleagues who work day and night for the society with me shoulder to shoulder while i am just fulfilling my "responsibility".
One major issue face by us was that, the area from which this institution started was a very backward area, obviously this task was not so easy, but where do the challenges not come? Challenges always come with every job. He says with a happy heart that "the area where he started teaching girls was very backward. The girls were able to study till class 12th, but their parents didn't allow them to do any work which involved stepping out of the house. Then they planned to start skill development courses for girls in the centre."
Even if this did not work, he himself met the parents of the girls and counseled them that "you send your daughters to the center so that they learn sewing and tailoring there, that way they will learn some skill". People understood his perspective and started sending their daughters to centre and gradually the number of girls started increasing. The team of Sofia Educational and Welfare Society was constantly going to the homes of these young girls and counseling them and that is why more and more girls started enrolling for skill development courses of Sofia.
Now he added that Sofia NGO didn’t come stop here, we again provided another opportunity to those girls who were learning sewing, cutting or tailoring and dropped out from school in 9th or 10th standard. Sofia started 2 centres for giving counseling and reenrolled these girls with NIOS for mainstreaming their education.
This effort of Sofia NGO started paying off and the girls now started studying further. They also started studying up to 12th and then graduation; the institution itself got registered them with Open College and gradually an area where girls could not even study till tenth or twelfth, today they are graduating while living in the same area.
This achievement was a matter of great happiness not only for Sofia organization but for all the people of Mustafabad area. After this, today Sofia NGO is at this stage where around 4,000 girls are taking training annually from 8 centers in Delhi and not only Academic but also skill development. Now these skill development trainees started jobs in very reputed places. This is the achievement of the 18-year journey of Sofia NGO. Not only this, Sofia’s placement team also works hard to identify better job opportunity for employed trainees for the sake of their improvement.
Describing the covid period, Suhail Khan says that the covid period has been challenging not only for us but for the whole country. The challenge before us was that we had to cover a very large area, but teamwork made it possible. Our organization worked with several institutions like Hamdard National Foundation, BSES, Tech Mahindra Foundation, Tata Power, Goonj and Action Aid to distribute ration and other relief material to needy people.
The second thing we did is that we paid special attention to those women who were victims of domestic violence; we gave work of sewing masks to provide them employment. They used to sew masks and the same masks were used by our team members with their partner organizations to reach those important places where it was needed more.
These were two great things that we did during the covid period, this was a different kind of experience which we never found before as we reached around 40 thousand families and 6 lakh masks were made by the women working in our organization during this period.
Till the year 2009, the organization worked continuously on coaching and education and tried to reach education in almost every household of Mustafabad. During our 5-6 years journey, we realized that working in just one field will not improve whole society, we have to focus other sectors also in collaboration with the government.
In 2010, a project of the Delhi government "Gender Resource Center" was awarded to Sofia NGO, by mixing the areas of North East Delhi, the work was done to make Aadhar cards of about 50 thousand people. This project helped and provided great opportunity to Sofia team to go among people and work with them as per their needs and problems. This is not all about filling Aadhaar Card forms, we also filled thousand forms of widow pension, disability pension, old age pension, labor card and ration card and many government schemes.
After this project, the organization was associated with many more projects, through which the team got more opportunity to work in the midst of the society. In this "Mahila Panchayat" was a biggest initiative of Sofia NGO.
Today it has been 8 years since the Sofia NGO is running Mahila Panchayat. In 2018, we got opportunity to start Mahila Panchayat in one more location i.e. Brahmapuri, where they work on various issues related to women such as domestic violence, dowry, or to solve these issues sitting down together or provide judicial help from Delhi Commission for Women.
To make the schemes of Delhi Government accessible such as EWS forms, widow pension forms, private school fee refund forms many more to the people, the team first completes their papers and its shortcomings so that they don’t face any problem in filling any form. This campaign is running with the name "Mashwara".
Responding to the question of the future plan ahead, Suhail Khan said, a poet has said very well, " Where else is there in front of the stars" We started this organization with the help of people for their benefit. If we are able to help them today, then it is a big achievement for us. But we will be very happy if we do any other work for the improvement and change in the society, by which we will become a means to end the problems of any backward group or needy group.
But at present, our organization is working for girls, children and homeless for their improvement and progress and we are constantly doing reform work, see what other opportunities our dedication gives us.
Seeing this journey of Sofia NGO really feels like nothing is impossible if desired, we congratulate and wish the entire team of Sofia for their efforts and bright future ahead.
For more information and details, pl. follow us on: Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/NGOSOFIAIndia/