Maqbool Akhtar may look like any other taxi driver, ferrying customers all day and striving hard to make ends meet. But this 46-year-old Pakistani doesn’t believe in merely eking out a living and saving his earnings only to sustain his family.
He has set a higher goal – that which is noble too. He dreams of opening a school in his province back home, which will also provide free education to those who cannot afford it.
His Dubai earnings are helping him build the school, which he plans to start in his family house.
“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 Khaleej Times.
Maqbool holds a diploma in automobile engineering from Pakistan. His wife is 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.”
Maqbool first came to Dubai in 1995 and worked here for some time before going back to Pakistan.
He came to Dubai again 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.”
Saving for the school
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 for 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 says he puts every penny on the house so that the school can start at the earliest.
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 next few months, Maqbool hopes to see the school being opened and attracting students from every part of the province.
“We will be starting from the next session. I hope it works well,” he adds.