As the manager of a coffee shop in Kolkata, India, and the main breadwinner for his family, Mohammed Zeeshan Faiz has big plans for the future. And the ambitious 24-year-old, who received little formal education until the age of 11, says it is thanks to Global Care that he is where he is today.
He tells his story here:
“I live in Kolkata with my mother and my three younger siblings, two brothers and a sister. We all live together in a single rented room in a Muslim-dominated area of the city. Although we live in the centre of the city and therefore have access to electricity, water, a local market, transport facilities and shopping complexes, we have traditionally lacked proper education and employment opportunities because we are members of a minority.
“My parents were forced to take up menial jobs to make ends meet. My mother worked as a maid servant but she is on regular medication for asthma and recently underwent a gall bladder operation. My father worked in a sweat shop. If it wasn’t for Global Care, I too would have ended up doing a menial job.”
Mohammed was 11 years old when his mother heard about Global Care’s Pavement Club, which was offering children from the slums of Kolkata the opportunity to study, often for the first time. From small beginnings – literally on the pavements of Kolkata – classes in reading, writing, maths, health and hygiene are currently offered to more than 350 children from two centres run by our partners, Emmanuel Ministries.
Mohammed says: “I was enrolled into the Pavement Club through my friends who told me about the fun-filled activities that were going for kids at the Bible Club. Due to the financial struggle at home, my parents could not afford to send me to a regular school. That’s where Global Care stepped in and I joined the sponsorship programme in 2005, at the age of 11.”
Mohammed’s sponsor enabled him to complete his primary and secondary education and to attend college for a year. He completed basic and advanced training in motor mechanics and was immensely proud to achieve his Gold Award from the Duke of Edinburgh’s Award Scheme.
Eventually, family circumstances forced him to look for work, and Mohammed was offered the chance to train as a barista in a coffee shop.
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Within two years, his potential had been spotted and he was given the job of Manager of the popular Café Coffee Day in Kolkata, where he currently works six days a week to support his family of five.
Now 24 years old, his ambitions don’t stop there. He says: “I am currently managing all the affairs of the coffee shop, including overseeing the coffee and pantry departments, training new starters, holding business meetings and establishing goodwill and rapport. Our aim is to provide excellent service to our valued customers.
“My aim is to gain considerable experience so I can apply for a job abroad. My dream is to open a coffee shop of my own, and eventually I would like to settle down with a nice house and a family of my own.”
Mohammed says he feels so indebted to Global Care that his ambition is to be able to give something back to the charity.
He explains: “Global Care has made an indelible mark in my life and I am truly indebted for the constant support which has made me the person I am today. Global Care has helped transform many lives such as mine and the sponsorship programme across the globe is phenomenal. I hope one day to find a way of giving back to the organisation and keeping going the tradition of serving others and giving God all the glory.”
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Children's names are changed and their photographs obscured for reasons of protection.