Published: 30th October 2017
Braving all odds, this 25-year-old has been fighting for the visually impaired and downtrodden right from his school days
Saif Ahmad Khan, the founder of the NGO, Save the Quest says that only aim is to lend a helping hand
Moved by the condition of street children, Saif Ahmad Khan’s only goal in life has been to help those in need. Right from his school days, this Delhiite has been working for the destitute. "I started working at orphanages during my school days. However, what changed my life was when I acted as a scribe for visually impaired students," Saif says. Scribing, if you are unaware of what that means, essentially means to write an exam or test for a visually impaired or physically challenged person on their behalf.
Number counts: Against the global count of 39 million visually impaired people, India contributes a whopping 12 million
"Those days, I volunteered because it was my passion. It was only towards my second year of college that I realised that I wanted to be a social worker," he says. In 2013, while still in college, Saif started an NGO called Save the Quest. Along with empowering visually impaired students by equipping them with computer skills, the organisation also supports the educational needs of street children. "The purpose of providing computer training is twofold - one reason is to help them become self-reliant, and the other is to prevent inaccuracies that a scribe could possibly create in the form of spelling mistakes and inadequate speed," explains Saif.
I want to take up one social challenge at a time and do substantial work in that area. Right now I am concentrating on scribe banks and expand it to all parts of India within the next five years
Saif Ahmad Khan, founder, Save the Quest
According to him, the unavailability of a quality scribe and lack of awareness about scribing are the two biggest challenges that the sector faces. "Right now, even though there is a dearth of scribes, there are no parameters as such to judge a scribe for good writing skills and speed. What I am trying to do is make quality scribes accessible and available," he says.
For a better tomorrow: Saif quit his job and started three new schools in Bihar
The NGO is currently working to make this possible by developing an app and a website - a platform where people in need can find quality scribes and where a scribe can volunteer to assist the visually impaired. Both the website and the app will have a tab which will enable the volunteers to feed in their profile along with their pincode. "When a request is made, it is matched by the pincode of both parties. So, if a person from Delhi makes a request, then all the scribes from the Delhi area will be notified. And once the request is accepted by either of the parties, the details of the scribe will be sent to the student or vise versa," says Saif, explaining the process. If selected, the scribe then proceeds to the next step. They will be required to take a test which will analyse their quality. "A personal meeting between the two parties is important as this process would help bring in an element of trust between the student and the scribe," he adds. In a world where we've become self-centred, it is reassuring that humanity still exists around us.