Munna – a simple man with a common name but worth emulating. Coming from humble origins and against all odds, Munna runs his Khwab Foundation with a lot of zest and enthusiasm an infectious ‘must-do’ attitude to uplift the status of the rural youth. We heard his speech in an event and thought why not to cover such a great social entrepreneur. We emailed him twice and finally,
I sat down with Mr Munna for an interview. Here is what he had to say:-
Having faced some great challenges early in life, what would you say motivates you the most?
My early childhood days have been full of challenges. I was born to a socially deprived family. My father worked in another city, my mother had to work as a housemaid. My sister was married but died due to a dowry-related death – all for the reason that her in-laws wanted Rs 500 from us, which we did not have and could not give her in time.
My father passed away when I was four years old – his death was also attributable to poverty since he contracted TB and we could not afford his treatment.
I started my schooling when I was 8 eight years old – I used to also work for four hours. Another challenge was that I had to leave my village and go to Muzzafarpur for making a living. I worked in a hotel, as a waiter and served tables. So when I look back, I sometimes am amazed to remember what I was and realize what I have become.
In my class tenth, I read the Hindi translation of a book by Dr Kalam – ‘Wings of Fire’ – or ‘Agni ki Udaan’. I later read ‘Ignited Minds’. These books motivated me to achieve something in my life.
Being thus inspired, I started with social work. I basically want to be mentioned in the footnotes of a history book – I want my name mentioned at least in one line! This has inspired me to take up social work.
What can you tell us about the “Khwab” foundation?
Khwab – the name of ‘Khwab Foundation’ stands for ‘Keeper of Helpless with Aim and Brain’. It is a non-profit organisation that encourages the youth to fulfil their dreams. At times, I find the youth lacking in vision and dreams. Our aim is to improve the educational environment and the education system of India.
I believe in Dr Kalam’s quote:-
“Dream, Dream Dream
Dreams transform into thoughts
And thoughts result in action.”
So we have built this organisation that works with the rural youth to fulfill their dreams. The rural youngsters of this country feel that they are helpless in today’s scenario. And I believe that one has to encourage the youth for having a bright future for our country.
Some of my students who are studying in reputed local universities have joined me to work with me in rural areas.
There is a huge gap between the development in the rural and urban areas. We provide urban facilities and basic infrastructure in rural areas – as envisioned by Dr Kalam in his ‘Provision of Urban Amenities to Rural Areas (PURA)’ mission. Khwab is a platform in which everyone has a conducive environment, to dream and work to fulfill their dreams.
What is the response to your e-magazine in Hindi titled ‘Junoon’?
Junoon stands for Passion. Through the medium of magazines we are trying to encourage positive thoughts among the youth and students in the rural areas. We are providing a platform to the youth to be creative, get involved, explore, and speak about their ideas for a new and developed India. We received very encouraging response from students regarding our magazine.
What are your sources of funding? Any assistance from the Govt? Or an NGO?
I have not yet received any assistance from the Government or an NGO. I have got great support from Rotary Club, of which I am a member. They are working with us.
Mainly, my activities are funded by the members and their savings. All our social work is being done with our own money and not through funds.
What is the response to your workshops for the youth? Where all have you organised them?
Youth Workshops are one of our key activities. By means of such workshops, we motivate and show a path to the students. We encourage them to achieve their dreams. We give them practical tips on how to do well in exams and studies. A part of the workshop is to show motivational and educative clips and films. The sessions are usually very well received because we get talented students. We provide them with a positive environment and have a 100% success rate in our workshops. We have also held these workshops in Government Schools.
What is your message for the youth?
You should not become merely a job seeker. From my own experience I can tell you that there was a lack of money in my life but I overcame that and developed a vision to achieve. Try to create some opportunity and platform for others. Don’t just be a job seeker – try to be a job creator.
What are your plans for the future?
I have read ‘Vision 2020’ – our country must be a developed one by 2020. We are working towards it. We are trying to develop a modern high tech model village that has a Library, Computer Center, a Young Blood Club, Student Training Center, Science Club and other modern amenities. We have developed a mechanism to develop a model village and then replicate it the same in other villages as well.
East Champaran District (our region) has 405 Panchayats. Our aim is by 2020, we must have 405 libraries, 405 science clubs, 405 student centers – in short, each village must be a model high-tech village.
In this way we aim to make our district a unique one, where every village has these amenities. This is one of our biggest projects and we are on our way to achieve that.
The recent demise of Dr Kalam must have been a shock for you. Did you get to meet him? What was your experience like?
It was always my aim to meet Dr Kalam and shake his hand. I sent him several emails but could not succeed in meeting him.
On 29th Sep 2013, Dr Kalam had come for convocation ceremony in NIT, Patna. With great perseverance, I got the opportunity to meet him at Raj Bhawan, Patna and show him my project named “A Natural Operating System”.
It was the most inspiring meeting for me and has given me a greater impetus to achieve my goals. He even promised me that he would come to Motihari on his next visit to Bihar. But sad that it now remains a dream, that remains unfulfilled.
Mr Munna continues his journey towards this very noble and lofty goal of making India a developed country. We wish him great success and hope he gets all the energy and resources to fulfill his Khwab (dream)!
Lively, talented, strong willed Arian, Arushi loves to experiment and innovate. A budding marketer – HR enthusiast – DIY artist – music lover – having more layers to her personality than hyphenated definitions can accommodate. Currently, she’s wrapping up her grad at DU and looking at the future with wonder and expectation. A keen explorer who has traveled extensively in India and aims to soak up the rest of the world soon!