By Nikhat Fatima, Muslim Mirror
MESCO is a household name in Hyderabad today not just because of the various educational institutes they have established over the years but because of their philanthropic activities in health care and other social services.
MESCO – Muslim Educational and Social Cultural Organization was established in 1983 with their very first activity of coaching students for the Medical entrance exams.
The idea of MESCO was the brainchild of a group of young men studying MBBS away from their home town Hyderabad and living in a hostel. The medicos often discussed about uplifting the poor underprivileged section of the society especially from the Muslim community as they realized that Muslims were way behind in education.
So soon after their graduation, with some guidance from senior doctors they registered MESCO in Hyderabad by 1982 and started the full-fledged operations from 1983.
They started coaching students from all sections of the society appearing for entrance exam to help them secure seats in medical colleges.
They also began sponsoring aspirants appearing for civil services by helping them enroll in the IAS coaching center in Delhi and also taking care of their other needs such as accommodation and books.
‘These coaching classes for entrance exams for PG and UPSC are still running in addition to career counseling and career guidance workshops’, shared Dr. Fakhruddin Mohammed, Honorary Secretary of the MESCO group of institutes, hailing from one of the illustrious families of Hyderabad whose father, Dr. Samsamuddin Mohammed, was a professor at the Osmania Medical College and Gandhi Medical College and also superintendent at Sir Ronald Ross Institute of tropical and communicable diseases.
The MESCO (Muslim Educational and Social Cultural Organization) social enterprise had ventured not just in the educational field where they can boast of providing education from KG (Kinder Garten to Post Graduation) but also in health care, community and social service and cultural activities.
Vision and Mission
“When we started MESCO in 1982, our aim was not just to serve the Muslim community but also deserving candidates from other sections of the society who are financially impoverished. In the recent batch we sent to Delhi for coaching at the Hamdard Foundation, there were 4 non-Muslim candidates and 2 Muslim candidates” explained Dr. Fakhruddin.
The vision which the founders of MESCO envisioned is to see the Muslim community empowered enough to rise to the challenges of the modern times and becomes leaders in their respective fields. And this is not just through education but also health and an active social life so the idea is to provide opportunities not just in education but also through services that offer good health care and economic support.
“We started off with the mission to help students to pursue higher studies in different professions so that they become good citizens of this country and serve the society. As we went along and our activities expanded and we grew up, our mission kept changing to meet the needs of the community. We realised that in order to educate the Muslim youth we needed to motivate them, empower them economically, instil confidence and a spirit to do something meaningful in their lives,” said Dr. Fakhruddin one of the founders.
Therefore one of their top missions is to impart professional education in tune with changing times by guidance and counselling. MESCO strives to provide facilities for physical, mental, cultural and spiritual growth to enable the students develop their fullest potential.
MESCO educational institutes
Five schools called ‘MESCO grades’ are running in Hyderabad from the last 30 years. A 6th school, on a large scale is under construction at Gandipet.
“This school will be a modern techno school where 5000 girls and boys can study at a time. It is a huge project of over 15 crores and will be on the lines of Delhi world public school of New Delhi” a staff explained.
Apart from the schools, MESCO has a Junior college, vocational junior college where paramedical courses are taught, and a teachers training college, Degree College with B A, B Com, MBA, PG College, B. Pharm and Pharm. D colleges.
MESCO also provides support to other institutions through their consultancy services. The success model of MESCO Grades is gaining popularity because of the ALEEF Course imparted in the schools. And there are many schools across India and abroad who have emulated this model successfully.
The ALEEF & DEAL course
The highlight of MESCO schools is the ALEEF course -Arabic Language and English education Foundation where children are taught Arabic language right from the pre-primary level so that by the time they are completing school, they are able to understand the language, read and write it.
“This course has been designed with the sole purpose of enabling children to understand the language of the Holy Quran without having to depend on any translation. Our students by the time they are in class 8 can understand directly the meaning of the Holy Quran in the language it was revealed”, explained Dr Mohammed Iftekharuddin, another founder member of MESCO who has researched and worked extensively to develop the curriculum for ALEEF.
The course starts with alphabets and small 2 and 3 lettered words just as the same the children learn in the English language. It covers tajweed (pronunciation) grammar, vocabulary, stories of the prophets, important hades, seerath un Nabi (Life of the prophet pbuh) and other Islamic knowledge.
“We have been improving the curriculum over the years to make it easier for children to learn without much strain. And today after more than 20 years of constantly improvising we have a standard syllabus and methodology. We are happy that today more than 3 lakhs of students have benefitted from this course. And the ALEEF course is followed by more than 300 schools across India”.
“Religious education should go hand in hand with the regular education so students learn moral values, spirituality. It is a holistic approach where children develop physically, mentally and spiritually. We have always received positive feedback not just from parents in Hyderabad but also in other places where our course has been adapted by the schools” explained the doctor.
DEAL – Diploma Education in Arabic Language is a 6 month course for the teachers who teach ALEEF.
“The DEAL was a regular course where we have Aalims (person who has done Islamic course) and other graduates from all over India coming over to Hyderabad till the lockdown was imposed”, explained Moulana Dr Syed Iftekar Hussain, in-charge of ALEEF and DEAL in Hyderabad, “now we have online courses to help the teachers understand the methodology of ALEEF so they can teach in their schools”.
Any person interested in understanding the Holy Quran in its original language without having to depend on translations can also take up this course. It is open to all and more accessible as it has become online now.
Medical services of MESCO
MESCO diagnostic centre was also initiated in the beginning along with the study centres in 1984. At the diagnostic centre the charges are nominal to cater to the needs of the poor. Apart from all the diagnostic tests the centre also has ambulance network services.
MESCO also runs an institute of physiotherapy & rehabilitation, a dental clinic and recently started an out-patient service for cardiology, all at affordable fees.
Apart from Hyderabad there are MESCO diagnostic centers in other places such as Lucknow, Amroha and other places with standard latest equipment and world class services.
From the last 40 years the MESCO diagnostic centre has been rendering services to the low income group population of the city irrespective of religion, caste and creed.
Ultra Sound training programme where doctors, especially female doctors are trained in abdominal and pelvic scanning is running from the last 25years.
The diagnostic center is also recognized by G.C.C (Gulf Cooperation Council) states for conducting pre-employment Medical examination on persons travelling to these Gulf countries. These tests are being carried out from 1983 onwards till date.
The MESCO Diagnostic service is poised to become a center of excellence in patient care, medical education and research.
The MESCO group is always at the forefront in charity and other relief activities. During the pandemic like situation caused by COVID -19, MESCO in collaboration with another organisation distributed sanitizing equipment and immunity boosting drugs to thousands of people at the same time creating awareness on precautions for preventing COVID and running a helpline that worked round the clock to cater to people affected with COVID.
They also have several scholarships for students apart from subsidized fees for the deserving students from the economically weaker section. These scholarships are awarded by conducting Talent Hunt tests for students across Hyderabad and other districts.
Charity during Ramzan is a regular feature at MESCO where they reach out to the people dwelling in slums and help with essentials and clothes.
They have several grant programs, a mobile science lab, hostels for boys and girls, contribute to community housing, winter school programe (an online short term course in Islamic studies for people all over the world), conduct classes to teach communication skills in English and promote Urdu.
There are plans to start a college for Law and the mission to spread the ALEEF and DEAL to all schools where Muslim children are studying is perpetual. Those interested in learning the Arabic language in order to understand the Holy Quran can register by mailing to: firstname.lastname@example.org .