Sulekha Ali, a young Muslim woman, was compelled by tragic circumstances to lead a life of misery. In 2002, communal riots broke out in Gujarat that forced Sulekha to abandon her home and live in a refugee camp. This was a time of immense physical and emotional pain. During her stay in the refugee camp, she realised that the suffering from the riots often ran much deeper than the physical surface wounds. Her interaction at the refugee camp with children inspired her to dedicate time to heal and nurture them. She started working as a volunteer and attended to basic requirements of all children staying in the camp. Six months later, when time came to leave the camp, she decided to continue her work with children. Thus, the Arzoo Education & Activity Centre was born.
The Arzoo Centre made Sulkeha’s dream come true. She could bring children from all religions together to provide basic knowledge and to help them prepare for higher studies. Sulekha Ali might not be the same as she was, before Gujarat riots. Nevertheless, this newfound motive to live is surely an inspiration to the whole world. It does not matter to which religion one belongs to, she extends a helping hand to all and believes in a world of harmony. Through Arzoo, Sulekha wanted to touch every sphere of social relevance for children and promote harmony through education and extra-curricular activities. In addition, today, she is providing knowledge, livelihood and healthcare facilities to many underprivileged children. Arzoo has further extended its support to women by training them to generate income for the family and provide education to adults.