At government offices in city, Furaknama Kureshi, 36, has always run into problems. He cannot read or write in English, and is unable to fill up forms, often having to rely on ‘agents’ to fill these in for a fee.
“When I’ve gone to fill in my election card or ration card, I’m often helpless and have to pay anything between Rs 500 and Rs 1,000 to get someone else to fill a form for me,” said Kureshi.
On Monday morning, he became the owner of a bright new card – that lists all his personal details including age, address and phone number in English, taking him one step closer to self-sufficiency in the smallest matters involving the English language. So, when he needs to fill out a form he simply copies the information from the card onto the form into the corresponding space.
The cards were prepared by a group of third year BMM students at Wilson College who kicked off their “English Ka Chhota Recharge” campaign – an initiative towards adult empowerment at Churchgate Station and Dalal Street on Monday.
“There are lots of people who have been educated in a regional language but struggle when they have to fill forms in English. We wanted to help in empowering them to do that,” said Abhrajyoti Chakraborty, 20, one of the Wilson College students behind the campaign.
All of Monday students were briskly filling out cards for passers by, some of who were literate in English but wanted the cards all the same. The campaign will last for four days, continuing to the Gateway of India on Wednesday and culminating in a mass awareness rally from Wilson College to Mumbai Central on Thursday.