Maqbool Akhtar, a taxi driver in Dubai appears just like any other driver, dropping and picking up customers to lead his life. However, the 46-year-old is slightly different when it comes to his aims and wants to do a bit more than making ends meet.
He wants to start a new school in his place back home and wants to provide free education to those who cannot afford it. His Dubai earnings are helping out to build the school which he intends to open in his family home.
“This is just a small contribution to my country. This dream has stayed with me for many years now. I and my family – who stay in Pakistan – are working hard to realise it. I am saving for the dream school, ” the cabbie tells.
Maqbool has a diploma in automobile engineering from Pakistan, while his wife holds masters in Islamic studies. His five daughters and a son always score over 90 per cent in school. “My wife had done her bachelors before marriage. But I made sure she completed her master’s degree after marriage. She worked briefly in a school before we had children.”
He arrived in Dubai in 1995 and worked for a while before heading back to Pakistan. He returned to Dubai in 2002 after working as a counsellor in his province of Sialkot. He earned living by helping his brother in business in Dubai.
The business got shut for some reason and Maqbool started working as a taxi driver. “I tried getting other jobs, but in vain.”
To see his dream materialise, Maqbool and his family are working in coordination with a local private school to open their own soon. Interestingly, Maqbool’s 17-year-old daughter, who is studying science and wishes to be a doctor, is a student of the same school.
“When the principal of the school expressed his interest in opening their branch in my area, I requested to him to take responsibility of the school I wish to open. He has accepted my proposal and the blueprint is ready.”
Maqbool intends to open the middle school at his family house that he has been building from his Dubai earnings. “I want to start the school at my house, initially. Once we have a good response, we can shift it to another building.”
He is leaving no stone unturned in order to get the school started as soon as possible. Maqbool and his wife and children are looking over the progress of the proposed school, which will be run by the family, with his wife as its principal.
“I don’t have any financial support from anywhere. The school will be open for all. But free education will be given to children of poor families who cannot afford to pay the fees.”
In the coming months, Maqbool hopes to see children getting into his school. “We will be starting from the next session. I hope it works well,” he adds.