‘For Someone Who Couldn’t Read Till He Was In The 5th Grade, I Am Proud Of What I Chose To Do With My Life’

I hated going to school. Sitting in one place for hours together and learning new things — that was never something that would interest me. Each day my parents used to drop me at school and within an hour I was back at home. This had become a routine for me but obviously my parents weren’t happy with this. They tried everything, even changed my school but I didn’t find any interest in studying.

So much so that I was in the 5th standard when I learnt the alphabet. But things started to change slowly and while my entire family wasn’t expecting me to crack my 10th board exams, I passed it with flying colours. My hostility with books and studying started changing and finally I was doing my graduation in pharmaceutical studies. I promised that if I pass my finals with good marks, I would feed the hungry and the poor.

That was the start of service to humanity in 2016. What started off on a cold, winter night in Hyderabad has now become the mantra of my life. Seeing the homeless suffer that night, I couldn’t go back to my own life of comfort. I decided to start distributing in front of hospitals to feed the needy.

For the last few years, there hasn’t been a single day when I have stopped distributing food to the needy. Sometimes it’s breakfast, sometimes lunch and other times, it is blanket distribution during winter months or water camps during the scorching Hyderabad summers — serving humanity has been the motto of my organisation — Humanity First Foundation. We also have a diagnostic centre now where we help the underprivileged get their tests done at a minimal cost.

All this hasn’t been without challenges. Some told me that I need to focus on building a career and getting married. Some even had problems because I was serving people from all faiths. My parents seemed to be worried but I was adamant. I told them that money, job and material well-being don’t stay with us but the blessings I receive will stay with me till death. Now, they understand and appreciate the work I do.

For all those times when I doubted myself thinking that I wouldn’t be able to achieve anything in my life, I am now utterly grateful for the love and respect I now get from everyone.

-Mohammed Shujatullah, Humanity First Foundation

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