Other than providing free food, Faiyyaz and Mizga Shaikh has also given shelter to the poor families in their school, and have fed around 20 thousand people to date.
From working every single day to feeding the hungry stomachs, to providing shelters to migrant workers, this Mumbai duo is giving us major couple goals. Residents of Malad, Faiyyaz, and Mizga Shaikh have been running a community kitchen for the last 2 years. They are feeding 500 people every single day in the Ambujwadi slum locality at Malwani and that too without taking a day off!
“90% of the people in our locality consist of migrant workers and daily wagers. When the first lockdown had happened, we started getting calls from the people around for help. We approached different NGOs and with their help, we distributed Khichdi for 2 and a half months. Gradually other needy people heard about our initiative and reached out to us”, said Faiyyaz Shaikh. With the help of the same NGOs, they also distributed rations.
Later when these NGOs ran out of resources, Faiyyaz then decided to do something on his own. He reached out to his colleagues, friends and asked them for their contribution. But, again after some time, Faiyyaz ran out of money, and resources. ” We did not want to stop, so my wife and I decided to use our savings, and we continued feeding. During this period, I lost my job, but the company was supportive and they gave me a very good amount of money which we later invested in the cause. Meanwhile, social media played an important role, and people started talking about our cause. We were also featured by different news channels and papers and that helped a lot in getting donations, and support”, he said.
The couple did not stop after the first wave and kept helping the poor. When the cyclone hit Mumbai, they knew they had to do something, and so this time Migza suggested using her school as a shelter. “When we heard about the cyclone, we immediately vacated our school and gave shelter to 12 families the very same night. The benches have been kept outside, and there are still 2 families who are staying in.”, he said.
Mizga Shaikh, who is the Principal of ‘Zeal English School’ is running the institution for the last 11 years. Her school takes poor kids and charges a very low fee. Education is not a priority here as the parents are very poor. All they care about is food and shelter. The situation is very saddening. Despite the very low fee, we do not even get 50% of it”
In the month of Ramadan, Faiyyaz and Mizga Shaikh were serving Sehri and Iftar to almost 500 people every day. Working as a social worker can be physically as well as mentally overwhelming. Faiyyaz tries his best, but sometimes the situation goes out of control. Talking about one of the most saddening incidents he said, ” This Eid will never get out of my mind. We had arranged meals for 300 families, and everybody had arrived. Due to some genuine reasons, the food did not reach on time. The volunteers were late by an hour. I saw these 300 people waiting for food while standing and sweating under the burning sun, and we felt extremely helpless. The food did arrive after an hour, but I don’t think I’ll ever forget that one hour in my entire life.”, he said.
Their community Kitchen is right beside the school and has 5 women who prepare meals inside. These women are also residents of the same locality and are being trained by a local cook.
From losing his job to not losing his hopes, Faiyyaz Shaikh and his wife Mizgaa Shaikh are true heroes. ” If I had taken a day off to celebrate Eid with my family, then those 300 people would have not been able to celebrate their Eid.”, he said.
This power couple is feeding 500 people every single day and has fed 25 thousand people since the last lockdown in total.” Some people are constantly helping us. They have trusted us, and so we are not going to stop. We have never taken a day off and we aim to keep going.’, he added.
We wish this strong couple great luck. Check their work on Instagram here, and get in touch on 9892484631.