It is impossible to arrive at any understanding of Kaifi Azmi, unless you include his work for MIJWAN, the tiny village in AZAMGARH where he was born and has decided to spend the rest of his life.
Mijwan is a tiny village in Azamgarh UP where Kaifi Azmi was born. He left it at the age of 17 in search of a future. 40 years later when he returned, he found that Mijwan was a village frozen in time. It had no road, no electricity, no school not even a pin code. He decided to give up his well settled life in Bombay for the service of his people and change the destiny of his village. Kaifi believed that economic progress can only be meaningful if it reaches rural India where 80 per cent of the population lives, but is denied access to opportunity.
Towards this end he founded a NGO, Mijwan Welfare Society (MWS) in 1993 for the upliftment of rural India with a focus on the girl child and women.
- Kaifi Azmi High School for Girls
- Kaifi Azmi Inter College for Girls
- Kaifi Azmi Computer Centre
- Kaifi Azmi Sewing and Tailoring Centre.
Gender just education, all round personality development, an emphasis on Drama and Sports has led to a mindset transformation. Overthrowing the patriarchal structure, Shweta Prajapati says, “There is nothing a girl cannot do- all she needs is equal opportunity. Thank you MWS for giving me the opportunity.” Today she is doing her graduation at The Mahatma Gandhi International University in Wardha.
Skill development by MWS in embroidery, tailoring, hair and makeup, has made the woman financially independent. They have their own bank accounts and control their own destinies. They have transitioned from being considered liabilities to becoming assets. They can now negotiate more space for themselves within the family. It has led to a shifting of traditional power structures leading to an increase in self-worth.
The exquisite chikankari (traditional hand embroidery of Awadh) done by Mijwan’s women has reached the doorsteps of the Film Industry and the Fashion World under the aegis of leading Bollywood fashion designer Manish Malhotra.
For the past 10 years the Mijwan Fashion Show has become an annual event with stars from Shahrukh Khan and Hrithik Roshan and from Priyanka Chopra to Deepika Padukone, walking the ramp displaying Mijwan’s craft. Ranbir Kapoor is the Goodwill Ambassador of MWS.
Most recently, MWS had a stall showcasing their skills in Udaipur at the Ambani’s Wedding. It was appreciated by Union Minister of Railways Piyush Goyal, Uddhav Thackeray, Milind Deora, Jhanvi Kapoor, Karishma Kapoor, Boney Kapoor, Neeta and Naresh Goyal and International Fashion Designer Prabal Gurung.
From being non-existent on the map of India, Mijwan is today a model village recognised all over the world.
After Kaifi Saheb passed away on 10th May 2002, His daughter Shabana Azmi has taken on the task of taking her father’s dream forward and is its President.The young and dynamic Namrata Goyal is both the Youth President and the Secretary of Mijwan Welfare Society