Maryam Siddiqui Donates Prize Money for Girl Child Education

Remember Maryam Siddiqui? Two weeks ago, I wrote about Maryam from Mumbai who had won the Gita Champions League Contest organized by the International Society for Krishna Consciousness (Iskcon) in January in which over 3,000 students had participated. She taught us that humanity is beyond any religion. So this time again, this little girl again taught us generosity.


Donating her cash prizes for girl education

Maryam was showered with felicitations, awards and honors from around the country, coming from several organizations and even the President. Since then, Maryam has been donating all her cash prizes for the betterment of girl education in the country. Every cheque she received ranging from 11 thousand to 11 lakh (eleven hundred thousand), has been returned back to the respective organization with the request that it can be used in a scheme or something to provide better education for girls. On Saturday, Maryam was given Rs 11 lakh by Uttar Pradesh Chief Minister Akhilesh Yadav for winning the Gita Champions League. She has returned that award as well. The Chief Minister congratulated her on Saturday at an official function in Lucknow, where he gave her the cash award and a plaque. Drawing inspiration from Nobel laureate Malala Yousafzai for pursuing the cause of education for all, she wants the state government to use the money for the “betterment of children in need”.

In a grand gesture unusual for a 12-year-old, Maryam also contributed two cheques of Rs 11,000 each to the Chief Minister’s Relief Fund and said that she would like to see the funds being used for educating orphaned and needy children in the state.

An ambassador of peace

Calling herself an ambassador of peace, Maryam told leading newspaper Times Of India that she is now on a mission to promote the cause of education for the poor. “Education is the only route to change their destiny,” she said. “I’m grateful to the UP government for conferring this honour on me. I, however, have the means to lead a reasonable life because the Almighty has been kind to my parents. But there are many children who are not as lucky as me. So, I have decided to return the cash award to the state government so that it can be used for the betterment of children in need,” she added.

Maryam’s father Asif Siddiqui confirmed that they had submitted an official letter to the Uttar Pradesh government requesting them to use her cash award for educating children instead. Maryam comes from a middle class family that lives at Mira road in Thane, Mumbai. Her father, Asif Siddiqui, is a journalist and editor of a Hindi publication – Vartman Media. He said, “Though we are not financially well off, my daughter has made it her mission to work for the education of girls.”

Soon, Maryam is going to meet the Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh. We ask him to be prepared for this girl’s generosity because she would be armed with a cheque to be handed over to the Chief Minister for the same cause.

Hats off to the amazing girl who shows us the true meaning of generosity and kindness.

Written by Jenifer Sayyed

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Dr. Jenifer Sayyed is a medical doctor by profession, with an interest in religious views.